Ramsgate runner to take on his 100th marathon – with cake included

Mark Foster hopes to complete his 100th marathon tomorrow

Most people spend their weekends either tidying the house, doing the DIY, tending to the gardening or walking the dogs.  But one Ramsgate man will be doing something a little more energetic this Sunday  when he runs his 100th marathon.

Mark Foster, 55, from Ramsgate, is a member of  running and athletics club, Thanet Roadrunners AC and will be taking part in an unusual event called the Cakeathon Challenge on Sunday(October 22).

The event, organised by Saxons, Vikings and Normans Events and held at Betteshanger Country Park, near Deal, is a cake themed run involving 4.37-mile laps…as well as eating as much cake as you like.

The only rule is that there is a 6-hour time limit for the event. Mark will be supported by friends, family and fellow club members as he undertakes the final leg of his epic running journey.

On the running circuit

Mark and his wife Sharon have been with the club since they moved to Thanet from Bexley 14 years ago in 2003.  He started running in 1999 and completed his first ever race, a 10k event at Greenwich Park a year later.

He said, ‘I just wanted to see if I could complete one marathon.’  However, the experience of London had him hooked on marathon running and he wanted to do more.

Mark and Sharon have been a permanent fixture on the running circuit, not only helping out at Thanet Roadrunners events but also Kent Cross County, charity runs and Challenge Hub and Saxon, Viking and Normans Ultra running events.  They have both given up an enormous amount of hours in the behind the scenes activities of these races with enthusiasm and positive, happy attitudes.

Mark has also been the club’s chairman for three years and is currently a run leader and coach. taking a weekly training session on the road and track.He is always ready to offer advice and provides training plans for many runners at the club.

‘Achievement’

Mark said: “I love the sense of achievement.  I also love the camaraderie amongst all the other runners.  It’s us against the distance rather than running against competitors. Even now I am nervous at the start.  It’s a long way, 26.2 miles and so much can go wrong.’

Mark said running highlights included a marathon overseas. He said: “I loved London in the early days before it became too crowded.  My favourite marathon of all time would have to be the Swiss Alpine Marathon in Davos.

“There was incredible scenery and dealing with altitude along with the distance.  Even though it was summertime, we went high enough to see the snow.”

Being hydrated is essential to be successful. Mark said: “I always ensure I’m hydrated and drink electrolyte drinks in the preceding days. In the early days, I made my own by mixing 50/50 orange juice with water and added two teaspoons of salt. It tasted horrible but did the job.

“Nowadays I buy the readymade drinks or tabs to dissolve in water which does the job and tastes ok.”

Ultra-marathons

Mark has also moved onto the more difficult ultramarathon running which, to the uninitiated, is running anything above 30 miles.

He said: “I’ve been lucky to take part in several ultras including quite a few LDWA events where you just turn up, get given a route card and have to find your way around.

“I completed the across Wales challenge running from just inside England at Anchor near Clun to Clarach Bay on the Welsh coast.  But my favourite ultra has to be UTA (Ultra Trail Australia) which was 100 kilometres through the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia.

“It kicked my butt in 2014 when the medical team withdrew me from the race at 89k.I went back in 2016 and ran with my daughter Sarah, both getting a finish.

“It’s a brutal race, prides itself on being Australia’s toughest 100k with ridiculous amounts of elevation gains but runs through outstanding scenery.”

Completing 100

Mark says he has been helped in his 100 marathon, and numerous ultra-marathon, journey by wife Sharon and running buddies and coaches.

He said: “I’m not sure how I will feel when I cross the finish line on Sunday, assuming I do!  I imagine it’s going to be quite emotional, but I don’t see this as an end goal.

“I have no specific plans finalised yet, but I’m sure 2018 will bring new running challenges and crazy ideas, watch this space!  But before that, I think I might have a few beers and eat some cake!

“I’m not sure how I will feel when I cross the finish line on Sunday, assuming I do!  I imagine it’s going to be quite emotional, but I don’t see this as an end goal.

“I have no specific plans finalised yet, but I’m sure 2018 will bring new running challenges and crazy ideas, watch this space!  But before that, I think I might have a few beers and eat some cake!”

Fabulous

Derek Sackett, President for Thanet Roadrunners AC, said: “Mark has worked so hard to get himself into this fabulous position of running so many marathons.  I and a lot of other friends and club members will be with him on Sunday to celebrate with him in his massive achievement.”

Everyone at Thanet Roadrunners AC wishes Mark every success on Sunday!

Report Ian Lockyer

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