About Run North West

About Run North West 2020-10-26T14:27:49+00:00

About Run North West

Run North West was established in 2016 to offer the very best in race experiences, helping to meet the increasing demand for quality running events and provide opportunities for runners of all abilities to become active and live a healthier lifestyle. Since then we have progressed into retail with our retail store located in Wilmslow Town Centre.

Meet the Team

Andrew Whittingham
Andrew Whittingham Managing Director
Andrew started running 28 years ago after meeting his future wife Philippa who along with her Dad, Bill had competed from an early age. Bill, an elite level athlete, ran in the same Bolton running team as Ron Hill and ultimately they were reunited at the launch of the Run North West store opening. Philippa achieved many international vests in her teens and together they encouraged Andrew to join them in an era when running had a much lower level of participation.

Competing in his twenty’s for Buxton AC, Andrew tasted events organisation as the Race Director of the Buxton half for several years and grew the entries from 400 to 1000 by gaining editorial national coverage in Runners World magazine. Running in the Peak District cemented Andrews love of running.

After moving to Wilmslow in 2010, Andrew joined Wilmslow RC and having turned 40 decided to increase training under the guidance of coach Tony Hulme and training partner Rob Downs. Andrew broke all of his PBs at the age of 47 on the way into his first marathon. A 16.55 5k, 1.17 half and subsequently a 2.50 marathon and England masters representation followed.

In 2016 Andrew answered the demand for more high quality road races by launching Run North West and hosting both the Alderley Edge 5 mile and the Wilmslow Festive 10K. That first year 2000 runners took part and this has grown to over 10,000 in 2019.

After a long career in retail sales and multi site management, Andrew could see how often runners, old and new received patchy advise and service when investing in the all important running shoes. The opportunity to take over one of the UKs most famous running stores presented itself in 2016 and Run North West retail was born in Hyde from the store Ron Hill first opened in 1975 and so the loop from Andrews running inspiration, his father in law Bill, back to Ron, was complete.

Andrew continues to compete in local and national races, both road and cross country and is the proud captain of Wilmslow Running Club.

Andrews retail philosophy is that high mileage friendly runners are the best people to work in the business as they know the customers needs far better than anyone else and is proud to have assembled probably the most credible group of running specialists in the UK to look after the needs of all runners from the couch to 5k starter to the elite international.

Sam Blacow
Sam BlacowOperations Director
Sam joined the team in August 2018 overseeing events and operations within Run North West, since then she has managed each event and more recently has taken on the Race Director role.

Sam started running in 2013 by doing a race for life event in support of a friend who had cancer, soon after she started parkrunning every week and joined Bramhall Runners. During that time she has knocked over 10 minutes off of her 5k time and 35 minutes off her marathon time. Sam takes part in a mixture of road, trail and fell races, her favourite distance is the marathon. Sam is one of the beginner run leaders at Bramhall Runners and enjoys helping people get from the couch to running 30 minutes.

In her spare time she is the Regional Ambassador (volunteer) for parkrun UK in the North West, looking after all of the parkrun events, their teams and the Ambassadors within the Greater Manchester area. During her time as Event Support Ambassador she has looked after 20+ different parkrun and junior parkrun events, as well as starting Sale Water, Alexandra Park (Moss Side) juniors, Hyde juniors and our local event – Hyde parkrun! Sam is still involved with Cheadle Hulme parkrun as co-Event Director and has been with the event since it started, she is there most weeks volunteering.

Running qualifications:
Race Director
CiRF (undertaking 2019-20)

When Sam is retail based her favourite role is helping customers find new trainers “it’s absolutely amazing to be able to help someone find new running shoes, as you can completely relate to them. Being a team full of runners we totally understand the decision they are trying to make, and can also have a good chat about runs, races, injuries, parkruns, clubs, nutrition and much more – all over a coffee!”.

Sarah Doherty
Sarah DohertySales & Marketing Manager
Sarah is a relatively new member of the team joining in March 2020. She enjoyed athletics as a child, competing in 100m and Long jump and after running recreationally on and off for a number of years took up running more seriously again after having her 2 children. With the initial aim of getting back into shape post children and then challenging herself to run her first Marathon (not the easiest task with a 1 and 3 year old in tow!). She was delighted when she crossed the finish line of the Dublin Marathon in 3 hours 52 mins and has now challenged herself to run a sub 3:30 at Manchester Marathon, hopefully next year.

Sarah became a member of Bramhall Runners in 2019 and joining the club has enabled her to significantly improve her times across all distances including taking 5 mins off her 10K time (her favourite distance) and 10 mins off her Half Marathon time – her goal is to go below sub 40 and sub 1:30 in the near future. She is also a Run Leader at the club (mainly with the intermediates) and enjoys helping others with their training and to reach their goals. Before joining the Run North West Team Sarah ran many of the RNW events and was a pacer at last years Wilmslow Festive 10K which she said was a great experience helping others to achieve their goal time!

