Running the world! Sarah joins elite club

Sarah with her medals from the six marathons
Sarah with her medals from the six marathons

Athlete Sarah Wood has really put the miles in to join an elite group of runners.

After planning her global challenge for four years, she has completed the grand slam of big city marathons.

Sarah picks up the Unsung Hero at the 2017 Bridlington Sports Awards, from boxer Tommy Coyle and Greg Miller of Bridlington Round Table

Sarah picks up the Unsung Hero at the 2017 Bridlington Sports Awards, from boxer Tommy Coyle and Greg Miller of Bridlington Round Table

The Bridlington Road Runner has travelled more than 35,000 miles, so she could cross the finish line at six of the world’s most prestigious races.

It was all done in memory of two of her close friends who died within a few months of each other.

She has a best time of under three-and-a-half hours and completed the set in Berlin. Sarah, who was named Unsung Hero at this year’s Bridlington Free Press Sports Awards, said: “It is overwhelming to think I have completed all six. Only 2,289 people have done it and only 500 of them are women.

“I didn’t know what to do when I crossed the final finish line. I was crying with relief.

The full set of medals

The full set of medals

“There was a special area for people who have completed the World Major Marathons and as I walked up to it, everyone was clapping and shouting my name.

“I didn’t expect it but it was something I will never forget.”

The German capital was the final stop for Sarah, who has also run marathons in London, New York, Boston, Chicago and Tokyo.

“They have all been fantastic – all different but they have qualities which make them unique,” she said.

Sarah will be back in action at Bridlington Half Marathon this weekend.

Sarah will be back in action at Bridlington Half Marathon this weekend.

“I would love to do Tokyo again. The culture was not like I was expecting but going out there on my own and doing it was something pretty special.”

Sarah won’t have to travel far for her next race – this Sunday’s Bridlington Half Marathon, but flying around the world has been a huge commitment.

“I tried not to look at my bank balance,” she admits.

It was after finishing the New York Marathon in 2013 that Sarah put her mind to completing the set of six, although it had not exactly been plain sailing.

Running in Berlin to complete the challenge

Running in Berlin to complete the challenge

“That was my fastest marathon but I had been ill and the medics said I wasn’t fit enough to run it,” she said.

“But I had been the previous year when it was cancelled because of the hurricane (Storm Sandy) and I thought ‘I’m not missing it again’.”

She battled the heat in Chicago, suffered sunburn in Tokyo and dehydration in Boston, so conditions in Berlin came as something of a relief.

“Berlin was the first marathon I had done in the rain. It started off dry but the rain was quite refreshing because it was really humid,” said Sarah.

As well as the road marathons, she completed 26 miles on a treadmill in the Promenades Shopping Centre in Bridlington and did a parachute jump last October.

Her efforts have seen her raise almost £12,000 for Teenage Cancer Trust, a charity she was inspired to run for after the death of two of her friends, Tom Keeping, who played for Bridlington rugby club, and Stephen Phelps.

“Tom was a school friend, I had known him from the age of five and had grown up with him.

“Stephen I had known for three or four years and he passed away quite suddenly in January 2016.

“When the marathons got tough and I just wanted to stop, I had pictures of them with me and it spurred me on.”

To help her reach her £15,000 online target, visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SarahWood1