For the past 25 years, Steve Edwards has run an official marathon race on average every 16 days. His aim is to become the first person in the world to complete 500 marathons all under a time of 3hr 30m.
Last week at Taunton, Steve completed his 479th marathon within his target time and aims to complete his 500th later this year, before he turns 50.
The Marathon of the North should be one of those 500, although even if he doesn’t make his target time, he can add it to the list of 555 marathons he has now completed and it will be another chapter in a remarkable life, dominated by running.
Steve said: “Not a day goes by without me thinking about running. I still get a buzz out of the challenge of a marathon distance, and it’s great knowing I can still achieve that time, even at my age.
“The running community is very special. We have made many friends over the years and we always see people we know. The build up to an event and the atmosphere is what keeps me going.”
Steve and his wife have travelled all over the British Isles to take part in marathons, including the Isles of Scilly and the Outer Hebrides. They have also been to 27 countries to take part in events in New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Switzerland, Norway and Morocco, among others.
“I ran a marathon in Redcar a few years ago, so I’m looking forward to running in a new place. I’m sure the crowds will come out and there will be a good atmosphere to spur the runners on.”
The long term target of 500 runs under 3hr 30m remains the focus for Steve, but he is so close to his goal, so can’t help thinking beyond that.
“If I make it to 500, I will feel a huge sense of achievement, just knowing that I have achieved something no one else has. But also I will feel relieved.
“I’m concentrating on the 500, but I don’t want to stop running. If I can maintain that level of desire, and if I’m still enjoying it, there is no reason to stop and I can push the bar even higher.”
Steve trains every day and despite holding down a full time job, has attracted a number of records and achievements:
– At the age of 28, became the youngest athlete in the world to run 100 marathon races (record now broken).
– Guinness World Record for running 87 marathons in one year (record now broken).
– Guinness World Record for running the fastest 10 marathons in 10 consecutive days (record now broken, although Steve holds record in veteran master category).
To complete his achievement in his 50th year is made more special by the fact it is Olympic year, and Steve calls the challenge his “personal Olympic legacy”.
“In Olympic year, a virtually unknown athlete could become the first person in the world to run 500 sub 3hr 30m marathon races. Its not only a good omen, but perfect timing.”