Teacher set to run 20 marathons in 2020 despite pandemic

PUBLISHED: 13:24 24 March 2020 | UPDATED: 13:25 24 March 2020

Paul Conlon. Photo: CONTRIBUTED.

Paul Conlon. Photo: CONTRIBUTED.


A teacher in Stansted is planning to run 20 marathons in 2020 – and is determined to not let the coronavirus pandemic hold him back.

Paul Conlon with Forest Hall School students who ran around the field with him. Photo: CONTRIBUTED.Paul Conlon with Forest Hall School students who ran around the field with him. Photo: CONTRIBUTED.

Paul Conlon, head of year 11 at Forest Hall School in Stansted, has already completed four marathons this year, and is planning 16 more, including the London to Brighton 100k two-day challenge.

While the coronavirus is resulting in major events being cancelled, Mr Conlon is hoping to keep up the stick to his personal challenge by taking part in local marathons and running the distance on local routes.

The most recent event he participated in involved completing 60 laps of the school field, with four year 11 students supporting him by each running a half marathon.

He also plans to take on two marathons in one weekend in July.

Paul Conlon. Photo: CONTRIBUTED.Paul Conlon. Photo: CONTRIBUTED.

Mr Conlon said: “I took up running a few years ago, starting with my local Park Run in East London. I increased my distances and completed my first marathon in Brighton in April last year.

“Towards the end of last year, I was looking for a challenge for 2020 and in my head, 20 marathons in 2020 sounded great, so I set myself the goal!

“Each marathon has different challenges, but the biggest one is the mental determination to complete the distance; I have to psych myself up each time. While running, I also need to keep telling myself ‘I can do this’ and that quitting is not an option. Physically, I am sore for a few days, but it reminds me of what I have achieved and, thankfully, the aches and pains don’t last too long.”

Mr Conlon has so far this year completed marathons around Forest Hall School in four hours and 33 minutes, in Cambridge in four hours and 47 minutes, in Milton Keynes in four hours and eight minutes and Deal in Kent in four hours and 35 minutes.

He is raising money for St Clare Hospice in Essex, whose staff, he says, offer ‘invaluable care’ to those affected by conditions which can ‘affect anyone directly or indirectly’. To follow Mr Conlon’s progress or to donate, please visit his fundraising page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/paul-conlon8.

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