Monday, October 10, 2011
Gerry Forde to hit the 200 mark in the 2011 Dublin City Marathon...
Gerry Forde, a regular on the road race circuit in Cork has recently completed his 199th Marathon and is going to hit the 200 mark in the Dublin Marathon at the end of October.
Gerry started off his long career as a wheelchair athlete way back in 1992 and completed his first Marathon in Dublin of that year in a time of 3:17. His first Marathon outside of Ireland was in London. At that time, there were very few Marathons in Ireland so the numbers were climbing slowly. Gerry's fastest time for a Marathon came in Belfast in 1999 with a time of 2:54...and his 24th Marathon. At that time, he was training 6 days and 100 miles per week.
Number 27 came in Beijing in China while the halfway mark of 50 was reached in Taunton in Somerset in the south-west of England in 2002. While it took 10 years to notch up the first 50 Marathons, the 2nd 50 were notched up in just 4 years with the magic number 100 coming in the Connemara Ultra-Marathon in 2006...a mere 39.3 miles!
A lot of people would have been content to stop at this stage but not Gerry, he just kept going....and now 5 years later in 2011, he is on 199 Marathons and about break through the 200 barrier.
His list of completed Marathons have seen him travel the globe to 5 continents. Beside Marathons in Ireland and the UK, he has been to Finland, Egypt, Slovak Republic, Isle of Man, Poland, Spain, Turkey, Belgium, France, Sweden, Italy, Austria, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Canada, Australia, Malta, Hungary, Czech Republic, China, Portugal as well as several in the United States (New York, Boston, Nashville, Memphis, Arizona, Chicago and San Diego).
As well as competing in Marathons around the world, Gerry has also travelled all over Ireland and has taken part in road races in each one of the 32 counties. Needless to say, all of that training and the numerous races over the 19 or so years have taken their toll on the wheelchairs used. While most runners might fork out €100 for a new pair of shoes, replacing a racing wheelchair is an expensive affair. They are especially imported from the USA and with the special light weight materials used, each one can cost in the region of €3,000.
In terms of completed Marathons, I asked Gerry if there were any other wheelchair athletes with a similar number. As far as he knows, he has completed more Marathons than any other wheelchair athlete in the UK or Ireland. It would be interesting to know if anyone in mainland Europe has more?
So I asked Gerry one final question.......'After the Dublin City Marathon in October and your 200th Marathon, what's next?'
'300!!' declared Gerry.
It was a silly question
Postscript......Nov 2011......Just to confirm that Gerry did indeed complete his 200th Marathon in Dublin at the end of October and is now well on his way to 300 ;o)