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Sad loss fuels man’s bid for 50 marathons

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An Aussie who fell in love with running marathons after he needed something to get his mind off of a family tragedy, has now set a lofty goal to run 50 marathons.

Ben Lucas, owner and director of Flow Athletic in Paddington, NSW, ran his first marathon on the Gold Coast in 2007. His mother had recently died and he needed somewhere to channel the emotion and energy felt in the wake of his loss.

He’d never been much of a runner but after finishing the 42.2km marathon he said he was “left with an interesting feeling”.

“I’ve never felt such a wave of emotions. One kilometre, I felt absolute ecstasy but the next kilometre I felt like I was going to bawl my eyes out,” Ben told news.com.au.

“So it was just such an interesting place to be. I guess my mind didn’t know what to do because my body had never been there before.”

He said he found running quite meditative and it was more for his mental health than his physical health. Ben said he loved the fresh air and being able to have the time to think.

“I was brought up in team sports all my life – you know, rugby league, basketball, rugby union – and you think running is a solo sport, but it’s actually not,” he said.

”It’s probably one of the best community builders I’ve ever been a part of.”

Ben has run 43 marathons since that first one in 2007. He said his training has changed astronomically in that time.

“For my first one, I had no idea. I would just run at the same pace and distance,” he said.

“Now it’s more clean and thorough, so for instance I have days where I do long, slow runs to keep my heart rate in certain ranges. Another day will be a sprint day, and one will be a rest day.”

He said he has to take his rest days seriously as its been 18 years since he began his running journey. Ben also does two strength training sessions a week for performance and injury prevention.

During his running career he has only have one major injury – a torn medial meniscus which required surgery in September. But, in January, he was already back at it with the Cadbury Hobart Marathon.

In April, he will be running his first London Marathon, putting it up there in terms of experiences with the New York Marathon, which he has run five times, and the Great Wall of China.

He has a handful of goals when it comes to his running, such as hitting 50 marathons. He also wants to run a sub three-hour marathon, which is the gold standard for a punter professional runner.

But, Ben’s biggest goal is to run a marathon with his son Oliver, 7, who told his dad he wanted to run with him. He says he wants to stay fit and healthy so they can achieve that together.

Running has become incredibly popular, with influencer Riley Hemson trying her hand at it to people using run clubs instead of dating sites.

Ben said there are two things people need to know when it comes to running.

“Every day you leave it, it gets harder to get the ball rolling, so just go for five or 10 minutes. Go for a walk. Just get out there,” he said.

“Another thing is running is just absolutely huge in Australia right now and there are so many run clubs out there.

“Every single suburb in the country has multiple run clubs, which is great. They’re so friendly, so welcoming. The majority at no cost as well.”

He also said the more people get around running, the more likely the Sydney marathon would be on par with places such as London, Tokyo, Berlin and New York.