For many of us, running a marathon is a one and done scenario. Something to tick off our bucket-list to prove that at one point in our lives, we had a respectable level of fitness.
For others, a 42km run around the city is in the fun category. Our Travel Expert, and you guessed it, Marathon Expert, Shannon Stacey is one of these people and has completed 24 Marathons all over the world. What started as a slightly drunken fuelled dare, has now become a passion, and we love the stories around it.
Check out Shannon’s journey, training tips and favourite marathons across the globe below. If you feel inspired, drop us a message and we can help you start your marathon journey.
Tell us about yourself
I’m from Adelaide in beautiful South Australia and have spent most of my life in the sports tourism industry – around 20 years to be specific. I love all sports and absolutely love the challenge around endurance events. I currently get to fuel my passion for sports through working at Keith Prowse Travel where I help others book bucket list travel experiences to sports and events around the world. I get to share the excitement with them and also share some tips and tricks I have from attending them. It’s a great win-win scenario.
How many marathons have you run?
I have run 24 Marathons and completed five Ironman triathlons. I’ve run marathons all over the world from Berlin, London, Paris, New York to Asia and locally in Adelaide.
When was your first marathon? And why did you do it?
My first unofficial marathon was in 2001 when I was living in London. I was out having some drinks with friends when we started talking about the London Marathon being on the next morning. My friends challenged me that I couldn’t make the distance. Fuelled with ale I completely disregarded that I had done no training and accepted their challenge. The next morning I woke up early caught the train to the starting area and jumped the fence. Before I had a chance to take in what a stupid idea this was I was crossing the start line with the tens of thousands of runners. Although it hurt like hell it was such an amazing experience to see all the people on the sideline cheering all the runners. I made it to about 400m to the finish line before the security of the event asked me politely to step off the course as I was not a registered runner. Although I didn’t cross the finish line I was hooked on marathons. My first official marathon was New York Marathon in 2010.
What made you want to do more?
On race day, the comradery of running with the pack, meeting new people from all over the world whilst your running is the best experience. I have met people from all walks of life whilst we share this one goal of completing a marathon. Behind the task of finishing the marathon everyone has a story of why they are running and it’s always cool hearing their story.
Why do you enjoy running marathons?
The freedom of it. I become grumpy and unpleasant to be around if I don’t run for a while. Once I get running my head feels clearer and I just can’t help but smile.
What has been your favourite location for the marathon?
The buzz and crowd in New York is next level so I would have to say New York, but I really enjoy Berlin as a city and marathon location. Plus the Great Ocean Road marathon was a pretty cool event, so I’d recommend that too.
How do you get tickets?
Each marathon is slightly different. For local marathons, you can generally just go online and purchase your tickets before the event. A lot do sell out, so it’s important to get in there early.
For the major international marathons, there are a couple of ways. The first is through the ballot which is something that feels like a lottery in itself. There is a separate domestic and international ballot for most of them, so you enter the one relevant to you and hope that your name gets drawn as one of the lucky few. This ballot is normally drawn nine months prior to the event. If you miss out on the ballot, more than likely you have to purchase tickets through an International Travel Partner, like us, or run for charity in which there are organisations listed on their website.
A lot of the major marathons also sell out quickly – some often a year in advance – so make sure you get in early to secure your tickets.
What is your biggest tip to completing a marathon?
Just put one foot in front of the other and repeat for as long as it takes you. Don’t overcomplicate it. Running is a natural movement and heaps of fun so keep it simple. That said, it is always good to do some research as each event is different with pre and post-event logistics, so make sure you have a game plan for the day.
Biggest tip for training?
Don’t overtrain, make sure you get someone on one advice from a run coach, make sure you look after your body and most importantly just enjoy running.