Q Can you race hard more than once or twice per year?

Trent Morrow, 42, is the “the Marathon Man,” and with good reason. This year alone he has completed 93 marathons. In the past decade he has run 160 marathons and 11 ultra marathons. He is the only person to have completed a marathon in every state and territory in Australia and on both islands of New Zealand in 2011 and 2012. He has his sights set on breaking the world record for the most number of official marathons run in one calendar year (157). And he’s no slouch at clocking up the kilometres, either. He set his personal best of 3:46:26 at the Gold Coast Marathon this year.

Morrow’s journey started in 2008, when he decided to test himself in the Marathon des Sables, a 250km footrace across the Sahara Desert.

“I had been working around the clock in a stressful environment and was 23kg heavier than I am now,” recalls Morrow. “The Marathon des Sables was an opportunity for me to challenge myself in a totally self sufficient way in what is some of the most inhospitable conditions on the planet.” Soon Morrow was combining his love for travel with the achievement of completing the marathon. “The marathon is in many ways similar to the journey in life. There will be many good moments and a few low ones.”

To pursue his world marathon feat, Morrow resigned from his job and donned his superman suit. “This year is a tribute to my mum who passed away from colon cancer 20 years ago and more recently my step mum who also passed away from lung cancer earlier this year,” says Morrow. “The goal is to inspire others to take on a new challenge and to prove what is possible when you want it bad enough.” You can follow the Marathon Man’s world record journey at marathonman.com.au.

How He Gets Away With It:

Morrow admits he does get niggles but attributes his ability to continue running to doing the basics and listening to the right advice. “Having the right mindset plus a good approach to recovery and nutrition is critical in being able to successfully back up and continue day in day out,” says Morrow. He wears compression gear when travelling between events to help aid recovery and relies heavily on sports rubs and a Massage Stick to ease tight and achy muscles.


How to Bend (Not Break) The Rule:

Slow Down

You probably can run more than one or two marathons (or halfs) a year, but not if you want to run each of them faster than the previous one. If you run six or more distance events per year, expect a performance that’s about 10 per cent slower than what you’d run if you were doing fewer events. Plan ahead for races you want to run fast and the ones where you want to enjoy the scenery.


Take the Long View

Moreover, you should view the endeavour as a multiyear project. “You need to build up to this, like anything else in running,” says exercise physiologist Bob Otto, Ph.D. Ramp up one extra race per year. “You’ll know when you’ve hit your limit,” Otto says with a chuckle.


Double Up

Sign up for a multi-race event (10K on one day, half-marathon the next). Stick to distances you’ve raced before and practise back-to-back runs on weekends at least eight weeks before your event.


Baby Yourself

Recover well: Like Morrow, throw on the compression tights post-race. Run with a heart monitor to keep your pace in check, stretch, and use the Stick for a daily massage session.

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