Tony Fulop is one of Burnden Road Runners’ legends and this week there was a special race he wanted to compete in for a very important reason.

He achieved a brilliant time of 31mins 56secs in this year’s British Transplant Games 5K race.

The Games are a partnership with the charity Transplant Sport and have been in existence for more than 40 years.

The four-day, inclusive event of 25 sports aims to increase awareness of the need for organ donation, encourage transplant recipients to lead active lifestyles and show appreciation for and remember donors and their families. The Games attract around 1,000 transplant athletes and 1,700 supporters in a celebration of life.

Fulop has now revealed why this race was so important for him to compete in.

He was reasonably fit until his 30s but admits he did always like a drink. Unfortunately, this dependency on drink became a demon he was plagued by both mentally and physically.

In 2014, his liver began to fail, which led to severe illness and a challenge to stop drinking if he wanted to recover.

He was able to remain alcohol-free for eight years but his liver could not recover from the damage that had already been done.

It was decided Tony would be added to the waiting list for a new liver via a transplant. Things took a turn for the worse when the doctors discovered cancer in his liver and he was moved up the list as he now only had a matter of months to live.

In 2016, he was given a second chance at life when a liver became available. Although the donor was anonymous, his gratitude led him to send a letter via Leeds St James Hospital to give his heartfelt thanks to the family of a man who was willing to donate an organ when he passed.

Once the gruelling operation was over, the recovery time was lengthy and the doctors and dieticians became concerned about Fulop’s weight due to the lifelong medication he now has to take, which increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and diabetes.

In 2018, a nurse at St James introduced him to the Transplant Games, which kick-started his journey to fitness.

Joining Nuffield Gym and slowly, but surely, starting with running, he set a goal of competing in the 5K at that year’s Transplant Games. To support his goal, he set about finding a club and found what he calls his ‘second home’ at Burnden Road Runners.

He said: “I can’t speak more highly of the people involved, coaches/team leaders/fellow runners.

“What a great club with healthy competition and a smile every time. There is always tons of advice from everyone, great sessions and a real team ethos.

“I learned the lesson that people think they are invincible - they are not. You have to live life every day the best you can and work hard.

“I am forever grateful for the donation of a new liver and second chance at life.

“One last thing - my family stuck with me through all this - God bless them.”

Everyone at BRR is proud of Fulop and happy he chose Burnden Road Runners.

Carolyn Edwards took in a spot of mid-week running at the Quarry Bank Mill Trail 10K.

The course includes some narrow bits through the woods, as well as hills, but the downhill sprint to the finish is, in her words ‘the best bit’.

Flying the flag for Burnden Road Runners as the sole runner, Edwards achieved a time of 51mins 55secs.

Tim Taylor was high in the French Alps as he and his family members undertook the Alpe d’Huez Triathlon.

Held over a few days, he finished the triathlon in a fantastic 3:24:21 and said: "Less than a month after Finland I was in the French Alps with six other family members ready to swim, ride and run.

"All that stood in the way was the formidable Tour de France climb of Alpe d’Huez.

"To get to the start lay the challenge of a descent from the top in 12 degrees and driving rain.

"That is a good day in Bolton but I was shaking with cold before we had even got to the start line.

"The 1200m swim in Lac Du Verney was choppy and rough - an elbow into the lip really hurt in the first 100m. A good swim and off on the bike. All my food had turned to mush in the rain. The first 14km was a fast time trial along the valley bottom and then the climb.

“AdH is a hill that just keeps giving for 21 bends. After an hour with rising temperatures it was tough but transition two was in sight. A mixed surface four-mile run at altitude was slow and then a descent along an air strip, which was great.

"It was lovely to see my wife 200m from the finish. Lots of water, tears and hugs at the end. All seven of us finished.”

Burndeners were out in force at parkruns last weekend with 39 members out and about.

The furthest distance travelled this week was more than 250 miles to Rendlesham Forest in Suffolk for Simon Marland and Sue Blackman, who finished in great times of 24mins 28secs and 35:50 respectively.

Gareth Lowe was off to Lancaster where he finished in 23:48 and Nia Bell was over in Chester where she achieved a time of 30:20.

Preston was the choice for the Dunleavys where Andy finished in 22:03 and Cheryl in 36:00.

More locally, Peel was the choice for a group of Burnden Bee graduates and their leaders.

At this, Jason Attwood and Martin Whitehead were flying around the course and produced smashing times. Attwood was first Burndener and brought a new PB home with an impressive 21:23, while Martin Whitehead followed just three runners behind Attwood in 21:35.

Other Peel times: Tess Riley 26:35, Lauren Hulme 30:54, Shirley Robinson 33:51, Jennifer Forkin 34:13, Gillian McGowan 43:46.

Heaton Park welcomed Gayle Gerrard home in 23:54, Chris Greenall in 24:21 and Mark Jackson in 52:18.

Running at Witton Park were Shirley Staveley, who finished in 26:14 and fourth female, while Liz Hopley followed in 33:18.

A group of Burndeners were at the popular Worsley Woods where the Caines times were: Mike Caine 23:01, Francesca Caine 24:23 and Sandra Caine 30:15.

Burnden Bee graduates did not disappoint as Sarah Brown finished in 32:20, Carol Richardson in 35:51 and Michelle Livesey in 37:46.

Bolton’s top Burndener this week was Tom Stratton who finished in a brilliant 21:31 and eighth overall position. Stephen Horsman was next in 22:39.

Other results: Lawrence McDonald 24:22, Steven Bate 24:59, Katherine Baines 25:21, Simon Entwistle 27:05, Richard Blake 28:35, Philip Glassbrook 30:02, Paul Johnson 30:26, Gillian Morris 31:33, Emma Walker 31:35, Alyson Cullen 32:32, Martin Cullen 32:32, Jennifer Entwistle 33:24, Paul Christie 33:28, Joyce Tyldesley 37:27.

Elsewhere, Burndeners took on another race in the Harrock Hill collection.

In Bispham, Parbold, the four runners competed in four different age categories – all bringing home super times.

Pete Hopley was the first for Burnden in 41:54, Gareth Lowe next in 44:38, Anne Ferguson first and only lady in 48:17 and Steven Bate in 50:28.

Meanwhile, coach, Andy Dunleavy, in partnership with Bolton Arena, has arranged a free Tuesday morning track session for all those who are interested – members or non-members of Burnden.

He will lead people on an energising track workout starting at 10am for an hour – followed by a get-together in the coffee shop for a chance to chat and unwind. Just book at reception and meet on the track at Bolton Arena. More details available on Burnden’s website at