RUNNING one marathon is normally a pretty amazing feat, so running 10 in as many days is incredible.
But even that isn’t enough for David Bayley as he sets his sights on a fourth 10in10 challenge.
And you may be forgiven for thinking such an achievement comes after a lifetime of strict training regimes – but the 39-year-old from Milton Keynes only competed in his first marathon in 2005, when he tackled the 26.2 mile race in New York.
David explained: “I stumbled across an advert for the marathon and in it there was a competition to win a trip to the Big Apple to watch the race. Unfortunately I didn’t win the prize but I decided to enter the marathon anyway, as part of a birthday trip.
“I’d done a little preparation for the New York marathon but not a lot. But I was really taken back by how much I enjoyed it; I really didn’t think I would get that much of a buzz from completing the course.
“It was at that moment, when I crossed the line that I realised that I was hooked.”
Work had taken David from his home town Wolverhampton to Milton Keynes. So on his return from his first marathon, he joined MK Lakeside Runners where he began to pound the redways.
His new-found addiction saw him clocking up the miles over the world as he competed in the Paris, Florence, Amsterdam and Las Vegas marathons.
Since taking on the challenge in New York seven years ago, David has managed to complete an incredible 124 marathons.
And, as his body became hooked on endorphins, he started to look for his next big challenge. In 2009 he heard about arguably the greatest endurance run in the world – the Brathay 10in10.
Designed for dedicated endurance athletes, the Brathay 10in10 competitors complete a 26.2 mile marathon course around Lake Windermere, in Cumbria, ten times, over ten consecutive days. Governed by UK Athletics it is the first and only event of its kind in the world.
“I knew what I was letting myself in for in 2010 and as a result I completed the challenge in my quickest time,” David said. “Then last year I was all geared up to beat my personal best but I ruptured my medial collateral ligament. As a result I had to run very carefully just to complete the 10in10. Had it been a normal marathon I would have retired from the race but I couldn’t not complete a hat-trick of 10in10s.”
Now back to full fitness David is chomping at the bit and is eager to become only the second person in the world to officially complete four 10in10s.
If he makes it to the finishing line, on Sunday, May 20, he will join the much venerated Steve Edwards as the only two people alive to have completed the muscle sapping feat.
“If I do complete my fourth 10in10 I know that I’ll want to be the first person on the planet to complete five” explained David.
“Even I find it hard to believe how my life has changed. Although I still love football I follow all the great distance runners now.
“I’ve completed 124 marathons to date and if I complete this year’s 10in10 I’ll have done something that, in all probability, even my running heroes will never equal.
“And if I do match Steve’s world record I’ll be looking to beat it in 2013.”