Andrew had an active upbringing amongst 2 brothers and 3 sisters, and loving and supportive parents in Emu Plains, an outer western suburb of Sydney located at the foot of the Blue Mountains. Living opposite a large park and a 5 minute walk from the Nepean River, as well as being involved in organised sports such as Soccer, Rugby League & Little Athletics, and not to mention sibling rivalry, there was hardly an idle moment growing up.
At aged 12 Andrew joined a local road running group and on most Sunday's throughout the winter months they'd do a local 10km run, as well as compete in various fun-runs around the Sydney area. From this, as well as competing at cross country events at High School in Springwood (Blue Mountains), Andrew realised the smaller runs/races such as those in Little A's weren't long enough as they were over and done with too quickly for his liking. Whilst at this early stage of his life he didn't pursue longer runs on a regular basis or venture any further than 10km, it definitely planted the seed.
Fast forward a few years, Andrew is married with 4 kids (Brayden, Amy, Shane and Melissa). Whilst having kids with his wife Veronica are the most proudest moments of his life, his desire to get running again was nagging away at him, even more so as the kids got a little older and more independent. That led him to where is today, though not without pain or suffering.
“I jumped into the deep end with ultra trail running via the 6 Foot Track and was very naive and had no idea how to train for it. My longest training run for my first one back in 2001 was an 18km flattish road run, and after eventually finishing that race in 4hr52mins and in terrible pain, telling myself "never again" over and over again, deep down I knew it appealed to me. I also realised a bit of extra work and respect for this type of running was required!"
With that in mind he set off into the ultra trail running caper, which is what he still loves doing and sees himself involved in for many years to come.
“The camaraderie of all participants at ultra trail running events, passionate race organisers who know and understand what the runner wants, support from volunteers as well as support from the commercial sector I believe has this great sport going from strength to strength and heading in the right direction. Longer distances and people wanting to challenge themselves in beautiful surrounds over a vast array of natural terrain has races sold out within hours of opening and in some cases, minutes, such is the popularity of them these days."
I don't really have one!! When I was young my family nicknamed me Panda, but I haven't been called that for a very long time... Perhaps they've forgotten!
16 Nov 1969.
Warrimoo. A small town in the lower Blue Mountains and right on the doorstep of my training grounds!
What music you listen to?
INXS, Midnight Oil... a sign of growing up in the 80's!!
I try to have a good variety of carbs, proteins and fats. I also love "grazing" on fresh fruit and nuts throughout the day at work! Before my weekend long training runs I'll carb up a day before and only drink water, with no breakfast before the run. Before a race, the carb loading will start 2-3 days out.
Three things you always pack?
My running pack: Gels, salt tabs & energy bar.
For travelling: Running shoes, socks & shorts! Got to get a run in when I'm travelling!
The Great Escape with Steve McQueen & Charles Bronson.
I believe my biggest strength to be on the hills & technical single trails. It doesnt take me too much to get motivated either and train in all weather conditions.
I have 3!!...
1. Going out too fast, too early – getting caught up in the excitement that the start of a race can bring,
2. Lack of flat speed compared to some of the “greyhounds” out there &
3. Race navigation – I have taken a few wrong turns in some races!
Proudest Sporting Moment?
The two North Face 100 wins - the raw emotions of 2009 have never left me (something completely out of the blue and totally unexpected). Also the memories of racing with Stu Gibson in 2010 and crossing the finish line with him will never leave me. What a day that was!
Most Humbling Moment?
2011 TNF100. I came back to earth that year... Went out way too hard only to "crash and burn". I learnt alot about myself at the back end of that race.
Favourite TNF Product?
Featherlite Storm Blocker Jacket. Amazingly light, compact and 100% waterproof (with hood!) and the perfect wet weather jacket for the manadatory gear that's required for ultras.
Causes you are passionate about?
Sumatran forrests. The destruction of Sumatran forrests for Palm Oil plantations now leaves several species that are native to this part of world seriously endangered such as the Orangutan & Tiger... 80% of the orangutan habitat has been altered somewhat or lost!
Favourite destination for your sport?
Pikes Peak, Colorado, USA. I raced there in 2010 and found that place to be amazing. I've only heard of good things about the European ultra/sky running scene and I'd love to go over there to race in the near future.
Favourite piece of history in your sport?
Not quite on ultra trail running and I've only read about this and seen snippets from old tv footage (a bit before my day), but John Landy stopping to help Ron Clarke who had fallen over in the 1500mr Australian championships in the late 1950s was a great display of selflessness and sportmanship. Landy then went on to win the event after giving up much ground!
Who inspires you most?
Not anyone in particular with due respect, but people from all walks of life that get out there and have a go, in particular those who may not have much to begin with or those who are confronted with sudden unforeseen challenges i.e serious illness, accident etc who have set back after set back, but keep getting back up to better their situation.
- 2nd place 6 Foot track marathon 2009.
- 1st place TNF100 2009.
- 3rd place 6 Foot track marathon 2010.
- Equal 1st place 2010 TNF100.
- 2nd place Gold Coast 100km 2010.
- 18th place representing Australia at 2010 World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships, Pikes Peak, USA.
- 1st place 6 Foot track marathon 2011.
- 1st place in 2011 96km Kokoda Challenge, Queensland... with team mates – Clarke McClymont, Mick Donges & Brendan Davies.
- 1st place in 2012 96km Kokoda Challenge, Queensland... with team mates - Clarke McClymont, Ewan Horsburgh & Brendan Davies.
- 1st place in 2012 100km Trailwalker, Sydney... with team mates – Paul Robertson, Jonathan Worswick & Shona Stephenson.
- 3rd place Glow Worm Tunnel Marathon 2013.
- 4th place Surfcoast Century 2013.