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FEATURE: The big 600 comes and goes for marathon mad Andy who just keeps going one step at a time.

Andy Wilmot who has run more than 600 marathons

Andy Wilmot who has run more than 600 marathons

He is the man who just keeps on running. IAN PARKER caught up with Halstead Road Runner’s marathon guru Andy Wilmot.

After finishing his 600th marathon in May, you might have thought Halstead Road Runner Andy Wilmot would have taken a well-earned rest. However, he can be seen pounding the pavements, keeping a record of the miles achieved in his log book.

Having run his first marathon in London in 1988 as a one-off, Wilmot had no intention of running any more.

Not long later he had run another in Ipswich and so began a chain that at the age of 69 has yet to cease, nor does it look likely.

Described as an inspiration by his club chairman Keith Thorogood, Wilmot is only the sixth person in the country to join the ‘600 club’.

“It is absolutely amazing,” said Mr Thorogood. “For a man of his age to keep going for so long — he is an inspiration to us all.”

Age is not something that bothers Wilmot.

“I enjoy running marathons, as soon as I don’t enjoy it I will stop,” he said.

Keeping a log book of all the marathons and miles he has done over the years, you might have thought that number 600 would have been cause for celebration, but for Wilmot it was just another 26.2 miles.

“I don’t know really, I just keep running marathons,” he said. “They just kind of total up - it’s no different from 595.”

The club, who organised the 20th Halstead and Essex Marathon, celebrated the event by having their biggest ever turnout of runners, which Wilmot said he enjoyed.

For many of the runners, it was their first marathon and Wilmot gave them some good advice, telling them ‘the most important thing is to finish’.

It is an ambition he carries with him each time he sets off.

Despite having a personal best of three hours and eight minutes, Wilmot said: “I just finish now. I don’t have times I just really enjoy running.

“I think you have to be a bit stubborn, I’m certainly glad to see the finish line.

“I have got used to running them now, but they are all still hard.”

Since finishing his 100th marathon in 1994, Wilmot has run on average nearly one marathon every two weeks, an unbelievable 500 marathons since he turned 50.

The log book currently stands at more than 59,200 miles, something Thorogood described as an ‘astonishing achievement’.

It could have all been so different for Wilmot, however.

After playing football, Wilmot joined the running club in 1987, getting bored when his family went out and ran together.

Nearly 30 years later, thousands of miles added to the clock and an achievement only a handful have matched, Wilmot has certainly earned his club’s traditional post-marathon pint of milk.

 

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