There is something magical about 26 miles 385 yards say Rory Coleman who has done it 1000 times

In 1994 I had an epiphany, a real Road to Damascus moment. I was 31 at the time, and I clearly remember looking in the mirror one day and not liking the person staring back at me. I felt toxic – I didn’t want to smoke or drink anymore, and I wanted to lose some weight. I thought, runners are thin. Maybe if I go for a run that could speed up the process. I never set out to run 1,000 marathons or to coach people or run across the Sahara Desert. All I knew was on that day in 1994 I simply had to go for a jog. I ran 100 steps and I was flat out on the pavement. But I was totally euphoric because I’d found my therapy and the framework that I was going to hang the rest of my life on. I was totally ignorant of how to train. I went for my first run in my work clothes wearing leather shoes, jeans and a puffer jacket – it was at least a month before I bought any running shoes. There wasn't a lot of information about running, so I had to work things out for myself. The initial results were amazing. You lose weight quickly when your body is used to doing nothing. I exercised every day and within three months I’d done my first half marathon. It was my local one in Stratford-upon-Avon, UK. There’s something magical about 26 miles and 385 yards. The first marathon I ran in November 1994 was such an achievement. I wrote in my journal that it didn’t matter whatever else I did in running, no one could take the achievement of running that marathon away from me. I felt it was such a positive thing to do, all I wanted was to do it again. My next one was the 1995 London Marathon 56 days later and once I’d finished that I was hooked. Being in a field of 30,000 running around the Cutty Sark and Tower Bridge is such an iconic thing and had a real wow factor. I ran another one the week afterwards and I’ve been running one every week ever since. I’d think that if I didn’t do them, maybe I’d return to the old Rory Coleman who I didn’t like very much. If you can make your passion your career it’s a huge bonus. In 2008 I’d come to a career break: I’d spent 25 years in print and brand development and come to the end of wanting to work for someone else. I thought, well I’m always teaching people how to run, so why not become a personal trainer? Although it’s difficult to return to school when you’re 46, I went back and did my qualifications. What had real value though were my 20-plus years of running. I always say my Guinness World Records hanging up in the kitchen are my qualifications, they’re what allow me to teach other people. I’ve been there, done it and got thousands of t-shirts!

posted Tuesday July 10th