A Marathon a Day Keeps the Asthma Away: For a Full Year

Feb 8, 2011
Jenny Inglee is a Los Angeles-based journalist and the Education Editor at TakePart.

Forty-nine-year-old Stefaan Engels just wrapped up a year of running one marathon every day for 365 days.

'Yes! I haven't passed out yet!' (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

The aptly, if not imaginatively, nicknamed "Marathon Man" suffered from childhood asthma, and doctors had warned him to steer clear of athletic activity. Those medical specialists must surely have been disappointed when Engels found a passion for running in his 20s.

In both 2007 and 2008, the enduring Belgian completed 20 Ironman Triathlons—breaking a world record.

His 365 days of uninterrrupted long-distance intrepidity has established a world record for most marathons in a year—a mark that is unlikely to be matched unless some obsessive-compulsive athelete starts doing two-a-days.

The previous record was held by 65-year-old Japanese runner Akinori Kusuda who ran 52 consecutive marathons in 2009.

Engels hopes his 26.2-mile jaunts will motivate others to become more active in their daily lives.

He told the Associated Press:

After running 20 triathlons in one year, I was not ready to go back to normal life. I also wanted to inspire people by showing that if I could run a marathon a day for an entire year, that anyone could run or bike a little each day or do something about their weight problem.

Engels admitted that many times he thought he wouldn't finish. The key was to keep a slow pace and only think about the race that was taking place that day.

His plan for the next year is to write a book, coach and give lectures. "It is time to give my body a rest," he said.

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