Sarah is a member of the Brooks Run Happy Team and her favourite shoes are Brooks Ghost which she does the majority of miles in but for speed she loves the Brooks Hyperion Tempo which are amazingly light and bouncy! As a member of the Run Happy Team, she has expert knowledge on all of the Brooks products in-store and loves chatting to customers in the shop to find out more about them, helping them to find the perfect pair of shoes for their needs.

Emma Young
Emma YoungRunning Specialist
Emma started running in 1987 in order to keep up with her brother who was running as part of his training for the Royal Marines. Living in Darwen, the Lancashire moors were on her doorstep so running muddy, hilly trails was something she got used to, and loved, from an early age. Emma joined the Royal Navy in 1990 and was immediately invited to join the Royal Navy Xcountry and Athletics team and over the course of the next 8 years she ran competitively for them on the track (3,000m-5000m), XCountry, 10km Road Races and more later was on the Triathlon team which she also excelled at.

After leaving the Royal Navy, running took a back seat while she went travelling and settled in Australia and after finding her feet and getting used to the temperatures picked running back up again joining a Sydney Running Club and taking part in a number of Xcountry races (not a huge amount of mud and the sun was always shining!), and iconic road races such as The City to Surf (the worlds largest fun run), The Gold Coast Half Marathon and also the Oxfam Trailwalker 100km Ultra over 48hours, which she completed 4 times.

Now married with 2 children it was time to come back to the UK, and with a new goal in mind, Emma decided to run the Manchester Marathon and joined Bramhall Runners in order to help her with her training. After completing the event (3:57) she qualified at LIRF (Leadership in Running Fitness) and then CIRF(Coach in Running Fitness) and over the past 6 years in addition to coaching and guiding the adult groups on the road and on the trail, she also helped set up the Bramhall Runners Junior squad ’The Green Machines’ where she saw a gap for a running club for kids who simply enjoy running and being active, as part of their everyday lives. It was an exciting time to see numbers increase from 16-60 over the course of a couple of years, and more importantly see kids growing in confidence to take part in the school x-country and athletics where before they didn’t want to.

Never far away from a personal challenge, she entered the Lakeland Trail 55km Ultra which was amazing and off the back of that training decided to apply for the London Marathon which she completed in 2019 (3:53). It was here that she had a pivotal moment and decided that she wanted to make running part of her everyday working life, putting 20 years in the property investment industry behind her to work with likeminded individuals who share a love for this sport. Setting up a Guided Trail Running company called Running Escapes, Emma takes runners on trail runs in beautiful places across the Peak District, Cheshire and North Wales and when she isn’t running across the trails, you can find her in the shop sharing her knowledge and experience of all things trail and road related.

Andy Lord
Andy LordRunning Specialist
Andy started running in 2012 (after a 25 year break!), a running friend coaxed him to participate in a local parkrun. The rest as they say is history, having thought his running days were over, Andy shed nearly 5 stone over the next year or so and brought his time down significantly. During the past 8 years he has notched up over 300 parkruns at many different venues around the UK.

In the early 1980’s Andy was one of the founder members of Chorley AC and the experience of this led him setting up Marple Runners in 2016 and is now the Honorary President of the club.

During the 80’s he worked for Ron Hill Sports for 8 years, working in many aspects of the business. It was during this time he completed his first marathon, Athens in 1985 (which was Ron Hill’s 100th Marathon) but it was another 30 years before he did his second in Manchester!

Andy regularly competes over distances from 5k to half marathon and has also unexpectedly found a new love in running cross country. He recently improved his PB to 49:14 for his favourite distance, 10k, in one of virtual 10k challenges.

His love of running, wealth of life experience and an enthusiasm for people to get involved in the sport, make Andy a valuable part of the team here at Run North West.

Store Assistants

Natasha Harrison
Natasha HarrisonStore Assistant
CLUB: Stockport Harriers & AC/ Loughborough/ Wigan Harriers

I joined Stockport age 10 after competing in the primary schools XC since year 3, where I ran for Tameside and my primary school. I started running with my primary school in year 3 and really enjoyed it. The support from my primary school XC teachers and great sessions also had an influence on my progression into a club. I have been with Stockport ever since, but have now joined Wigan as a higher claim athlete to get a higher level of competition and my University team (Loughborough Students)

400m – 53.6

FAVE DISTANCE: My favourite distance is 400m. Having moved from 800s I found my strength from the event really helped over the distance. As an u17 I competed over 300m before moving to 400m as an u20. I love the 400 as it combines the speed that I needed for my 300 with the strength that I needed for the 800. A great mix of both events!

FAVE RNW RACE: Quarry bank is my favourite RNW race, as it’s only 5 miles. The lovely scenery around Quarry Bank is also great to run in.

