A BUS driver became the first Lothians and Borders runner to complete ten marathons in ten days and defied all the odds by running his last race faster than his first.
Chris Renton, 50, was one of only 15 people chosen to run the ultimate endurance event, the Brathay 10in10, which has been described as one of toughest road marathons in the UK as participants have to combat the hilly route around Lake Windermere in Cumbria.
He is now only the third Scot to complete the challenge. Perhaps more impressive given the pain and niggling injuries picked up over the first nine races was that he ran his last marathon – finished on his 50th birthday on May 18 – almost 15 minutes faster than the first.
Super-fit Mr Renton has also raised more than £5000 for the Brathay Trust, a charity which supports young and vulnerable children who have had a difficult upbringing.
He said it was a cause close to his heart after he suffered abuse as a teenager but he admitted that the scale of his achievement had not yet “sunk in”.
And he admitted that his final leg was so quick thanks to the support of hundreds of other runners who join the event on the last day.
Talking about his finishing time he said: “It’s just ridiculous. Even getting three to four hours is fantastic for me but to get 3.52 on my final day is just amazing – we were running with nearly 1000 others on the final day so we just got lifted round the course.
“My target was £3000, so to achieve £5000 is just amazing.”
Mr Renton said he suffered injuries to his legs during the ten-day stint and that having physiotherapy treatment at the end of each day became gruelling.
“I’m not going to lie to you, I was in tears a number of times,” he explained. “Fortunately for me, I had my head in the right place.”
Mr Renton said “words could not describe” how he felt running into his wife Caroline’s arms when he crossed the finishing line on the final race.
“I was just telling Caroline to hold me up and I was crying the most that time,” he added.
However, he said that while going back to work to “sit behind the wheel of a bus” felt strange, he might already be considering applying for the Brathay challenge again next year.
Mrs Renton, 52, said she was “so incredibly proud” of her husband and that she “simply can’t put into words my feelings when he crossed the finish line on the 10th day”.
Race director of Brathay Trust, Jon Owen, also praised Mr Renton saying: “In Chris’s case he chose to run even though the final marathon fell on his 50th birthday so we particularly appreciate his commitment.
“The Brathay 10in10 requires an amazing strength of mind and the achievement of Chris and his fellow runners proves that ordinary people really can do extraordinary things. It’s what we hope that the young people we work with can do, too.”
The runner’s record
MR Renton’s total
finishing time for the ten days was 41 hours, five minutes and 21 seconds which gave him an average marathon time of four hours, six minutes and 32 seconds. The individual breakdowns of his times for each day show how he actually ran his fastest time on the final day.
Day 1 - 4:07:13
Day 2 - 4:17:08
Day 3 - 4:21:01
Day 4 - 4:10:00
Day 5 - 4:04:10
Day 6 - 3:57:37
Day 7 - 3:58:54
Day 8 - 4:10:14
Day 9 - 4:06:43
Day10 - 3:52:21