GARY Wade is a man who loves to run.

And run and run and run . . .

So much so that this week he completed his 101st marathon.

And he's not stopped yet.

He has marathons at Windermere and in Edinburgh in his sights later this month.

Tesco employee Gary, 48, did his first marathon in Bolton in 1984. The 101st, on Bank Holiday Monday, was in Belfast.

In between he has clocked up some 2,650 miles in the races and thousands more in training.

Not bad for a man who found himself puffing and blowing after a game of five-a-side football with work colleagues some years ago.

"It brought home to me just how unfit I really was," said Gary, of Sycamore Rise, Wooldale.

"It was in the early 1980s when running was the big thing and everyone wanted to get out and try it.

"I went out training and entered the Bolton race and it went surprisingly well. A of people went into it blind, without really knowing what they were doing, but I prepared.

"I have never really done a lot of training, going out three or four times a week when I have a race coming up.

"There's certainly no such thing as a hard training regime in our house".

Gary shares his home with wife Sandra, his biggest supporter for the races. The couple have three daughters.

His biggest thrill has been to enter the New York Marathon three times. He relished the challenge of the race through the city's five boroughs, ending in Central Park.

He has enjoyed every race , even those where he has suffered on the run or in poor weather.

His best time has been 3 hours 11 minutes, but he usually aims to finish between three-and-a-half and four hours.

"I did Belfast in 3 hours 54 minutes.

"But I'm hoping to get better times now I've got the hang of it," he joked.

"I have made some great friends and got to see great places all over the world. It is an experience you can do without compromising your lifestyle."


* Greek soldier Pheidippides(pictured) ran from Marathon to Athens in Greece in 490BC with news of a great victory against the Persians. He then collapsed and died!

* The first sporting marathon was in the 1896 Olympic Games in Athens, the first modern Olympics.

* The oldest established race is the Boston Marathon, run every year since 1897.

* In 1908 the distance was cut to 26 miles, the distance from Windsor Castle to the White City Stadium in London.

* The 26.2-mile distance was officially recognised at the 1908 Paris Olympics

* Four hours seems to be the average time that fit joggers should expect to take to complete a marathon.