99.9 per cent need not apply …. these are the words Andy Grant heard, aged 16, after watching an advert for the Royal Marines and these are the words that formed the ethos that got him through the biggest battle of his life.
Last year, we invited Andy Grant to the RunFit Expo to be one of our Guest Speakers and promote his book ‘You’ll Never Walk’. Andy spoke candidly about life since he lost his leg in Afghanistan and was such a hit with last year’s visitors that we have invited him back to let us know what he has been up to in the last 12 months.
From being invited to give the England Football team a team-talk before the World Cup last year to being flown over to China to speak to Nike, it’s certainly been a full-on 12 months for Andy and we can’t wait to hear all about it.
Andy is one of those people you just can’t help but like. He always has a huge smile on his face, he puts everyone at ease and he has a way of telling ‘his story’ that just has you hooked and wanting to hear more.
His book ‘You’ll Never Walk’ came out last year and from the first line to the last word, you will understand that that phrase ‘99.9 per cent need not apply’ is exactly how Andy has led his life. From losing his Mum aged 12, to joining the Marines, getting blown up in Afghanistan to making the agonising decision to have his leg amputated, after 12 months of trying to save it, he has conquered so many battles with a strength, determination and courage many of us will never have to face.
Running has played a huge part in Andy’s life, more so since recovering from the amputation when he was beginning to struggle with the life he now had, compared to such an active and extreme life as a Marine. The Invinctus Games has played a huge part in giving injured military personnel a focus and that feeling of being ‘part of something’ again has been invaluable to so many people.
“Running doesn’t do anything in particular; it’s not a magic potion. It just flicks a switch. It gets you out of bed of a morning. It releases endorphins …and for me more than anything it added structure to my life”
Extract from You’ll Never Walk
Running has given Andy a focus and throughout his book, he re-tells stories of people like Ronnie O’Sullivan who has used running to help with his depression. On 14th July 2016, with the help of the Liverpool Harriers as pacers, Andy broke the World Record for the fastest 10k single leg amputee and he knew from then on he would no longer be defined as ‘Andy Grant the injured solider’.
“Don’t ever define me by a trip wire; by war; by a moment of pure chance that saw me blown to pieces. Don’t ever define me as being disabled, as being a former Marine. I am Andy Grant and I’m the fastest one-legged man in the world”.
Extract from You’ll Never Walk
Andy has ran a number of half marathon’s with his blade and last year’s Rock n Roll Marathon was the first. During training Andy realised that due to the amount of scar tissue he had, running more than 14 miles was causing problems and causing quite a lot of pain. This is where his ”99.9 per cent need not apply’ mentality kicked in again as he battled through the pain, immense discomfort and heat to complete his first marathon as an amputee in 4:23:56 – and finished in style with what has become his trademark, carrying his beautiful little daughter Alba over the finish line.
You’ll Never Walk is available to buy at Waterstones and Amazon – and we challenge anyone to read it and not feel the emotion packed into this book and the pride for our soldiers who do what they do, to protect our country.