Man completes his 800th marathon at the age of 76

Andy Wilmot is impressively fit by any standards, not just ‘for his age’.

At the age of 76, Andy has just completed his 800th marathon, meaning he has now run almost the entire circumference of the Earth.

On Sunday this week, the runner finished his 800th marathon with a strong time of four hours and 53 minutes, having completed number 799 the day before in five hours and two minutes.

He needs to run just under 4,000 miles more to have run the equivalent of going around the entire world, to hit 24,901 miles.

Dad-of-two Andy, from Halstead, Essex, said: ‘I’m proud, of course, but it’s just another number, really.

‘Someone once told me I’d never reach 800 marathons and I remember thinking “I will, even if it kills me”.’

While most of us would be happy with just the one marathon, let alone 800, Andy is already planning his next milestone: completing 900 marathons.

‘I’m always up for a challenge but it’s hard to say why they appeal so much,’ he said.

‘I guess I like the mental and physical test. I enjoy endurance running and while shorter runs are still fun, they’re over too soon.

‘When I do a marathon, I relish those last few miles. I think “this is what I’m here for”.

‘It’s tough, of course, but that’s the challenge and it’s probably more mental than physical. Every part of your body, especially your legs, will be screaming to stop.’

Andy’s epic journey started back in 1988, when he ran the London marathon for the first time and fell in love with the challenge.

He intended to complete his 800th back where he started, but coronavirus cancelled London’s official event.

He has completed 24 of the 25 marathons staged in Halstead by his club, Halstead Road Runners, and clocked more than 100 at the Suffolk Running Centre, in Barrow, near Bury St Edmunds.

Despite clocking in some speedy times, retired Andy says he’s not too bothered about his pace these days.

For him it’s all about being comfortable and ‘plodding around’.

People often think he’s ‘crazy’ for running so many endurance events, but Andy doesn’t mind – he just loves the challenge.

‘As a general rule, I try and run five times a week,’ he adds. ‘People say I’m crazy and perhaps I am, but I think all marathon runners have the same mentality.

‘We all like the challenge and I see the same faces at every event I go to.

‘Not that it always goes well – I’ve had some bad runs and some where I’ve felt awful afterwards. The heat affects me more than it used to.

‘On other occasions, I’ve been so cold afterwards that I haven’t been able to turn the ignition to start my car.

‘But you have to keep going and if you’re not strong, you’ll end up dropping out.

‘Sometimes it’s very difficult but you just have to carry on.’

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