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Running 52 marathons in 52 weeks by Rob

Running 52 marathons in 52 weeks by Rob

We caught up with Rob, just before he flew out to Lanzarote to take part in his latest marathon, to find out why he set himself such a big challenge!

You’re aiming to complete 52 marathons in 52 weeks. Why did you decide to take on this challenge?

I decided to take on the challenge middle of November 2019 as I looked through my yearly figures and I was going to finish the year on 47 marathons. So I built up the courage and said to my wife and she agreed to finish the calendar year on 52

How easy was it planning your running calendar for the full year?

It has been very easy planning, when you go to different events you bump into so many regular faces and you tell each other about different events. There are also plenty off web sites/facebook to help find events too. 

How did you choose which events to take part in? Favourite? Least favourite so far?!

A lot off time its down to the location and the medal. The closer the event, the better it is for me as I can get home and carry on being a husband/dad.

All my events have been my favourite as they take on personal challenges. Some days you have bad runs, or the weather isn’t on your side, but for me they are just another challenge that day. I've always had a mindset of, if you have a bad run - find one small positive and keep hold off it for that run and it will keep you going.

Who has been running/supporting with you on your challenge?

There have been many people I run with throughout the year at different events. I have done many events with The Great Barrow challenge ambassador Charlie who has her own personal challenges, I also ran a lot events with a man called Nick Nicholson who is chasing world records (i.e 1000 marathons in 4 years).


When you’re at events you support each other as you all are going through same things and same challenges and everyone helps each other, even the quick people like Adam Holland... he finishes a marathon in sub 3 and still cheers everyone on.

What was your running background before you took on this challenge?

I started running 20th February 2017 and I completed my first marathon on 8th July 2017 and since then I've completed:

2017- 7 Marathons

2018 – 22 Marathons

2019 – (to date) 44 marathons.

You could say I jumped straight in the deep end and haven’t looked back since.

My first event was with Paras 10 in Colchester then the following month I did my first 10k race as the month after I already had my marathon booked in. To date I’ve still haven’t done a half marathon race.

5k - 1 (with my daughter)
Parkrun – 2
10k – 3
Paras 10 X 2
Half – 0
18 miler - 1

Full marathons/ultras – 73 (2 off them are 50k and 1X 42 miles)

How have you found it keeping up this level of running? Have your times varied much?

At times it's been difficult depending how many I’m doing or multi days events like 10 marathons in 10 days in the summer.

All my times varied as I’m still new to running, I’ve always been a bit slow at running so this year I wanted to work on my times and get a sub 5 marathon, but it's hard to work on it when your continuing running, recovering or even doing double marathon or a triple marathon. I some how got my time down to 4h 13m. Yesterday's marathon I got 4h 36m and the second half was a lot quicker than the first which was my 3rd quickest marathon. I’ve had 6 sub 5 this year.

My slowest marathon is 7 hours with over 5000ft Elev gain (living in Suffolk we can’t train for this) with a event called “How Hard Can It Be” (Great event)

My fastest is 4h 13m at Snetterton racetrack. 

Which event do you have planned for number 52?

I will be doing my 52in52 at The Great Barrow Challenge (now known as Suffolk Running Centre) on day 3 of the triple marathon and it will also be a series finisher... They are doing 17 marathons this year for the series but all of them are multi day’s events.

Double – Easter

10in10 – Summer

Double – Autumn

Triple- Winter

It is my local one and I’m also the course director.

What was your goal for 2019?

I had 3 goals this year..

1: Get to 50 marathons by day 10 of The GBC (2 years since my first)

2: do 10in10 marathons quicker this year than last by knocking off 04:15:35

3: to get a sub 5 marathon

Since the has year got on, I’ve had more goals to try

1: get a sub 2 on a half why in marathon (as I’ve never done a half marathon event)

2; get a sub 4:30

3; 100 marathons by July 2020 (set on last day 10in10 2019)

What do you have in store for 2020?

2020 goal is to get to my 100th marathon before July so it be just under 3 years since my first marathon.

  • Get a sub 4 marathon
  • Try more ultra marathon
  • 50 miler
  • 100k
  • 100 miles


Good luck to Rob for the rest of his challenge and we'll be following him with interest to see how he gets on!

You can follow Rob on Twitter via RobertMarshall9

Team runr.

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