I went to the pre-London Marathon Expo at the Excel Centre yesterday to collect my race number and spend some requisite ££’s on socks and shirts and other stuff (it’s all part of the ritual), and I was stopped by a friendly chap at the SIA Stand (Spinal Injuries Association) and we started to chat. Of course we began with the standard “are you running on Sunday?” and “what time are you hoping for?” but when we began to talk about how many marathons I had run, he told me a story…
“I have a friend” he said “who is just about to run his 450th marathon”
My jaw literally dropped.
“He started off just like you, in his 30’s, thinking he would do a couple. Then he did 10. Then he saw there was a club for people who had run 100 marathons, so he aimed for that. Then he decided to find out how many marathons he could run in a year. He’s now just about to turn 50 and he is still going strong”
I was speechless, although I managed to stutter out…”what kind of times is he getting?”
“Oh, he used to average around 3:15 although he is finding now it is more like 3:30”
I couldn’t help but be so utterly impressed. Wow! What an inspiration. Here we are getting ourselves all nervous about what is a big race, and this chap does them as training runs. The funny thing was, as I thought about him, I realised that nerves are good (I get nervous before every race, no matter how big or small) but that this race isn’t the be all and end all. If I don’t make my 4 hours on Sunday, then I’ll do it next time, or the time after, or even the time after that.
“If you think of it this way”, the SIA gentleman continued “it is like doing your long training run, but someone very kindly provides you with drinks along the way”.
Hear hear to that. Mr. 450+ Marathons whoever and wherever you are, I take my hat with ears off to you. You are truly and inspiration.
Thankyou Clean Wal-Mart for the image