Age 40, weighing 14 stone and lazy, Phil had to make a change.
Asked how the first run went Phil replies,“Not very well, it lasted 15 minutes and I collapsed on the sofa with a pint of cider to ease the pain!”
Despite feeling it was game over on his first jog around the block, Phil persevered and 13 years later he has completed a staggering 40 marathons and his next is just 10 days away in the party capital of Ibiza.
Phil is one of our NERAK field engineers and he explains he wasn’t into exercising when he started but soon became hooked. “I was working at Sony’s in Pencoead and one of the boys was training to do a 5k run, I got dragged into it didn’t I and once we’d done it, they wanted to carry on.”
Phil didn’t mind though, “well we’ve started so why stop.”
Next it was the Cardiff half marathon, only another 16 kilometres to add to his first 5k …Then onto the Edinburgh full marathon 42 kilometres or 26.2 miles which he completed in only 4 hours and 10 minutes.
I asked how long it was from that first jog to his first marathon, “about a year and a half” Phil says very nonchalantly while I remove the shocked look off my face and think of the years I’ve been fighting myself to get out of the door to do a mini 5 miler.
“I felt much fitter and I had lost about two stone. I’d made the lifestyle change I had been aiming at, finally.”
Once Phil had done the Edinburgh marathon he decided he wanted to tick off the Dublin, London and Cardiff ones too and when Phil decides he is doing something, he just goes ahead and does it.
It wasn’t until Phil went to run in a marathon in Stratford upon Avon that he thought about running abroad. “I was really disappointed because it got down sized to half the distance, because of poor weather.” He felt his training had gone to waste so he vowed to avoid the British climate from then on and looked to Europe for options.
Over the years he has run in Paris, Barcelona, Milan and Vienna….and just how does he get away with going on all these trips? He takes his family with him of course….
Wherever there’s a marathon, there’s a holiday. “My wife will be sunning herself with my son and daughter while I’m doing my Mo Farrah impressions, then the next day she takes us all for a walk up a mountain to stretch out my muscles. They call it love…”
I asked Phil what his wife thinks about it all? “In the beginning she was really enthusiastic about everything but now she just says get on with it!”
A selection of Phil’s European medals
It seems that running really is in Phil’s genes as his 19 year old son has the bug too. “He’s got younger legs than me so after he finishes an event he goes straight out clubbing.”
They completed their first Snowdonia marathon together last year which was a very proud moment for Phil and he will be joining him again for his Ibiza challenge.
Phil now trains between four and five days a week on a one on, one off rotation doing an intensive hour long session Monday to Friday then a Saturday ‘park run’ in Porthcawl where he races his own time in a three kilometre circuit. He says the secret to his success is the fell running he does with his running club which he absolutely loves.
“I suppose I’ll have a bit of a break now before Ibiza, I’ve got one 19 mile run this Sunday then I’ll wind it right down to rest my body.”
Does Phil ever really slow down? “Not really, I don’t have the time, when I’m not training I’m Dad’s taxi for the kids, I might ease off after my fiftieth marathon though…. we’ll have to see.”
As Phil leans back in his chair laughing I think to myself, if this man did Iron Man as a 50th birthday present to himself, I have got some serious work to do and maybe my 15 minute jog followed by a cider is just around the corner….