Fave RNW MEDAL: is a tie between Wilmslow 2018 and Trafford 10k 2019. I love the snowflake design of the Wilmslow medal. The Trafford 10k medal is also a favourite of mine. I love the flying trainer and the gold of the medal.

WHAT I LIKE DOING BEST IN-STORE: I enjoy chatting to customers about their running and hearing about how they got into the sport. I also enjoy discussing other aspects of their training such as their strength work and stretching, with both contributing to making a strong runner.

My in-store speciality is getting overly excited over researching race day PPE

Interesting fact: I hold the English Schools Athletics championships 400m SG Record and have represented GBJ at a number of races

Finley Proffitt
Finley ProffittStore Assistant
CLUB: Macclesfield Harriers

I started running at the age of 10. My first race for the club was a North Staffordshire Cross country at Stafford common which I really enjoyed and haven’t stopped running ever since.

10K – 32:24
5K – 15:05
3K – 8:49

FAVE DISTANCE: My favourite distance is probably 5k however I really enjoy 10k as well but have only done one.

FAVE RNW RACE: Wilmslow Festive 10K
FAVE RNW MEDAL: The Red Alderley Edge Bypass 10K 2019 medal

WHAT I LIKE DOING BEST IN-STORE: I enjoy the gate analysis most in store.

I am new to the team but have a strong background in running.

Interesting fact: I am a northern 5K champion and a 12 time Cheshire Champion over various disciplines.

Alex Sutton
Alex SuttonStore Assistant
CLUB: Reading AC / University of Manchester

Having watched my Mum at some races, I fancied getting involved too. The next week, I joined a few pals at the local parkrun and the rest is history!

5K – 15:33 (unofficial with dad on bike!)
3K – 8:45
1500m – 4:03

FAVE DISTANCE: Cross country 10k – I love the variety that the cross-country season brings. You could do a dozen races in a season; they’d all be completely different and challenging in their own way.

FAVE RNW RACE: Trafford 10K – Having watched the race a few times (usually in pretty dreadful conditions) it amazes me the sheer number of amazing times in both the men’s and women’s race. You’d be hard pushed to find a more competitive road 10k elsewhere in the country!

FAVE RNW MEDAL: Wilmslow Festive 10K – You can’t beat a reindeer and a bit of festive spirit.

WHAT I LIKE DOING BEST IN-STORE: I enjoy chatting to customers and hearing about what they’ve been up to in their own running lives. It is so great to hear when people are enjoying their running and smashing their personal bests out of the water too!

Interesting fact: I’ve seen polar bears in the wild!

David Heywood
David HeywoodStore Assistant
CLUB: Chorlton Runners

I signed up for St Albans Half Marathon to see if I could run that far. Turns out I could and loved it!

Half Ironman – 5:51:36
Half Marathon – 1:40:17
10K – 42:42
5K – 19:49

FAVE DISTANCE: In triathlon is 70.3 and running is a half marathon…Still chasing a sub 1.40! Watch this space…

FAVE RNW RACE: Wilmslow Festive 10K
FAVE RNW MEDAL: Wilmslow Festive 10K 2018. What’s not to like with a shiny snowflake medal?! Big race bling!

WHAT I LIKE DOING BEST IN-STORE: I love doing gait analysis for someone who hasn’t experienced it before and finding them a great shoe!

IN-STORE SPECIALITY: Speciality is gait analysis and cushioned shoes!

Interesting fact: I can play 12 instruments

Louisa Whittingham
Louisa WhittinghamStore Assistant
CLUB: Macclesfield Harriers

I started running in 2011, doing parkruns with the family. Encouraged by grandad, dad and mum who all were competitive runners

3K – 9.57
5K -17.36
10K – 36.44

FAVE DISTANCE: 10K, as I enjoy trying to hit consistent pacing and I aim to increase race distances as I get older so 10k is the furthest I’ve raced so far.

FAVE RNW RACE: Alderley trail race, it was a lovely scenic course and I came 1st lady last year

Fave RNW MEDAL: Trafford 10k 2020

WHAT I LIKE DOING BEST IN-STORE: In the store I enjoy speaking to the customers and finding out why they got into running and hearing how much of a positive impact running has on so many people

My store speciality is chatting about the shoes and finding the right shoe for each individual customer using my background knowledge in sport and exercise sciences from university
Interesting fact: I am going to study sport management in the US for my masters degree this August

Daisy TomlinsonStore Assistant

Local Community

Run North West is also calling upon the kind help of other runners, local business and recreational clubs to the mutual benefit of all in helping the community to a more active lifestyle. Run North West will also commit to raise funds for charity at every race. As part of our commitment to the local running community Run North West is proud to support grass roots sport by sponsoring the Manchester Area Cross Country League helping the league to grow and develop offering highly competitive races across all age groups.