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Andrea and the art of running

10 May, 2018 — By John Gulliver

Gallery owner Andrea Sylvester raised £19,300 for Breast Cancer Now

WHY did 57-year-old Andrea Sylvester who had never put on running shoes before, and suffers from early osteoarthritis, attempt the London Marathon?

To make it more improbable, she also had to contend with a heart condition diagnosed mid-way through her training. You could say it was because she had known people who had fallen victim to breast cancer. But it all came about accidentally when no one volunteered for an “auctioned place” in the marathon last autumn at a cancer charity ball – and she found herself putting up her hand.

With greater determination than she thought she had, Andrea, who runs the art gallery Sylvester Fine Art in Belsize Village, soon got into the discipline of regular runs, mainly on the Heath.

I cannot imagine her discomfort and pain, but somehow she found herself coping with her arthritis that would make her hands, feet, ankles and knees swell.

There was almost a calamity during the marathon when her heart condition led to acute breathlessness – and she had to stop for more than half-an-hour.

But she finished the 26 miles in 5 hours and 53 minutes – and raised £19,300 for the charity Breast Cancer Now.

After reaching such Olympian heights, her day job may seem a little pedestrian, but, judging by the tempo of my conversation with her, she talks equally enthusiastically about her current exhibition of such British favourites as John Piper, Graham Sutherland and Derrick Greaves.


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