Marathon runner on the pace to complete 100 at Athens

Blenheim runner Paul Knight is ready to start his 100th marathon at the Athens Marathon in Greece .
SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ

Blenheim runner Paul Knight is ready to start his 100th marathon at the Athens Marathon in Greece .

Less than 24 hours after running his 9th Auckland Marathon, Paul Knight is fizzing with energy.

In a fortnight the redoubtable Blenheim runner will take his place at the start line of the Athens Marathon in Greece for the race of his life.

The historic race, commemorating Phidippides'​ dash to announce the Greek victory over the Persian army in 490BC, will be the 57-year-old's 100th marathon since he set out on his first 42.2 kilometre event at Hamilton, almost 30 years ago.

Completing 100 marathons has always been at the back of his mind, Paul says.

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The only change is that he will complete the target ahead of schedule, beating his early aim of finishing 60 marathons before he reached 60-years-old.

He has requested to wear the race number 10060, or 100 marathons before 60, at Athens.

In 99 previous marathons Paul has run a total of 4177kms-the equivalent of running from Cape Reinga to Bluff, and back again. 

But running marathons has not just been about completing the required distance.

It has also been a passport to see the world, and there have been numerous highlights along the way.

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His fastest time was at Rotorua in 3 hours and 18 minutes while his fastest time at the Auckland Marathon was 3h 20 minutes.

He once ran seven marathons in 11 days on seven continents - Melbourne, Abu Dhabi, Paris, Tunisia, New York, Punta Arenas (Chile) and King George Island (Antarctica) - in temperatures ranging between 2 and 33 degrees Celsius.

"It should have been seven marathons in seven days but we were delayed landing on King George Island because of ice," he says.

The most memorable was the Big Five Marathon running alongside wild game in the Entabeni​ Game Reserve, South Africa.

He expects the Athens race, which finishes at the marble clad Panathenaiko​ Stadium - the venue of the 1896 and 2004 Olympic Games - to be no less of a challenge.

During the race Paul's feet will follow in the symbolic path of ancient Greek gods and heroes.

"It is a tough course, uphill for the first 30km's," he says.

"I just want to get through the hills and then coast to the finish."

 

 

 

 - The Marlborough Express

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