Andy Ball & Ryan Jones

Two inspirational firefighters who raised over £40,000 for Alzheimer’s UK and Dementia UK, whilst running the 2021 Therme Manchester Marathon in their full fire fighting kit.

The annual Therme Manchester Marathon always provides a fantastic opportunity for thousands of people to challenge themselves to 26.2 miles in order to raise money for a charity close to their hearts, however these friends and colleagues took it to an extra level in full kit – complete with breathing apparatus cylinder- weighing approximately 30kg. Both Andy and Ryan have family members who have suffered with either Alzheimer’s or Dementia, and therefore they were running for charities that they had had personal connections with.

Andy, 36, is a dad of two from St Helens and works for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue in Stretford. He has completed two marathons previously in fire kit, but this was the first time he had done it with a 15kg breathing apparatus. Completing the marathon in over 7 hours, Andy also challenged himself to complete the last mile of the marathon using the oxygen from his oxygen tank, known as being ‘on air’, which made the task even more gruelling. Ryan (33) who is stationed at Hindley Fire Station in Wigan, part of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, finished the marathon in an impressive 6 hours, 6 minutes and 50 seconds. Having only set a fundraising target of £1,000, the pair have been blown away by the donations received.

Andy said: “The atmosphere throughout the whole marathon was brilliant – the people of Manchester were just amazing and that’s what got me through to the very end.” Ryan added:  “It was tough. The support we got was amazing from the public, runners and everybody there, it was a really good atmosphere. Both myself and Andy have personally been affected by dementia and Alzheimer’s and we wanted to do something to raise as much as possible to support research into the disease.”