Timmins runner earns Six Star Medal after completing major marathon
A runner from Timmins, Ont., is sporting some new hardware, and was part of a Guinness World Record-setting event, after completing a recent marathon in Japan.
With the Tokyo Marathon 2023 under his belt, Marc Rodrigue, 51, earned the exclusive Six Star Medal as part of the World Marathon Majors Challenge.
The Six Star Medal was introduced by the Abbott World Marathon Majors in 2016 to recognize runners who complete six major races.
Rodrigue has also completed the requisite marathons in London, New York, Boston, Berlin and Chicago.
That's a lot of mileage for someone who took up running just eight years ago.
"I love to travel. I love to run," Rodrigue told CBC's Morning North. "I thought, why not give it a whirl and see if I can get into all these other majors?"
Rodrigue, who works in the banking sector, said the time spent training and running allows him to "disconnect."
"I thought it was a great challenge and for me, running represents a little bit of freedom," he said.
"It's also good for the body, good for the mind and good for the soul."
The 42.2-kilometre Tokyo race also featured another milestone — with 3,000 Six-Star finishers, the marathon set a Guinness World Record for the most people to earn the medal at a single contest.
Rodrige clocked in with a time of 3:56:31, which put him 11,746th in his class.
"I've been thinking a lot about that and it's not really about the time," Rodrigue said. "It's really about finishing these majors and putting yourself in position.
"When you're running with 40-50,000 people. I mean, it's hard to run fast times in any of these marathons.
"Unless you're at the front and you can bypass thousands, and thousands and thousands of runners already, it's pretty hard."
Why not give it a whirl? - Marc Rodrigue
The Tokyo marathon saw 38,000 racers, while races in New York and Boston regularly have over 40,000 participants.
Now that he's nailed down the Six Star Medal, Rodrigue is keeping quiet about his next plans.
"I've already whispered a few things to my wife and in terms of what I'd like to do next, but I'm going to keep that a little private for now because the next challenge is also quite a significant one.
"So nothing yet decided," Rodrigue said. "But it's going to be really about spoiling my wife for the next little while."