Terry Poole of Thornton Cleveleys Running Club joins elite world group after 300th marathon
Fleetwood runner Terry Poole has joined the elite worldwide group of athletes who have completed 300 marathons.
The Thornton Cleveleys Running Club member has reached the milestone at the age of 62, having run 21 marathons in consecutive days last month.
Manchester-born Terry, who only took up running nine years ago to lose some weight, is one of around 600 athletes to have reached 300, including more than 100 ultra-marathons – races longer than the traditional 26-mile marathon distance.
Terry takes up his incredible story: “I’d stopped playing Sunday football at 50 and had put on two-and-a-half stone by 2012, so I thought I needed to do something.
“I did a Fylde Coast Running 10k event in Blackpool and it grew from there. I started doing half-marathons and, by the end of 2012, I’d done my first marathons in Liverpool and Preston.
“I didn’t join a running club at first because I thought you had to be of a certain standard, but when I was doing a Blackpool to Fleetwood 10-mile race I overtook a guy in a Thornton Cleveleys vest. That made me think I wouldn’t be the slowest in the club, so I joined.
“I did nine more marathons in 2013 and a guy at TCRC called Brian Cumpstey told me about UK Athletics’ 100 Marathon Club – that sowed the seed and I did 29 more in 2014 as I set my sights on 100.”
Another incentive was to record faster times and these improved steadily too.
He said: “I ran 3hrs, 35mins at the Loch Ness Marathon, then had a personal best of 3:31.56 at the Yorkshire Marathon. I wanted to break 3:30 but then I suffered a trapped sciatic nerve.
“That was a setback but I got back to running and hit the 100 mark in 2017.
“It was great to join the 100 Marathon Club because more people have climbed Everest than have run 100.
“Most of those who do reach 100 then stop and very few go on to 200 but I was determined to keep going.”
Terry hit that next target at a 50k ultra-marathon in November 2018 and it seemed nothing could slow him down – until the pandemic struck and he was stuck on 277.
He managed one marathon between March of 2020 and last month, when the chance to surge towards 300 arose.
He explains: “There was an event they called ‘21 in 21 in 21’ – 21 marathons in 21 days in 2021 – on different courses on footpaths along the River Thames.
“That was great but it left me on 299, so I went back a few weeks ago and did my 300th, in Surrey and 301st on my 40th wedding anniversary.”
It means Terry, who has lived on Fleetwood Road with wife Barbara for more than 20 years, now holds a place on the coveted ‘World List’.
He said: “The list of runners who have completed 300 marathons is compiled in Japan, and twice every year, UK Athletics inform them of any additions from this country. There were two added last year.”
It’s an exclusive group and Terry is grateful for the support of his family and employers in helping him to maintain a gruelling schedule.
Terry, who used to run his own jewellery business, added: “I finish work at 10pm, so on a Friday night I’ll get home, have a meal, load the car and set off at 1am for a race on the Saturday.
“Then I’ll stay at a hotel before another race on Sunday. There’s very little time for sleep.”
Despite ticking off another milestone, Terry insists his race is far from run, saying: “I can still do road marathons inside four hours, though trail events take four to five. I’ve been first in my age group in the Isle of Man Marathon and in Preston and Rhyl.
“A guy I run with named Martin Bush has run 1,100. I started late and I won’t reach a number like that but I’ll hopefully head towards 400 and I haven’t given up on 500.”
He will have one weekend off next month, though, for his grandson’s wedding in St Andrews.
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