A few weeks ago, Benita Willis from Qrun, caught up with the amazing Carol Wingreen. Carol (who is a member of Qrun club, River City Runners) has run 99 marathons to date, with her 100th being at the upcoming Tamborine Mountain Relays & Marathon on Jan 24th 2021. This is a truely inspirational interview not only about Carol's running journey but also her tips for all runners!
Benita Willis (Qrun): Thank you so much for doing this interview Carol! How amazing, you’ve run 99 marathons so far and about to run your 100th marathon at the Tamborine Mountain Relays and Marathon event in a few weeks. Why do you love running so much?
Carol Wingreen: I love the freedom running gives as it’s the one form of exercise that allows you to just head out of the door and run wherever you are. I have been running with the River City Runners since 1998 when we first moved to Brisbane from South Africa. I have formed wonderful friendships through the group and enjoy the community spirit.
BW: How did you get into running?
CW: I began running in my early 20’s doing fun runs but since the birth of my first child at 30 I decided to join a club. In South Africa the Comrades is an iconic event and watching it every year on TV inspired me to give it a go.
BW: Can you remember your 1st marathon, where did you run it? What was the experience like?
CW: I certainly do remember my first marathon which was in 1996 in East London, South Africa. In the last 2km we had to run across the road and the island in the middle felt like a huge step as I could barely lift my feet over. The finish was on athletics track and it felt so good to cross the line in under 4 hours. It felt like such an achievement.
BW: Do you like training with a group or do you run alone?
CW: I run alone and with the club. A group is more encouraging and motivating when running so I do try to do some club runs every week. I am fortunate to have lots of trails to run on near where I live.
BW: Which part of the marathon race do you find the hardest i.e. pacing, last 10km etc?
CW: I usually find the 32 – 37km the toughest as I feel that’s the time the body is feeling fatigued but then when it’s only 5km to go mentally I pick up and say it’s only a park run to go.
BW: What’s your favourite marathon and why?
CW: I always enjoy the Gold Coast marathon. I’ve done it 19 times and love the crowds and the atmosphere along the course. The finish line is just incredible with everyone cheering right from the club tents along the road to the grandstand. I have paced a few GC marathons which I feel has been a great way to encourage first time marathon runners.
BW: Any advice for marathon runners doing their first marathon in 2021?
CW: I would encourage runners to build up the miles slowly and do events of short to half marathon distances before embarking on the 42.2km. Too many runners decide to run a marathon and hurt so much that they never run again. I usually have toast and a banana about an hour or so before the marathon. Pacing is very important in the first 5km so don’t go out too hard. It is so easy to be drawn along by the crowd and your own enthusiasm.
BW: Good luck running your 100th marathon at the end of the month! How will you celebrate?
CW: I plan to enjoy a bottle of champagne with my running friends and family. So many people have supported me along the journey so I would love to say a huge thanks to all.
And then start training for the next marathon.