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1 February 2024   |   10k, Half Marathon, Marathon   |   

After 41 years, Tony Phillips is set to complete his Six Star journey at the 2024 Tokyo Marathon

At 76 years old, Tony has been pursuing his sixth Abbott World Marathon Major star for 41 years. His journey delayed due to diverse running endeavours, which included 22 London Marathons and in 350 park runs! We caught up with Tony to discuss his love for running and to understand what it means to be collecting his final star in Tokyo this March.

When did you start running and what was your first marathon?

I’ve been running for 65 years; age has never been a deterrent! My first marathon was the London Marathon in 1982. It holds a special place in my heart — the crowd lifts you throughout the course, and the organisation is superb.

When did you decide to run all the Abbott World Marathon Majors and why?

After completing the Berlin and Chicago Marathons in 2018, I asked a Sports Tours representative about including my 1998 New York Marathon medal in my sixth star journey. This is when I realised that it didn’t matter how long it took to complete all six Majors.

After completing all six World Marathon Majors, will you run any again?

I don’t think so. While I won’t say never, considering I’ve completed 101 marathons, Tokyo will be my 102nd. However, my perfect Saturday morning includes a slow park run.

How are you preparing for your final star in Tokyo?

I’ve been towing a tire around my local sports field for fitness. Yet, my focus remains on long runs and plenty of rest. In 2023, I was supposed to run the Tokyo Marathon but then I had a trapped nerve in my back, and I couldn’t walk, now getting to the marathon is my main priority.

What advice do you have for someone wanting to run a Marathon Major and how do you stay motivated?

Stay hydrated — it’s a common downfall. Chicago was my favourite international marathon; I completed it in 5 hours 2 minutes. It’s the constant goal setting and drive to beat my last time that keeps me motivated.

Why did you decide to run with Sports Tours International?

I’m all about organisation and Sports Tours excels in that aspect. I’ve been with them on five occasions and the guaranteed entry is fantastic! When ballot rejections leave you defeated, Sports Tours becomes a great option.


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