Marathon man just loves to run

Marathon runner Rod Martinby Allira Preece

AT 65, marathon runner Rod Martin of West Haven continues to set a prime example for health and fitness in the region.

You’ve probably seen him running around various parts of the Camden Haven, training for his next escapade in the world of marathon madness.

And with numerous medals under his belt, Rod’s proven that he is not afraid to test the waters in becoming the best athlete he can be.

After competing in 35 marathons in over 25 years, he still has the thirst to participate in future races.

“I’m a born runner. I started when I was 40 and I’m now 65,” he said.

“I started by walking around the block and eventually the blocks got bigger – then I decided I wanted to run a marathon.

“I’m not a tri-athlete, I’m a straight runner and average 130 kilometres aweek now, but I used to run 250 kilometres a week,” he continued.

“In training I do a half marathon a day which is broken into two runs, morning and night.”

Rod completed his first marathon in Canberra in 1984 and said he’s been self taught and learnt from the mistakes made along the way.

“It was very tough but from then on, I upped the mileage and learnt a lot more.

“I won my section in the half marathon at the Gold Coast this year,” he added. Another recent achievement, saw him finish fifth in his division in the 2008 Sydney Morning Herald’s City 2 Surf where he ran 14 kilometres in 47 minutes.

“A rule of thumb for going in an event is for every kilometre of a race you want to compete in, you need to train for one week,” he said.

“So if City 2 Surf is 14 kilometres, you need to do 14 weeks training before hand.

“I can tell once I’m on the start line I know who I’ve got to beat,” he said.

“You’ve got to be lean, mean and hungry looking,” he laughed.

As a competitor Rod’s race history over the last two decades has seen significant results.

In 1988 he was presented with the Parramatta bicentennial medal for athlete of the year.

He also said that he came sixteenth in his division in the annual Sydney to Melbourne Westfield Ultra Marathon in 1990.

“Sydney to Melbourne was the hardest race I’ve ever run. It took me seven and a half days non-stop.

“The only time I’d come off the road were in the dead hours for a quick 20 minute massage and a bite to eat,” he said.

“I went through five pairs of running shoes. Once the shoes get too wet you’ve gotta change them because it causes blisters.”

Another goal was met when he came sixth place in his division in the annual Sydney to Wollongong marathon of 82 kilometres.

Following his success at 65, Rod was invited to run in South Africa in the Comrades Ultra Marathon, but due to business commitments he was unable to attend.

“I’d like to do an overseas marathon. Next year I am hoping to compete in Africa.”

He admits to having multiple sporting heroes and said he’s always been inspired by a book called ‘Running to the top’ about the life of marathon runner, Derek Clayton.

“You can’t change your natural way, people can tell you different things but you’ve got to run naturally. You don’t need expensive things, all you need is a good pair of shoes.

“It doesn’t take much to keep fit, but you’ve gotta put the time aside,” he continued.

“The hardest thing in running is putting your shoes on and going out the door because you can make up so many excuses.

“But i’ve never yet not finished a race. I run more half marathons then full marathons now. You’ve gotta finish with a smile on your face. If you don’t do that, you know you’ve done too much.”

Although he enjoys living in the Camden Haven, Roy wasn’t shy to admit he missed the competition in Sydney.

“We’ve lived here for three years, but I miss Parramatta because there’s no actual running clubs here.”

Rod’s wife Denise said she enjoyed going along to the marathons.

“I just sit back and watch,” she said with a smile.

“I get worried when he does a marathon but now with half marathons it’s heaps better. I’m really proud.”

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