We speak to Paul Blackwell, who officially entered the 100 Marathon Club at the Cakeathon Marathon around Foulmead Park in Kent, this weekend. Well, what other race would a Bentley runner choose to join the 100 club? We’re all about the cake!
So, tell us about your 100th marathon. What did it feel like to cross the finish line?
I must admit, I thought crossing the finish line would have been very emotional, but to tell you the truth, I’ve run 56 marathons this year so it just seemed like just another marathon. I actually ran my 100th marathon a few weeks ago, as you have to book in the presentation of your shirt, but I kept adding midweek marathons, so I had the presentation of my 100 shirt 4 marathons late. It felt great getting the shirt, as it’s something I never thought would happen.
When did you start running and why?
Way back in 2003. I was in the pub with many of my friends and the topic of conversation got onto the London marathon. I piped up and said one day I would do the London Marathon and the whole pub erupted with laughter. I was unfit, smoked 50 a day and would jump in my car for a 50 metre walk.
My mum had recently died of cancer so I said to everyone that I would enter it when I got home for charity and everyone in the pub sponsored me. I went straight home and got a charity place and then went for a 3 mile run / walk which nearly killed me.
In 2004 I ran the London Marathon and raised £1700 for children with leukaemia. I started out steady, and finished it in 4 hours and 17 minutes. I remember when I finished, I thought I could run that again. It was very emotional, as I ran on behalf of my mother
Have you always wanted to run 100 marathons, or is this a recent challenge you’ve set yourself?
After about 5 years of running with GBRC I met Keith Scrivener, a great man, who was on the march to joining the 100 club. It was only then that I thought I would like to try get to 100 myself. When I first joined the club, Peter Reeve was on his 23rd marathon and I was shocked that someone had run that many! Back then, I thought I would like to run 26 marathons, as each one is 26 miles.
When you started running marathons, did you have a different goal?
The goal was to do the one marathon and then quit! But I had joined GBRC before running London to help me along and enjoyed running with the people from the club, so I just carried on.
We’ve all been envious of the medals you’ve been getting. What’s your favourite one and why?
The medals are so cool nowadays. I think my favourite one is now my one from my 100th and 101st Marathons. The one from my 100th marathon is as large as an iPad and weighs over 1kg! I also had it engraved, to make it slightly more special, but they are all special.
Now that you’ve run your 100 marathons, will we be seeing you at parkrun regularly?
I’m running marathons as I can’t really do short fast stuff. I suffer with a bad back, so a long slow plod helps me, but a short fast sprint will put me out for a month or so.
What’s the next challenge?
My next goal is to reach 150 marathons by the Halstead Marathon in May 2017. After that, I’d like to try and run 100 marathons in one year. This year I have done 52 in 52 weeks and there are not many people who have done that.
Thanks for taking to us, Paul, and congratulations on your amazing achievement. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us before we go?
I owe Janine Simpson a big call out, as she always kept onto me, even when I was out injured for many years, to carry on. Thanks, Janine! My goal was to reach 50 marathons by the time I was 50, but I got to 99 by my 50th birthday and if I can do it, anyone can. The body is a remarkable thing.