By Rick Patzold
My first memory of running was between the age of 10 and 13.
Mum had just been diagnosed with cervical cancer (1975) and I used to get home from School and just head out the door and run as my form of escape from witnessing the pain mum was in.
All this running saw me win the year 7 School Cross Country in 1977 but sadly mum couldn’t be there that day as she had just lost her mobility when she lost a leg to gangrene but seeing her enthusiasm that night, even in her darkest hour when I told her of my win meant that it would be my greatest running moment and the only run mum would ever know I’d completed.
You wouldn’t think that the 2nd World War (1940) some 77 years prior could have shaped my running journey for 2017 but that was exactly the case.
Both mum and dad were born in Germany in the midst of the War in 1943 and 1940 respectively.
My running nickname for over a decade is Destination_43 and I run marathons in honour of mum who died in 1978 (aged 35) when I was 13
I primarily run marathons because of mums year of birth (1943) and I believe that no pain in a marathon will ever be as bad as what I witnessed mum go through and in effect I’m now seeking that pain and instead of running away from mum as I did as a kid, I now believe she’s on my shoulder and running with me.
So with a marathon being 42.195km the way I’ve always looked at it is that I get to the 42km mark of every marathon and then I head off on the start of that 43rd kilometre but I never get there because mums not there.
This is why I stop at 42.195km and why I run marathons.
(266 marathons in total with that last emotional one coming at Western Sydney on the 2nd June 2018 and the 40th anniversary of mums death.)
Following dads suspicious death in late 2014 it made sense that I would honour both parents by running the Berlin Marathon (2016) in the country of their birth for the first time.
I requested mums date of birth 21/1/43 as my race number (#21143) forBerlin but the fact that 211 represented my 211th marathon that day and 43 (it was the 43rd running of the Berlin Marathon) meant it was the most emotional running experience of my life.
So where to in 2017 and with dad being born in that ‘War Year’ of 40, I set the bar high to run 40 marathons for the year and I achieved the goal on the 3rd anniversary of dads death on the 30/12/17 whilst wearing a huge 40 on my chest courtesy of the 40th Melbourne Marathon singlet that I received two months prior and the year was a success with a quickest marathon for 2017 of 3:28.02
My marathon journey will continue until the day I leave this planet and I’m proud to be one of only eight runners that has completed all 17 editions of the Blackmores Sydney Marathon and I suspect that number 50 will be reached in the year 2050 when I’m 85.
If I could give one piece of advice to a newby just starting out, I would say to look at running as a lifestyle and not as a chore and having not run my first marathon until I was aged 36 in 2001 > Well if you’ve run in more than one 10km race in your life > then you’ve run more than me.
Finally some future goals and challenges are always required to keep the motivation levels high and here they are ….
2018 – Attempt to run a Sub 3:30 marathon for the 17th consecutive year (only Australian to have done so)
2019 – Will endeavour to be the first Australian to have run 200 Sub 4hr marathons sometime during the year (currently at 187)
2020 – Having run my
100th Marathon at Gold Coast 2012
200th Marathon at Gold Coast 2016
a big day is planned for number
300 at Gold Coast on 5/7/2020
Having had a taste of overseas running in Berlin I would love to run all of the Six World Major Marathons but sadly that may never happen as monetary considerations come to the fore when you love running marathons as much as I do.