Hello, I know we’ve met before but I rarely get the opportunity at a duathlon to have a proper conversation with my participants. I’m either hustling last minute to get transition ready for you to rack your bike, taking names and handing out numbers, making jokes about how your obscenely high race number is the same as your age, or head in clipboard as your crossing the line, frantically trying to work out you were 26 or 29 so I can get the results right…
We have had a chat, I know, but unfortunately event morning isn’t the best place to get to know me better, nor me you. So I thought I’d introduce myself to you today. That way, you know a bit more about me, you can reply to my email, comment on the blog or hit me up on social media and we can have a good chat. I also promise that I’ll make more of an effort at events. I’m working on building a small team that can do my busy jobs so I can get to know you. I’d honestly like nothing more than to talk about your training leading up to your first duathlon, the euphoria you felt as you crossed the line or how you’re using our events as race practise ahead of your big GB age group triathlon debut.
I’m Andy McAnally, 35 years old (at time of writing, 2020), father of 2, Barney (9) and Isla (5) I’m engaged to their mum, Gill, and have been for 10 years now. We live in Cheadle Hulme, near Stockport and I’m lucky enough to have grown up less than a mile from where I currently live, so safe to say I’m at home.
When I was growing up, all I wanted to do was be involved in radio. I loved it, mainly because I loved music, but didn’t have the creative flair or talent to make it as a pop star, but also because I love how sound creates images and has the ability to tell a story and draw in the imagination in a way that words or film don’t quite do. So I went to university at 18 to study Media Studies and Radio Production and moved out of home and got a whole 30 miles away, to Warrington, where I was enrolled in a Manchester University degree at Padgate Campus. I loved uni and I spent equal time between the radio studio and the student union where I learned loads through practical assessments, making documentaries, adverts, news programming and presenting my own show to how much Snakebite and Black I could drink and all the words to the final tune every Wednesday night, Chesney Hawkes, The One & Only.
I left university at 21 and “fell” into a job, away from radio. I’d been working at a local newsagent since I was 16 and was offered a manager’s position, so I took it. It wasn’t for me. I enjoyed the interaction with customers, but I had no passion for the job and after a few years, I took a step back and got myself a fitness qualification.
I’d been training at the gym since I was 15 and I really enjoyed it. I loved how it made me feel after a good session and got a kick out of seeing all the new faces in the gym and watching their journeys and transformations. This was my career; I was going to be a Personal Trainer.
Then I met Gill, we got engaged and had Barney, so even though I now worked in a gym and my learning continued I put my career on hold so Gill could work (she had a really successful job in IT sales) and I looked after the boy. This was great, I got to spend loads of time with Barney, I took him to play centres, swimming and even ice skating, but once he started school, I now needed more again.
I was still working in the gym and with a couple of colleagues we decided to create a Triathlon Club. We’d run it on the class timetable, but it was an opportunity for members to try something new or pursue a goal. This was where it all really came together for me! We created a community of likeminded members who each had goals relating to triathlon or endurance sport. We took people who had never run 10k before to their first events; we helped people learn to swim, to put their face in the water and to overcome their fears in both swim, bike and run. And to top it off, we put on our very first Triathlon on June 2015.
We had 22 participants, a mix of both gym members and the general public, and I was event director. I remember setting out chairs in the gym foyer hoping all the entrants would turn up. It wasn’t just the participants having a nervous wee that morning, but once the event started and finished, that was it that was how McA Fitness & Events was born.
I carried on at the gym for another year, before moving to a local Spinning Studio where I set up a new event, this time a duathlon. The Manchester Airport Duathlon initially based on Mill Lane in Ashley is now going stronger than ever at the Airport Inn on Altrincham Road in Wilmslow and sits nicely with our other 2 events, The Dunham Massey Duathlon and Come & Give It A Go Tri.
My work is a real passion and although not full time, I have a real job now too, I spend as many extra minutes as possible thinking about triathlon and duathlon, looking at new courses or trying to engage on Facebook and Instagram.
When I’m not in the world of multi-sport, I love spending time with Gill and the kids, family walks, bike rides (obvs), barbeques and camping holidays, I still love audio and I do some podcasting on the side, and I also love training, both swim bike running and lifting too. I enjoy craft beer, good food, particularly a barbeque and the day hasn’t started if I haven’t had a coffee…
I hope you’ve learned a little more about me and my journey to multisport. I’d love to hear some more about you I look forward to catching up at your next event.