Get Active: Knight leads borough’s battle for fitness

PUBLISHED: 10:18 11 May 2015 | UPDATED: 10:18 11 May 2015

Andy Knight representing his borough running the Essex Marathon

Andy Knight representing his borough running the Essex Marathon


For some, getting active means joining a gym and popping in at the weekend.

But for Barking and Dagenham Council’s Andy Knight, it’s a lifestyle choice – one he wants you to make.

From rowing the distance of the English Channel dressed as Father Christmas, to running six marathons in six days, the group manager for physical activity and healthy lifestyle leads by example.

He ran the Essex Marathon on Sunday, finishing in three hours and 56 minutes, and said he’s happy with his performance.

“It went really well and I was only two minutes under my personal best,” he said. “But it was really hot, which I wasn’t expecting, and there wasn’t a lot of shelter.

“I think I overcooked it in the first half, so the second was about hanging on.

“My legs are a bit sore today, but I’m back at work and I’ve shown I can still get near my personal best.”

Andy says getting active is all about small changes.

“It’s about building it around your day, making it natural and reducing excuses to not exercise,” he said. “If you’re planning on going to the gym after work, take your kit to work to remove the temptation to go home first.”

He says exercise helps people fight complacency.

“My lifestyle changed when I started at the council,” he said. “I was just about to have my first child, wasn’t exercising as much, got complacent with food and drove more.

“In 2010 I wasn’t looking great, wasn’t sleeping well and my health suffered.”

Andy made a change, cycling from London to John O’Groats in 2011.

He found training helped create a healthier routine but, after training, slipped into old habits.

“I had nothing to motivate me,” he said. “So I decided to set myself a challenge a month in 2013.”

His challenges included the 45-mile Country to Capital Ultra Maraton, which he finished in 7hrs49mins.

“I think my proudest moments were a 100-mile foot race I did in 28 hours and finishing six marathons in six days,” he said.

But it’s not over yet – Andy has a fresh challenges lined up for August to keep him in shape over the summer.

He’s off to Wales, where he’ll be racing a steam train, on foot, over 14 miles.

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