Skechers Performance Milton Keynes Marathon is Sutherland’s 100th
Running a marathon is a pretty significant event for anyone, but Paul Sutherland has just completed his 100th marathon at the Skechers Performance Milton Keynes Marathon.
Of course, Sutherland’s story didn’t start with a marathon. In 1993 at the age of 26 he entered his first event, the Blackpool Prom 10k. “It felt like a long way,” he said. “I entered this as part of the plan to run a marathon. By the end I was exhausted and could not believe most of the running field was in front of me!”
Sutherland went on to run a half marathon in Nottingham later that year, and then decided that he would finish his running career with a marathon. “I trained hard all summer running up and down the hills of West Yorkshire for my first, and only, marathon in Nottingham. But then I fell off a pavement a few weeks before and twisted my knee. I ended up missing the Nottingham Marathon, but eight weeks later, and strapped up, I took on the Stevenage Marathon. It was wet, it was miserable and I had no idea what to expect. But 4 hours and 20 minutes later I plodded over the finish line soaked to the skin – never again!” Sutherland recounts.
Skip to 2009, and Sutherland started running properly again and ran the London 10km race in order to improve his fitness. But he still wasn’t thinking about running 100 marathons.
The seed of running 100 marathons was sown at the London Marathon Expo in 2012. “I was given my race number by someone from the 100 marathon club, I remember thinking, 100 marathons, how daft is that,” Sutherland says. “Back home later, that evening, I found myself on the 100 club website reading about people who had run hundreds of marathons, this is madness I thought. Of course that meant one thing, I was hooked into a crazy challenge of running 100 marathons as soon as possible. A feat I achieved at the Skechers Performance Milton Keynes Marathon.”
Sutherland specifically chose the Skechers Performance Milton Keynes Marathon as his 100th marathon as he lives in Milton Keynes and he runs with the David Lloyd Redway Runners. He also volunteered to pace the marathon at 4:45 pace in order to help others get round, get a PB and hopefully enjoy the experience, “It’s really rewarding to give something back,” Sutherland adds.
Race Director, Andy Hully, said, “It was great for the Milton Keynes Marathon team to be able to support Paul so he could do his 100th marathon in his home city of Milton Keynes. We arranged for him to have race number 100 in order to celebrate the occasion and we did special announcements at the start and finish so the other runners could help him celebrate.”
So what was it like running his 100th marathon in his home city? “Running round a modern city you don’t get all the sights but you do get great support. There’s lots more noise and shouts for you than in many other big city marathons.
After crossing the line to huge cheers from the supporters in the stadium Sutherland was presented with his award by the 100 Marathon Club. “It was great to get so much support from so many local runners, and other 100 Marathon Club runners who travelled to Milton Keynes for my 100th marathon, I was really humbled by the support. I was thrilled to get my marathon award in the stadium from the 100 club after all those marathons.”
Sutherland added, “Not all marathons are the same. Some great races are let down by poor organisation and ruin the experience for spectators, runners or both, Milton Keynes gets it right. It’s well organised, has a great stadium finish and good support even if it is a challenging little course. Hopefully I will be back pacing again in 2015.”
The Milton Keynes Marathon event is now established as a major date in Milton Keynes’ sporting calendar and the 2015 Milton Keynes Marathon will take place on Bank Holiday Monday 4th May 2015.
“We’re constantly working hard to make our race better each year,” said Race Director Mr Hully. “We’re already planning next year’s events so that’s there’s something for everyone including the marathon, half marathon, corporate relay and fun run. Entries to the 2015 event will be available soon.”
For Sutherland there have been lots of highlights on his two year adventure, as he describes it: Cape Wrath Marathon at the very top of the Highlands was a spectacular wilderness, the Flower of Suffolk Marathon was a coastal trail run through reed beds and along the coast line near Southwold, and his favourite big city European marathon is Munich.
And if he had to pick a favourite? “It has to be Sonderhasen, the deepest marathon in the world, down an ex-communist salt mine in East Germany. Crazy but fab!” said Sutherland.
“But I really loved the Milton Keynes Marathon medal as well!” he added.