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Marathon GP Andrew Blair sets six cities target

Keen runner Andrew Blair set himself a tough marathon challenge to raise cash for charity.

Dr Blair, 53, a GP in Pontypridd, decided to take on the six ‘World Marathon Majors’ in one year, a total running distance of more than 157.3 miles.

He has already pounded the courses in Tokyo, Boston and London this year, clocking the respectable times of 2 hours 56 minutes, three hours 10, and three hours 18.

But a combination of extreme weather and short recovery time thwarted his ambition to run all six races in under three hours.

The next three marathon races in the exhausting schedule come in the autumn in Berlin, Chicago and New York.

“I ran the Tokyo marathon in February but Boston and London in April were six days apart,” he said.

“I had run nine marathons before, and once did two in one year, but I had never run two in one week and wasn’t sure how well I would recover.

Dr Blair with his marathon medals

“It was compounded by the fact that Boston and London were both run in extreme weather – Boston’s subzero temperature was the coldest for 30 years while London was the hottest.”

The Boston course also started 26 miles outside the city and runners faced rain and a biting headwind for most of the 26 miles 385 yards, he said.

“Boston was the worst conditions I have ever experienced in a marathon, with a sub-zero wind chill and I never really warmed up.

“When I got to London I worried what my time would be and it was half an hour slower than last year because of my legs.

“I didn’t know if it would be possible for me to run them all under three hours but it wasn’t helped by the weather.”

Now Dr Blair has a break until September when the racing begins again. He is aiming to raise more money for the Alzheimer’s Society and the Tear Fund.

Supporters can make donations on the charity web page

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=AndrewBlair4&pageUrl=1

Dr Blair has been running seriously for about 10 years and ran his first London Marathon in 2009.

“I am a reasonable runner which is why I wanted to set myself a challenge. I didn’t want to just turn up, I wanted to hit a competitive time.”

His best time for the marathon is two hours 48 minutes last year in London which placed him 23rd among the over 50s in the race. Dr Blair has been ranked top of the Welsh male over 50s marathon runners for the last two years.

“I think London is my favourite place to run a marathon because of the amazing support you get from people in the crowd – and you get run past great landmarks like the Cutty Sark, Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace.”

But he is looking forward to the new sights in Berlin, Chicago and New York after a well-earned breather.

“I am not sure what challenge I can set in the future. I will continue to run marathons and probably London next year.”