Neil’s marathon effort lands him in record books

A WEST Hampstead runner has set what is believed to be a world record after completing 30 marathons in as many days. Neil O Maonaigh-Lennon, 27, crossed the final finishing line last Wednesday in his mammoth feat of endurance

Tan Parsons

A WEST Hampstead runner has set what is believed to be a world record after completing 30 marathons in as many days.

Neil O'Maonaigh-Lennon, 27, crossed the final finishing line last Wednesday in his mammoth feat of endurance which took him 1,566km around the entire coastline of Taiwan.

There is no official Guinness World Record for the most successive marathons, but it is believed the achievement may be unique.

"I achieved my aim of running a marathon every day for 30 days and, in the final three days, I ran extra so I could complete the journey around Taiwan before the end of April," said Mr O'Maonaigh-Lennon.

"It was such an adventure. The first 10 days were the most difficult but thankfully my body stayed injury free.

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"During last month, 16 guys ran their first marathon with me. I would like to thank everyone who supported me throughout the run with a special thanks to Alice Davis for all her hard work, measuring the distances and supporting with drinks along the route."

Mr O'Maonaigh-Lennon, who grew up in West Hampstead, said his inspiration came from Terry Fox, who had already lost a leg to cancer when he attempted a Marathon of Hope across Canada in 1980 to raise money for cancer research.

By following his hero's example, Mr O'Maonaigh-Lennon has so far raised about £2,000 for Cancer Research UK and the Taiwan Foundation for Rare Disorders.

His epic run was the finale of 18 months in Taiwan during which he taught English in a school and took his football team the Mighty Shane FC to the national league title in March.

"I have really enjoyed my time teaching in Taiwan and I'm delighted to have signed off with my marathon challenge.

"I'm looking forward to some cold beers," he said.

His father Pat, sports editor at the Ham&High, said: "I think it's an unbelievable achievement. To run one marathon takes a supreme amount of effort but 30 back-to-back is mind-boggling.

"He always said he wanted to leave Taiwan on a high note and he's certainly done that. I'm extremely proud of him and I just hope he's in one piece when he gets home."

People can still make donations by visiting www.marathonmad. com.

tan.parsons@hamhigh.co.uk

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