Bill to clock up his 65th marathon

Tuesday, 13th February, 2018

Bill Arthur is running in his 23rd Australian Running Festival which will also mark his 65th marathon. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

WHEN Bill Arthur first started running in the early 1980s, he never intended to make it a passion.

But more than 30 years later he has competed in 64 marathons on every continent - including Antarctica.

The 67-year-old from Watson will run his 65th marathon when he takes part in the 23rd Australian Running Festival in Canberra in April.

He first started running to improve his fitness for sailing, but gradually running firmly took priority.

"The challenge of the distance and the mystique of the marathon really got me hooked," Mr Arthur said.

"It's an event that you never take lightly.

"If you do, it will come back and bite you."

He's had to come back from a number of injuries, including a serious bike crash in 2016 that saw him have surgery on his vertebrae.

He ran only one marathon last year after recovering from the crash, but this year hopes to run four.

Mr Arthur is already part of a small group of runners - dubbed "Griffins" - to have run 20 Canberra marathons.

He would love to one day make it into the even more exclusive club of runners who have run 30 Canberra marathons.

Mr Arthur said his training regime focuses on running three or four times a week - both for endurance and speed - and cycling on other days.

"At my age if being able to run personal best is long gone but I'd like to be able to go through the training process properly," he said.

But these days the focus of his running is on charity, helping raise funds for the Nusa Tenggara Association.

During World War II, Mr Arthur's father was trapped in a small village in West Timor where the community supported him and his comrades for 58 days.

He now has a strong personal mission to repay the community, this year hoping to raise money to buy water tanks.

Mr Arthur is asking people to pledge to donate $45 towards the tanks, in the hope to have enough money ot buy at least three.

Last year he raised $23,000 to purchase solar lights for the community, meaning farmers could continue on their agricultural work into the night while also keeping them away from any hazardous kerosine lamps.

As for his advice for any first time marathon runners:

Start slower than what you think you can run, because the last ten kilometres is where the real pain kicks in.

The Canberra Running Festival is on from April 14 to 15.

Canberra Times

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