At the age of 74, Warwick MBA graduate Phillip Howells has entered the history books by completing an incredible 300 marathons and achieving the UK’s 100 Marathon Club ‘Triple Crown’ award.
The story behind this incredible feat started over 40 years ago when Phillip set himself the aim of running two marathons whilst in his thirties. At the time, this felt like one goal he could cross off his bucket list. However, after a huge life change with the sad passing of his wife when he was 50, Phillip was unexpectedly persuaded to do ‘one more marathon to see how it felt’ for a friend’s ‘Miscarriage Association’ charity in the London Marathon. This got him hooked and gave him the running bug once again.
Since then, Phillip has continued to set himself challenges and push himself to the limit. After completing his 100th marathon at the legendary 56 miles Comrades Marathon in South Africa in 2010, Phillip considered whether he had reached a running high and thought about setting his sights on another adventure. But, having dedicated so much time and energy to running, he decided to keep going. Phillip said:
“It occurred to me that since I was still loving the camaraderie of the marathon fraternity and simply exulting in the ability to run long distances under my own steam over some fantastically varied terrain, that I probably still had maybe 15 years of endurance running in me up to around 75, by when I guessed I might have had enough. Unbidden, my mind popped up with the loopy notion of targeting 333 marathons at an average of 33 miles for a round and pleasingly symmetric 10,000 miles of marathon race running to round off my marathon career.”
Despite numerous setbacks along the way including a major back operation and being diagnosed with atrial fibrillation heart condition, Phillip has run an astonishing 9,192 miles during 100 road marathons, 100 trail marathons and 100 ultra-marathons. And he’s not stopping there! On his future plans, Phillip said:
“This is an unanticipated late-life psychological bonus and motivational driver that still keeps me going. And keep on I will; I’m already following plans to go on now to that still realistically remote 333 target. It is increasingly difficult, but I wouldn’t bet against it just yet.”