Put on those running shoes

RUN FOR FUN: Hawera’s Dean Pratt will run the ‘‘six major’’ marathons around the world this year.
RUN FOR FUN: Hawera’s Dean Pratt will run the ‘‘six major’’ marathons around the world this year.

For someone who has not done a marathon for 20 years, Dean Pratt has set himself up for a monumental challenge in 2014.

The Hawera chartered accountant will do the "six major" marathons of the world when he runs in the Tokyo (February 23), London (April 13), Boston (April 21), Berlin (September 28), Chicago (October 12) and New York (November 2) events.

"The April ones are the scary ones, with only eight days between them," he said yesterday.

"It started off as a bit of a challenge because I'd read books like Born to Run and Run Like Crazy and they kept talking about the six majors and if you are going to run marathons, you have to do those. So I started wondering if I could do them all in 12 months."

At 46, Pratt knew he didn't have time to "put off to tomorrow what I could do today", so he decided in September to get serious about the planning and training.

"The hardest thing is actually getting all the entries done but I've done that now and they're all sorted out."

His wife Karen thought he was nuts, at first, but has since been happy to encourage him to try to achieve what not a lot of people have tried.

He would, however, be travelling solo.

With his training going well, Pratt hopes to reach the finish line in each marathon around the four-hour mark.

He does not think that is too ambitious, despite the lengthy break since his last 42km run.

"The last marathon I did was 20 years ago and that was the Rotorua one which I've done three times."

His only fear heading into the challenge was the short turnaround between the two marathons in April.

"What I did learn from the Rotorua marathons was that while it is a long distance, it's only 30 to 40 per cent physical; it's mainly mental. Once you hit 25km, it's all in the mind and if you hit that distance and your mind is clear, you'll make it."

There is also a charitable aspect to Pratt's ambitious plan, as he intends to try to raise $20,000 for Starship Hospital.

Taranaki Daily News