50-mile run after 3 weeks' training? No problem at all!
A CARMARTHEN tattoo artist has completed a mammoth 50-mile ultra marathon with just three weeks' training.
Andrew Groves, 30, who owns Hidden Jewel in Nott Square, said he took on the challenge not for charity but to prove you can do anything if you put your mind to it.
Andy, along with friend Stewart Pierce, finished the gruelling 50-mile trek in a little more than 12 hours.
Andy, who said he had never run more than a few miles before, said the marathon challenge came about by accident.
"A few weeks ago I met someone who was training for an ultra marathon and mentioned in passing that perhaps I should sign up," he said.
"I am not a runner, but I do surf and climb when I'm not tattooing so I keep fit in other ways.
"Little did I know in three weeks I would be running 50 miles from Brecon along the Taff Trail to Sport Wales in Cardiff."
Andy said he got talking with client and friend Stewart, who is known in his studio as "running man" after taking up running to lose weight.
Andy said Stewart's weight loss was part of the inspiration to take on the run.
"He showed me that if you really put you mind to something you can succeed," he said.
"I told him I was tempted to do it. We joked for a few days as it was only three weeks away.
"I have never run more than a few miles and he was not prepared for such an event, but the thrill of doing something crazy caught hold of us and we signed up."
The intensive three-week training plan put a lot of strain on Andy's body, leading to a few niggles.
"Race day came and my knee was still hurting, so to run I had strapped it up against expert advice as it felt more comfortable."
But after one mile the pair had to stop and take off the bandages as it was swelling and cut the circulation to Andy's legs.
"I was not giving up and knew through determination I would make it.
"I wanted to inspire my staff that if you put the effort in you can make it happen. Against all odds we powered through and made up some time, finishing 115th from the original 200 in 12 hours.
"It was the toughest, most painful and mentally-challenging day of my life.
"I did not run for a charity but did ask for everyone just to put the effort in and do something nice for someone you care about."