It was on a cold, dark November day – 14 years ago – when Anton (Toni) Reiter, then 47 years old, from Vienna, made the decision to change his lifestyle – and take up running.
Said Toni, now 61 years old, “I changed my way of life. Let’s say that I adapted my lifestyle to now include running daily. It took me several months until running was imbedded in my daily routine.”
Continued Toni, an Academic Consultant in the Ministry of Education and Women Affairs in Vienna, “But before I had considered running a marathon, I tried to get experience in competing at fun runs over 5 and 10km. Half a year after I started running, I took part in a Half Marathon in Vienna in April 2001 and finished in 2 hours 6 minutes and 8 seconds. Four weeks later, in May 2001, I finished the Vienna City Marathon in 4 hours 44 minutes 20 seconds.”
Come a long way since his first run
Toni has come a long way since he began running. Today, he is a marathon collector (someone who habitually runs marathons) and has a marathon personal best of 3 hours 59 minutes and 4 seconds. This timing had been set in April 2002. He has completed 231 marathons and five ultras so far.
What made Toni decide to become a marathon collector? He said, “I met a guy at the Rome Marathon in March 2009. I had completed 37 marathons then, so upon talking to him, my plan was to reach 100 marathons before my 60th birthday. I achieved this goal two years earlier. The next step was then, to found the 100 Marathon Club in Austria and I was Chairman there till Spring 2015.”
Added Toni, “It was a sort of passion to be on the top of the year’s ranking in Austria as far as the amount of marathons is concerned. I ran 54 marathons plus one ultra in 2013, did 36 marathons in 2014 and have completed 22 marathons to date this year – and counting. I am still going strong.”
Marathon Running tips for Beginners
Toni would now like to share his thoughts about marathon running for beginners.
For those who have ever harboured any thoughts of doing a marathon, Toni said that a marathon is a huge physical undertaking for any runner. He said, “The biggest running challenge, in my opinion, is the marathon as it requires many months of extra training. To reach a basic endurance, it is not enough to simply do long jogs of up to 30km on weekends. You need running substance and more marathon-specific training.”
Thus, for a beginner marathoner, Toni said that it is important to implement certain measures prior to registering for the race and embarking on a training programme. Said Toni, “Without adequate equipment, without inner conviction and without a medical check, it is a no-go. Then you must train to achieve a basic endurance level, which can be attained through constant training in a low heart rate zone. To succeed at competitions, you must also add tempo training to the mix, to achieve faster times.”
Continued the marathoner, “When running, the speed has to be reduced when you are on a hilly course and pick up speed when you are running downhill. Try and keep your running performance under control. But if you are aspiring to be a marathon collector, the path from a novice to a collector is long and sometimes often difficult.”
But Toni said that once you get started and begin to see the benefits of running, then you will have fun. He said, “You can finish marathons with cut-off times of six hours or more easily, by walking and running simultaneously. There is a way for everyone to become a marathon finisher – and the joy of getting the medal at the finish line, a shirt and the result on a certificate, makes runners happy.”
Here is a chart provided by Toni on the journey needed to be taken from a novice to becoming a full-fledged marathon runner.
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