A marathon runner completed a 36-year journey when he set a new world record for running 800 marathons — all under 200 minutes.
Steve Edwards is the first person to complete the milestone, with only 21 seconds to spare, at the Birmingham International Marathon.
He has attributed his success to his wife:
“My wife has been terrific, there’s not many people who would have put up with what I’ve done!”
Entered first marathon in 1981
After a tough run, he told Birmingham Eastside that he was feeling emotional at having hit another target on his road to 1000 marathons:
“I’m so immensely proud, it’s way beyond anything I’ve ever dreamed of. I didn’t realise how much it has inspired people, but the messages I’ve received from the running community and from social media have truly humbled me.”
The IT worker has raised more than £25,000 over the years, since entering his first marathon in 1981.
“It started when I saw a poster for the first ever Coventry Marathon back in 1981. I prepared in six weeks and did pretty much everything wrong!
“I kept setting myself targets, and then I was determined to become a part of the ‘100 Marathon club’. I did that in 1990, becoming the youngest person to do so, before repeating the feat and being the youngest to complete 200.”
😀😀 800 MARATHONS WORLD RECORD!! 😀😀First person to average sub 3:20 for 800 official marathon races! Thank you everyone for your support 😀 pic.twitter.com/mn7Lqd9cQF
— Steve Edwards (@TeamEdwards800) October 15, 2017
“Just finishing won’t do”
His competitive nature has spurred him on through the hundreds of marathons, and he revealed what gave him that final push:
“For me it has to be the times. Just finishing won’t do.
“The entire last quarter mile was uphill, and I was really up against it. I saw someone from the Great Run that I recognised and then all of a sudden they were announcing that there were 90 seconds left until 3 hours and 20 minutes!”
With 300 metres still to run, Edwards said the pain in his hamstrings washed away as he sailed past the line with 20 seconds to spare.
He has spent his weekdays preparing and his weekends competing for nearly 30 years, and after hitting 800 he has submitted his application to the Guinness Book of World Records, including copious records, footage and articles from his 36 years of marathon running.
“I was bullied quite a lot when I was younger. Running has been fantastic for me as a sport, it’s given me a lot of self-confidence.
“It’s important for me to send a message to others that you can achieve your goals. I’ve long learned to appreciate what the human body can do, and that culminated with the relief and excitement at the end of the run in Birmingham.”
For more on Steve Edwards’ story, you can read his book ‘Man inside the Machine‘.