16th Jun, 2019

Stratford grandad set to take on 500th marathon for final time

A GRANDAD is set to pull on his running shoes for the final time – to take on his 500th marathon.

Claverdon resident David Phillips will have ran more than 13,000 miles by the time he completes the Stratford marathon on Sunday April 28.

The 75-year-old set himself the challenge back in 1982 to run 500 marathons for the Brain and Spine Foundation. He began running in aid of the small charity after reading a newspaper appeal calling for supporters – and he has not stopped since.

He usually runs both the London and Stratford marathons, but as they both fall on the same day in 2019 he opted to call time at his home town event – one of his favourites, having missed only two in the marathon’s 38-year history. He once even ran it when it was cancelled due to bad weather saying he came ‘first and last’ on the leaderboard.

But Stratford this year will mark the end of an era for the chartered accountant – who still continues to work full time at his Kenilworth-based company Phillips and Becker.

To celebrate the milestone run he will be joined on the course by friends and his 35-year-old daughter Anna.

Dad-of-two David told the Observer: “It seems ages ago I started my quest, too long ago to remember.

“This year London and Stratford clash and as I’ve ran all but two of Stratford’s it’s a no brainer. I did my 100th and 300th in Stratford too.

“To celebrate afterwards we’ll be having a big party, especially because we’ll be celebrating reaching £125,000 raised for the Brain and Spine Foundation.

“I want to support this amazing charity and the work they do for people suffering from neurological conditions, brain tumours and associated conditions. They are only a small foundation and need all the help possible to carry out their goals.”

The charity says his support has made a huge impact to their work.

Chief executive Marc Smith told the Observer: “David is a phenomenal man – to run 500 marathons is staggering but to do so and raise £125,000 in order to help people affected by neurological conditions, that is seriously impressive. We are very grateful to have David as part of our charity family.”

David’s long relationship with running marathons began in 1982 when he made a bet to run the first ever Coventry marathon.

Five years later he signed up to the Massey Ferguson running club, which he previously captained and is still a member of.

Since then running has taken him all over the world, from the pyramids of Egypt to the skyscrapers of New York, but his favourite is a little closer to home, in Snowdon in North Wales, which he has ran 32 times.

His fund-raising has also led him to be invited to the Queen’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.

But after completing the Stratford marathon David plans to call time on 26 mile marathons.

He said: “This may well be my last marathon as it has been a non-stop effort since my first at Coventry in 1982, it just became a necessity for me. Since then I’ve done more than 350 half marathons too.

“Running is great, you meet wonderful people, and there’s no competition like in other sports.

“I would like to carry on doing short runs but the marathons are taking me twice as long now as they used to.

“But you never know, maybe people won’t have heard the last of me yet.”

Visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/TeamPhillips2019 to donate.

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