2021 marks the 40th anniversary of the world-famous London Marathon and for the first time in Drive Forward’s history there will be a participant bearing our logo!
Andy Hearne, who works with our partners at The Crown Estate, has taken up the challenge of running the 26.219 miles around the River Thames on 3 October this year.
Wanting to find out more about Andy’s motivations, his training, and why he believes that supporting care-experienced young people into fulfilling careers, we’ve asked him some questions.
Why is it important to you to support DFF and the young people they support?
Throughout my career both in the military and in my civilian career, I have witnessed first-hand the positive impact charities like DFF can have on young people’s lives. I am always keen to support and help young people thrive and I have contributed to this in various ways both in my previous role working at Westgate, Oxford, and more recently here at TCE.
I recognise the impact that I and others can have on a young person’s immediate circumstances through offering support such as mentoring, volunteering and providing career advice and guidance to help shape their lives. In raising money for this great cause, it also provides an opportunity to raise awareness of DFF within TCE, as a fairly new charity partner, and my own professional circles.
Was there a time in your own life that has played a part in wanting to give back and support young people?
When I first left the Army I was completely lost. I had limited education and from the age of 16 the Army was all I knew. I left my friends and family to venture into a totally new world. I started my civilian career in a security role at a shopping centre where I worked for nearly six years in various roles including Assistant Operations Manager, Facilities Executive and Retail Manager.
That period was a whole new learning curve for me. I gained new skills, experience and enhanced my education through various courses. It would not have happened without the help of someone who took great interest in making sure I had the right guidance and instruction to begin shaping what has now become a very enjoyable career so far. We all need help throughout our careers, whatever we choose to do, and the best advice I received is that if you have the right attitude and behaviours, the rest will come.
Is running in the London Marathon something you’ve previously wanted to do?
I have always aspired to run the London Marathon, but I found it near on impossible to get a place. I’m relishing the opportunity to run it for DFF and be an ambassador for TCE.
It’s a fantastic event to raise both awareness and money for great charities and causes such as DFF. It’s incredibly important that we continue to engage in charity events, as the need for support has never been greater. No matter how small the effort it goes towards a great cause and can change lives.
How is your training going, have you got a set plan?
Training is going well, at this stage I’m just getting my miles in, testing the distance capability in my legs. I ran an 18 miler over the weekend which was tough, so a little way to go yet!
Sounds intense! Can you share any tips with those of us who may be looking to build our own fitness levels back up after a year of lockdown?
The hardest part of exercising in my experience is finding the motivation, particularly if it’s been a long time or you’re starting from scratch. It can be daunting, but I find the best way of tracking this is to buddy-up with someone who has a similar desire and use each other to motivate yourself and challenge one another.
Last question Andy, but an important one – how can we support you and the DFF?
I think if people can find the time to read up on DFF, understand what is stands for and how it supports young people, that would be a great start in helping to raise awareness of the organisation.
If they then wish to support both the charity and myself in donating towards the event, then fantastic, but they should not feel obliged. No matter how big or small the donation, it all supports a great cause!
I am passionate about positively contributing to great causes, and the Drive Forward Foundation is a great foundation. I can relate to how some young people feel who really need foundations like DFF to give them the support and guidance they need to make the best of their future. Through running the marathon, and raising awareness and funds, my hope is that it contributes to a bigger more prolific change for the DFF and supports their ongoing growth and success in making young people’s lives better.