Story of marathon runner pushing his uncle in wheelchair told in new book

Andy and Chris Spriggs at the Brighton half marathon
Andy and Chris Spriggs at the Brighton half marathon

When Broadbridge Heath man Andy Spriggs ran his 39th marathon in 2010, he did not think he would complete his 40th in a wheelchair.

Andy’s running days were brought to an end when he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2011.

However, his nephew Chris offered to push Andy in his wheelchair in the Brighton Marathon in 2013, and since then the pair have finished two marathons and four half marathons together.

And Chris, 41, has written a book, ‘The Reason I Run’, detailing the emotional tale.

Chris said: “I saw people being pushed in the Paris Marathon and thought one day I would like to do something like that.

“When I thought of it, it was ‘I really need to dedicate myself to that’.”

Marathon men Andy and Chris Spriggs. SR1511445. Pic Steve Robards SUS-150526-173030001

Marathon men Andy and Chris Spriggs. SR1511445. Pic Steve Robards SUS-150526-173030001

Chris, who lives in Warwickshire, sent an email to his uncle at 3am one night asking if the pair could team up.

Andy, 66, eventually agreed, leading to the races and the book, which has received praise from last year’s European Championship gold medallist in the 10,000m, Jo Pavey.

Chris said: “It is a book for runners and non-runners.

“The central thread is getting ready to push him in the Brighton Marathon, but it is a much bigger story in the sense that we faced difficulties, and how we faced them.

“There are lots of sub-stories around resilience and what are we made of when life takes a turn.”

He added that the biggest difference to running a marathon while pushing a wheelchair is ‘accounting for other people’s ankles’.

Andy explained that his son Paul was inspired by Chris’ success and has also pushed him in a marathon.

He said: “When he emailed me I thought he was mad and didn’t respond straight away, but I said I would do it and it has been fantastic to be part of those big events again.

“The level of noise rises considerably, particularly along the last two or three miles on the seafront at Brighton. It brought a tear to my eye.”

Andy said the phenomenon of the Ice Bucket Challenge and the success of the Theory of Everything film have brought motor neurone disease into the public eye.

‘The Reason I Run’ is available online from websites including Waterstones, Amazon, and publisher Summersdale for £8.99, and in shops from June 11.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage at

2) Like our Facebook page at

3) Follow us on Twitter @wscountytimes

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

The County Times - always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.