Australian marathon legend Bob Fickel will line up for his 252nd marathon at the Blacktown City Council – organised Westlink M7 Blacktown Running Festival on Sunday July 30.
Dubbed the “Flying Fickel” because of his fast finishes, the 65-year-old has run a whopping 10,591km since he started competing in marathons in the early 1980s.
“I’m a numbers man, it’s my hobby,” he said.
“Don’t tell my wife, but I’m aiming for 300 marathons.
“I’ll keep going as long as I can, until my body says no more.”
Mr Fickel is part of an elite group of five runners who will be competing in their 12th consecutive M7 Blacktown marathon since the event began in 2005.
He has run in almost every marathon organised by Blacktown City Council since 1981.
For 17 years he competed in the “Cities” Marathon from Sydney Town Hall to Blacktown until the event wound up in 2003 in favour of the Westlink M7 Blacktown Running Festival.
“I hold the record for the most M7 and Cities marathons – 29 in total,” he said.
“The organisation, camaraderie and everything about it is great.”
Mr Fickel has completed some of the most gruelling marathons both in Australia and overseas, but he counts the M7 Blacktown marathon as one of the toughest.
“It’s a very hilly course. My best time is four hours and 21 minutes.
“This year my aim is to finish in under five hours.
“I want to inspire people to run marathons, no matter what their age.”
Mayor of Blacktown City Stephen Bali also encouraged everyone to get involved.
“There is a race for everyone from professional athletes to families and kids just having a go,” he said.
“We have 2km walks for parents and little kids, 5km and 10km races, right up to the half marathon and marathon for elite runners.”
The event will start at the athletics centre at the Blacktown International Sportspark and will take in the Westlink M7 shared pathway.
Entrants include runners who have so far competed in all 11 running festivals and fully expect to finish their 12th this year.
“This says a lot about the popularity of the event,” said Mayor Bali.
“We will be doing something special to recognise their achievement.”
The marathon, half marathon and 10km race are all IAAF/AIMS Certified Accurate and the event is a member of AIMS (Association of International Marathons & Distance Races).
To register follow the link below: http://www.blacktown.nsw.gov.au/News_and_Events/Events/2017/July/2017_Westlink_M7_Blacktown_Running_Festival
Race day entries welcome.
Participants can register for the following races:
42.195km Westlink M7 Cities Marathon
Starting at 6:45am at Blacktown International Sportspark, Eastern Road, Rooty Hill
Cost $80.00 per person.
21.1km Westlink M7 Half Marathon
Starting at 7.15am at Blacktown International Sportspark, Eastern Road, Rooty Hill
Cost $60 per person. Must be 15 years and over to enter.
10km Westlink M7 Fun Run and Mayoral Walk
Starting at 7.40am at Blacktown International Sportspark, Eastern Road, Rooty Hill
Cost $40 per person.
Blacktown City 5km Fun Run and Mayoral Walk
Starting at 8.15am at Blacktown International Sportspark, Eastern Road, Rooty Hill
Cost $30 per person.
2km “Kid’s Marathon”
Starting at 7.30am at Blacktown International Sportspark, Eastern Road, Rooty Hill
Cost $15 per person.