By the time Jackie Doherty reaches the finish line of his 50th marathon on June 5th, he’ll have covered 1,310 miles on the road.
That’s the equivalent of him running from Derry to Milan. Not bad for a man who is used to clocking up the miles up and down the M2 to Belfast as a driver with local company Airporter.
Father of two Jackie is now counting down the days to his golden moment in Derry in six weeks’ time.
Not only will he collect his 50th official marathon medal, but as Jackie has just recently turned 50 himself, it’ll be a double celebration.
“What can I say other than I love running,” Jackie told the ‘Journal’ “I’m glad that I’ll be hitting this milestone in Derry.”
The Derry man is currently on 48 marathons, the 49th will be run in Belfast and the big one in Derry on June 5.
“Last year my wife June took me to Las Vegas for my birthday,” he said. “As we were looking up the website an ad flashed up for the Las Vegas Marathon.
“I said to my wife, I could do that couldn’t I? Seven weeks later I found myself running through the strip and in the desert in Las Vegas.”
Since the Foyle Valley runner took up running just eleven years ago at the age of 39, he’s gone on to conquer Luton, London, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Belfast, Longford, Nottingham and of course, the Derry marathon.
His best time was a sensational two hours 58 minutes in London, but for Jackie, time is irrelevant.
“You have to have complete respect for anyone that competes in a marathon and puts the work in,” he said. “To complete the 26.2 miles is such an achievement and you have to admire the people who do it. I’m 50 now and at the stage where I’m just out there enjoying running and the buzz.
“One piece of advice I give is that when you are running you have to do your own thing and what is right for you. And try and eat the right things. Drink water but not too much.
“I’m lucky in that I’ve never hit the wall when running. My first five miles are my hardest but after that I find my rhythm. From the first mile to the 26.2, the atmosphere is amazing and you have so many people cheering you on.
“At the Walled City Marathon people talk about Fahan Street hill and when you get there the buzz of the crowd is unbelievable, there are so many people calling your name.
“Running with other people is what makes it.
“I run with other club members and we keep each other going.
“I’m lucky that I haven’t really got any bad injuries but I remember running my first marathon injured.
“But when I take that first step I don’t feel any pain. I just feel the noise and the shouting.”
As he approaches his half century of marathons Jackie, thanked his greatest supporter, his wife June, who has been at the finish line for every one of his marathons.
“June loves the buzz,” she says, “and it’s great having her at the finish line.”
Jackie’s tips for surviving
the walled city marathon
Jackie says his strategy for running is eating and looking after your body. He says that running does take its toll on the knees and joints and advises runners to train on both the road and the grass. ‘Run you own race and enjoy every moment of it. And there will be no better feeling than when they put that medal around your neck.’
Just a few places are left for this year’s Walled City Marathon. You can enter online at https://www.wallecitymarathon.com