Marathon feat for Manuden runner

PUBLISHED: 06:35 27 July 2006 | UPDATED: 09:45 31 May 2010

Kevin Altria competes in Africa’s Ultra Marathon

Kevin Altria competes in Africa’s Ultra Marathon

MANUDEN S Kevin Altria has just completed one of the toughest tests of endurance known to man – the 55-mile Comrades Ultra Marathon in South Africa. The 45-year-old, of The Street, crossed the finish line in 10 hours and 40 minutes to fulfil a lifelong am

MANUDEN'S Kevin Altria has just completed one of the toughest tests of endurance known to man - the 55-mile Comrades Ultra Marathon in South Africa.

The 45-year-old, of The Street, crossed the finish line in 10 hours and 40 minutes to fulfil a lifelong ambition. He said: "This race was the ultimate running challenge for me and I had set my heart on doing it for some time.

"It was an exhilarating feeling as I crossed the line, having run that distance in such challenging conditions and extreme terrain.

"Temperatures reached 27 degrees centigrade and there was an extremely strenuous four mile section, which was completely uphill, so it was very tiring and took everything out of me.

"I was actually only one of 3000 out of the 12,000 entrants who completed the course, and it was fantastic to be presented with a bronze medal for completing it in less than 11 hours."

The annual Ultra Marathon, which starts in Durban at sea level and ends in Pietermaritzburg in the Drakensberg Mountains, is one of the biggest sporting events in South Africa. It is always held on the national holiday marking the end of apartheid, racial segregation.

"It is an absolutely massive event, which is televised across the country and has raised millions of pounds for charities in South Africa over the years," said Kevin.

"I had to complete a normal marathon in under four and a half hours in order to qualify for the race, and luckily I was able to achieve that feat in Rome back in March.

"Running has been a passion of mine ever since I started doing cross-country in my school days, and I have completed marathons in London, New York and Belfast, which all gave me great experience before my South African adventure.

"I put in hours and hours of training, covering hundreds of miles of road running, as well as doing the Halstead Marathon in May.

"It is very satisfying that my hard work and effort has paid off, and I am considering entering next year as well, mainly because the course will include a downhill, rather than an uphill section!"

Kevin is now turning his attention to organising and running in the Manuden Fun Run, which has three routes setting out from the Yew Tree Pub on Sunday, October 1 at 11am.

"It's not nearly as far, or as hilly, and it certainly shouldn't be as hot, but I know from experience that it's very enjoyable and less agonising," he said.

Entry is £9 for 5k and 10k runners who will receive t-shirts and medals and £2 for 1k runners.

All the money raised will go to the Motor Neurone Disease Association and Manuden Playing Fields Play Equipment Fund. For more details visit www.manuden.org.uk

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