Citizen Smith makes history
Tuesday, 25 February 2014
NEWRY City Runners' Sean Smith made history on Sunday morning when he became the first Irish runner to complete all six marathon majors, writes Conor Sweeney.
There were originally five majors - Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York, but in 2013 the IAAF added Tokyo to the list and Sean had to add this one to his achievements.
The marathon majors are a championship style competition for marathon runners that started back in 2006. Each marathon competitor gets points for a top five place and these combine to make up a leaderboard. Sean began his major adventure back in 2010 and has run one or two majors each year.
Tokyo is an interesting place to visit. The flight alone is around 20 hours - bad enough preparation for a marathon, but even worse for Smith who doesn't like flying. It can be a bit daunting when you first arrive in Narita airport just outside the city.
In Boston, London, Chicago and New York all the signs are in English and it's easy enough to get around. Not so in Tokyo - it can be difficult enough trying to decipher symbols and to arrange the 30-mile train journey into the city.
However, Newry's intrepid traveller wasn't put off, found his hotel, got a good night's rest and made it to the start line with no issues. And that's an achievement in itself!
And what a time for the race- 3 hours 20 minutes for the route, which actually measured 26.6 miles instead of the 26.2 miles according to Smith's Garmin sat nav tracker.
But think of this - not only has Sean managed the physical effort of completing six marathons - in the process he has raised over £30,000 for the Southern Area Hospice. And that deserves a medal in itself.
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