100 marathons in 7 years, and this sexagenarian has no plan to slow down

67-year-old Paul Padinjarekkara, a retired Cochin Port Trust employee, is all set for his 100th marathon, a 42.20-km run, in Kochi on Sunday

Paul Padinjarekkara ran his first marathon quite late in life. After retirement, aged 60.

But since then, he has not stopped running and is now set to celebrate his 100th marathon this Sunday.

And quite fittingly, he will run a full marathon of 42.20 km with 100 other fellow runners organised by Soles of Cochin, a runners club, in his honour. A half marathon will also be held alongside.

“My first full marathon was the Spice Coast Marathon organised by Soles of Cochin. I will run the same route to mark the occasion,” said the 67-year-old who retired as superintending engineer from Cochin Port Trust in 2014 and is settled at Maradu.

The marathon will be flagged off from Willingdon Island and pass through Mattancherry and Fort Kochi before returning to the starting point and then to Ernakulam and back. While quite an exciting prospect, Paul’s most memorable run remains the 100 km he ran to mark his 62nd birthday. He started from his house at Maradu and returned after touching Muvattupuzha and Kothamangalam before again setting out for his ancestral home at Neendapara in Neriamangalam.

“I use an app to record all my runs. Besides, I note them down in a diary and total them monthly and annually,” said Paul. And, going by those multiple records, he has so far run 20,000 km with the best timing of 4.27 hours to complete a full marathon.

Paul has run almost all important marathons across the country, with his longest run being the 210 km he ran as part of the Hennur Bamboo Ultra Marathon in Bengaluru. In fact, he has so far run 22 ultra marathons, which are endurance tests stretching way beyond the full marathon length of 42.20 km.

“I was always drawn into running and participated in 5,000-m races during my school days winning many prizes. But work left me with little time for anything else,” said Paul who now seems determined to dedicate his retirement life to wrest back the 36 years when he sacrificed his passion for his career. He wakes up at 4 a.m. and sets out for running without fail.

And, with a busy schedule ahead of him starting with a marathon in Goa in December followed by two in quick succession in Bengaluru and Delhi, Paul has no plan to slow down any time soon.

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