60-year-old runner finishes his 500th marathon

PAUL EASTON
Last updated 05:00 26/11/2012
Michael Stewart
KENT BLECHYNDEN/Fairfax NZ

MILESTONE: Michael Stewart finishes his 500th marathon in Upper Hutt. The Naenae man has run the most marathons in the southern hemisphere.

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After running his 500th marathon, 60-year-old Michael Stewart was planning to celebrate by dancing the night away.

"I'm going to go down to the Petone Working Men's Club, and if some chick wants to go dancing, that would be great," the Naenae rubbish truck driver said.

Mr Stewart said he felt "great" after completing the marathon around Upper Hutt in five hours and 7 minutes.

He crossed the line resplendent in a pink singlet and togs, his hydration pack straps wrapped in sheepskin to prevent chafing.

He battled the heat but said he was pleased to finish the marathon, which was especially named after him. "I had to throttle back a bit to make sure I made it."

He had no plans to call it a day.

"I don't see any point in it; it would just be a downward spiral."

He credited his vegan, non-drinking lifestyle for his good health.

"It's made big changes for me."

Mr Stewart completed his first marathon in 1970.

In 1988, he clocked his best time, 2h 59m 7s in Hastings.

Five hundred marathons is a southern hemisphere record by a considerable margin.

David Penfold, of Feilding, is due to do his 250th next month and across the Tasman an Australian has racked up about 310.

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- The Dominion Post

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