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Andrew Smith tragically died from cancer on Monday 16th December 2019. He was 65. Andrew was born on Saturday 2nd January 1954 and he was my friend, having first met in 2005, chatting on a Sunday morning at South Gosforth metro station in Newcastle when both off to the Pier to Pier 12K race in South Shields.

Andrew ran for Gateshead Harriers for many years, training in John Stephenson’s group, and in that time he gave me and other runners lots of excellent advice, especially on how to race longer distances, having himself completed multiple marathon and ultramarathon events (such as the Grantham Canal Ultra – a multiday race, in which Andrew raced 29.3 miles on the Saturday, followed by another 29.3 miles race back on the Sunday). Andrew always enjoyed the brutal 1 hour+ training sessions at Gateshead Harriers, and we normally traveled back to South Gosforth together afterwards, running to Gateshead Stadium metro station, having a rest on the train, then getting off 3 stations early at Jesmond metro and running the rest of the way back; this was before GPS watches or smart phone trackers, so we didn’t run to log extra miles, we just ran for the fun of it.

Later, Andrew focused on cycling, and would go for spins of many hours to Druridge Bay, Tynemouth or Belsay. As a keen environmentalist, Andrew would tell me of work meetings he had cycled to in, say, Stockton, rather than use taxis or other carbon polluting forms of transport. Andrew was a kind, funny, extremely liked man, and was loved and will be missed by all of his many friends and his wife, Kate, his children Adam, Sanna and Rachel, and his grandchildren.

Conrad Franks

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