Marathon Man! 365 marathons, 365 days!
By Shlomo Maital
The man in the picture is a Belgian runner named Stefan Engels, from Ghent.
He had a crazy idea – to get people interested in running, rather than “sitting in front of the TV with a bag of crisps (potato chips)”. He would do it by a dramatic Guiness Book of Records feat – run one marathon a day, EVERY day, every single day, rain or shine, for a whole year, 365 days.
And despite injury, exhaustion, diarrhoea (in Mexico) and other problems, he succeeded. It was a tremendous triumph of will power. Once, Stefan had to do the marathon with a hand-cycle, because his legs were injured. But mostly, he ran, and once in a while, walked.
Let’s do the numbers. In all, over a year, he ran 9,563 miles or 15,330 kilometers. His usual pace was four hours, or 6.5 miles per hour (10.5 kilometers per hour).
Stefan is bandy-legged – his legs turn inward. This should have led to serious injury, as the stress went up his legs into his back. But in general it did not. He runs very economically, with low leg lift, and very light footfall.
A documentary about him, Marathon Man, tells the story.
For those of us who have done ONE or TWO marathons in their lifetime, running one a day for a year is mind-boggling. Stefan – we salute you. Anything is possible, indeed.