Could you run a marathon and then go to work? Maybe once, but could you do that for 90 days? That's what this guy has done, and he's still going.
Mark Vaz has broken the official Guinness World Record for most marathons run on consecutive days – previously 52 – and he now hopes to smash the record for most marathons run in one year, which currenly sits at 239. He hopes to run 400 by running more than one marathon on some days.
The Englishman has been doing all this while still working as a window cleaner. We spoke to the marathon man to find out why he decided to take up the challenge.
So first off, how did it feel to finish your 90th Marathon?
After the MBNA Chester Marathon I was really, really emotional, the last two miles in particular, as it was coming to an end. 90 marathons in 90 days was the goal, but I’ve kept going to reach 100 marathons in 100 days.
But you’ve decided to keep on running to break another record?
I've kept on running and my plan is to run 400 marathons in a year. At the moment I'm running from Stafford to London. That's 140 miles (225km) in three days. Yesterday I ran 70 miles (112km), and today I'll run 53. It's not a huge amount of miles, but it's a good slog. The 70 miles was difficult, not so much physically but mentally. Around mile 50 I took a tantrum, it was really difficult.
Finishing the 90th marathon was emotional
That’s quite a challenge. Why are you doing this, and why was 90 the initial goal?
I decided to take up the challenge to raise money for two charities – Tommy's The Baby Charity and Katharine House Hospice. The idea to run 90 came into my head as I wanted to raise £90,000. Pregnancy also lasts nine months, so the nine connection, and I also really wanted to see what my body could cope with. I never doubted I would complete the challenge, when I decide to do something I will do it – I just keep going.
I never doubted I would complete the challenge – I just keep going.
– Mark Vaz
Did you have much experience of running before this?
I've run since I was young, and realised early on that I was good at distances. I hadn't done an official marathon before, but had regularly run 20 miles (32km) on my own. My previous marathon time was 4.5 hours but my quickest time in this challenge happened on day 60 – 2h 56m.
How did you train for the challenge?
I trained for eight months before the challenge started by running and going to the gym. I lifted weights in the gym to strengthen my muscles and bones. I also didn't overdo it. I would run maybe 18 miles (28km) then have a day off, the key was consistency and balance.
What have been the toughest and best parts?
The challenge was most difficult at the beginning. On the evening after day three I had terrible pins and needles in the back of my legs, I was in so much pain. But it was my body adapting to the increased mileage; it's getting so much easier.
Have you had to eat a lot more to cope with all the mileage you're covering?
I've been drinking lots of milk, eating pasta, fish, fruit, vegetables – all the healthy stuff. I've eaten a few bits of junk food, but mainly to get my calories up. I've had to eat a lot more than usual!
My body is adapting to the challenge!
– Mark Vaz
Of course we have to know, how many pairs of trainers have you gone through?
I've gone through 14 pairs of trainers so far, but have been sponsored by New Balance, who send me new pairs. That's been a real help.
And will we see you in the Guinness Book of Records?
Guinness knows about the record and I will send away all my times when I have finally finished.