About Run North West

About Run North West 2019-07-25T12:27:14+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 and have re-opened one of the UK’s most famous running stores in February 2018 as well as opening our second store in Wilmslow Town Centre in 2019.

Meet the Team

Andrew Whittingham
Andrew Whittingham Founder
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 Manager
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:
LiRF
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!”.

Dave Norman
Dave Norman Store Manager
Dave joined the Run North West team in January 2018 ahead of the opening of the new retail store in Hyde.  Dave brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, having managed the Sweatshop at the site of the new store in Hyde for 13 years.  Dave has been a member of Altrincham & District Athletic Club since 1992, and won the Greater Manchester Marathon in 2012 and 2013.
Sophie Whiteside
Sophie WhitesideAssistant Store Manager
Sophie joined Run North West at the end of 2016 from a strong background in the fitness industry having worked as a personal trainer in the North West area for over 7-years. Sophie also boasts a successful running pedigree competing for Liverpool Harriers in regional and national events across the UK and has worked within specialist running retail since the age of 16 as well as qualifications in sports massage. Sophie started running at the age of 8 moving through the junior ranks and boasts a 5k personal best of 17:06. Alongside Run North West Sophie works part time at Benchmark.
Jonny Mellor
Jonny MellorMarketing
Jonny joined Run North West in 2016 with a wealth of experience competing at the highest level alongisde consultancy work at Great Run. A British International, Jonny has also represented England at the Commonwealth Games and races competitively for Team New Balance Manchester. Jonny also heads up our coaching services via JM Coaching helping you prepare and make the most out of your day with Run North West. During university Jonny balanced studies, training and racing commitments along side part time work in specialist running retail for four years.

Store Assistants

Akkeal ChambersRunning Expert
Club: Altrincham AC
Distance: 5k
Biggest Achievement: My overall improvement in running having just started a year ago.
Favourite shoe: New Balance racing flats – M1400v5
Favourite Training Venue: Leeds Beckett Track
Favourite Session: So far it would be short tempo with 300’s after – may change very soon with my first track season incoming!
Advice: Look after your body. Internally and externally – running is hard on the body and if you don’t look after yourself you’ll just do more harm to it than good!
Eli KirkTeam New Balance Manchester Runner
Club: Swansea Harriers
Distance: 5k to Marathon
Biggest Achievement: Representing Wales in two Commonwealth Games.
Favorite Shoes: New Balance 880
Favorite Training Venue: Lyme Park
Favorite Session: Long run or hill intervals
Bradley FreemanAsics Front Runner
Club: Stockport Harriers AC
Distance: Still unknown – I love long distances but focusing on track for the meantime to build up my basic speed.
Biggest Achievement: Completing the Conwy Half Marathon is currently my biggest achievement because the Orme was a very tough challenge and I managed to finish the hilly half 5 minutes faster than my target. Also the achievement away from racing of being selected to be an Asics frontrunner.
Favorite Shoes: Easy mileage – Gel Nimbus. Speed shoe – Tartherzeal
Favorite Training Venue: Woodbank Park athletics track.
Favorite Session: At the moment I’d say long reps such as miles with some 400s between.
Advice: keep your training specific to what you’re training for. Also the intensity on easy runs: making sure that the pace is easy. It’s important that if the next day you’re going to be doing a session at a tougher pace that you’re not tired beforehand so you can get more out of the session and prevent getting injured.
Alex SuttonRunning Expert
Club: Reading AC – My home club is Reading AC. However, while studying at The University of Manchester I train with Paul Roden’s group at Manchester Sale Harriers.
Distance: Middle/Long Distance events on the track and Cross Country in the winter.
Achievements: Finishing 9th in the U20s at The 2018 British Inter Counties and 5th in the overall British Cross Challenge series.
Favourite Shoe: Brooks Mach XC Spikes 17, as they helped me through my most successful XC season yet!
Favourite Training Avenue: Churchill, Canada in the Arctic. Although, I only did a few swim and gym sessions here at the local school, as the threat of Polar Bears prevented me from getting any outdoor miles in…
Favourite Session: Saturday session on grass, for example 4 by 9 minutes. This is the kind of session we would do in the depths of winter and I enjoy it because you can find a rhythm and then just dig in for a while.
Advice: If there is food on offer take it because you never know when you’re going to eat next.

⭐Bonus Round⭐

Sporting Hero: Rickie Fowler, an exciting young talent who continues to work his way up to the top of professional golf. His bold, bright orange outfits sum up his personality perfectly and this is something that I admire.
Favourite Box Set or TV Series – Silent Witness, blows my mind every time.
Favourite Holiday Location: Algarve, Portugal. Lots of good weather, golf courses and places to run. Everyone is so chilled and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice is just the icing on the cake!

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.