St Albans pensioner runs 455th marathon on goal to complete 500

PUBLISHED: 12:00 24 June 2018

Jack Brooks running a marathon. (Picture: Rodney Beckford)

Jack Brooks running a marathon. (Picture: Rodney Beckford)

Sussex Sport 2018

A 66-year-old St Albans man has just completed his 455th marathon by taking part in a 50k race in Northamptonshire.

Jack Brooks, a retired chartered surveyor, took up running at the age of 39 after promising to accompany a friend in a half-marathon. He is now a member of Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre in St Albans, and trains there three times a week to support his running.

His most recent 50k ‘ultra race’ took place near Kettering, Northamptonshire on Saturday, June 9, and he currently tries to run between 20 and 30 marathons or ultra-marathons a year. He has run marathons in 38 different countries and in all 50 states of America, and his next challenge is to complete a marathon in all provinces and territories of Canada, making him the first person from the UK to complete both.

Every week, on top of his three gym sessions. Jack runs between 40 and 50 miles, either solo or with his two running clubs - St Albans Striders and 100 Marathon Club UK.

He said: “Running is about enjoying life and gives me the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the world and appreciate its every detail.
“I enjoy the challenge, the achievement of finishing each run and the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals. I love every element of running and find it difficult to see myself doing anything else.”

Jack looks for variety in his marathons, and ran one race in the Netherlands which involved running laps through an operational pub. His personal best for completing a marathon is three hours and 12 minutes, but he now runs purely for pleasure and completes each race between four hours and 10 minutes and four hours 50 minutes. He has set himself the goal of completing 500 marathons.

Lesley Garner, manager of Everyone Active which runs Westminster Lodge, said: “Quite often when people retire they take it as an opportunity to slow down in life. This is not the case for Jack who is a shining example to both young and old who visit the centre that anything is possible with enough hard work and dedication.

“Over the past seven years Jack has become part of the community here at Westminster Lodge and we all wish him well as he aims to reach his goal of 500 marathons.”

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Recently we, as a family (minus two of the kids), visited The Lodge RSPB reserve in Sandy, Bedfordshire. I had never been before, which is perhaps amiss of me as a birdwatcher as it is the headquarters of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds or RSPB and only 45 minutes drive from home.

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