For many people, running a marathon remains a goal that will elude them for life despite their best intentions but for one man, Corporal Chris Moss from the Cyprus Joint Police Unit, running one marathon was never going to be enough to get his blood pumping.
Chris, an extremely fit and self-professed running enthusiast, has just finished an astonishing 14 marathons in as many days, all in aid of the BFBS Big Salute.
For those struggling to get their heads around the mighty task, that is 602 kilometres, just over one marathon a day, with an average completion time of about five and a half hours for each run.
Chris’ ‘Run Cyprus’ route took him all across the island, beginning in Ayios Nikolaos and finishing with the recent Limassol marathon. He also threw in a largely uphill marathon in the snow-drenched Troodos Mountains for good measure.
Explaining his decision to undergo such a challenge, the 32 year old revealed he “just wanted to try something crazy”, after drawing inspiration for the unlikely source of stand up comedian, Eddie Izzard.
“I have always been a keen runner and there are many stories of people who achieved some great feats whilst running. The Eddie Izzard example is a great inspiration, he ran 43 marathons in 51 days and that is quite an achievement.
“I was also driven by the fact that I wanted to see a little bit more of the island so this seemed like a good opportunity to achieve a few of my own goals.”
Perhaps surprisingly, Chris, who serves in the RAF, revealed that he didn’t really take on any extra training in preparation for his challenge, choosing instead to make sure he was “marathon fit”.
“Once you are marathon ready there is not really a whole lot more you can do to prepare to be honest. I did do a 50km race in January as part of the training but that was about it.”
For a man that has put his body through so much strain over the past fortnight, Chris was in good spirits by the time he had finished the run but he did admit that there were a few times when he was battling against his body to get to the finishing line.
“It was definitely more painful than I had expected it to be. After the first three or four marathons I had picked up a few niggling injuries and when you have no real time to rest them between runs, they become far more painful than they should be.
By the time I had hit my fifth marathon I had picked up what is known as a runners knee – a friction injury and that was extremely painful and I was not prepared for it because I had never had it before.”
Disaster struck Chris during the Paphos Marathon (his seventh) when his runners knee forced him to retire and finish the race in the back of an ambulance – the lowest point of his ‘Run Cyprus’ challenge.
“I literally couldn’t put any pressure on it and I had to retire unfortunately. However, I got some treatment and I was ready to go the next day and I then tagged on the lost kilometres onto my future runs to make up the distance.”
The culmination of Chris’ hard work came on March 18 when he finished the challenging Limassol Marathon in about four and a half hours, not far short of the finishing time of the first marathon he undertook at the start of the challenge.
“Limassol was a great experience as I was running on adrenalin and the joy of having people to run against for the first time in a while. I must admit, when I woke up on Monday morning I was grateful not to have to get up and go running but I did feel a little flat after what I had been going through for the previous two weeks.”
However, if you expected Chris to put his feet up and take a break, you would be very wrong and he is already planning for more races as the year progresses, including the Cyprus Ultra Race – a mountain trail race in the extreme heat on July 28 which covers 135 miles (217 km) in 48 hours.
“There is still plenty of running left to do this year, aside from the Cyprus Ultra Race which is very tough; there is also the Cyprus 4 Day Challenge and the New York Marathon. These are all races I would do normally so I am not going to miss them out this year.”
As a result of his exploits, Chris looks set to smash his €2500 fund-raising target for the BFBS Big Salute but one thing is certain, he is going top have to think long and hard about how he tops this challenge the next time he decides to “try something crazy”.