RORY COLEMAN stubbed out his last ciggie, downed his last pint on Boxing Day 1993, and 800 marathons later roared into his hometown of Stratford to take assembly at his old primary school on Monday morning.
While he was back in town, the former Broad Street and KES school pupil, who is now an extreme marathon runner and international performance coach, freely admitted in a frank interview with the Herald, he’d, “gone off the rails” when he hit the bottle and smoked 40 cigarettes a day as a youngster.
However, his life of hangovers changed when he had, what he calls a Damascus moment, and vowed to turn his life around and hasn’t smoked or touched a drop since.
There were no Monday morning blues for Rory this week when he addressed pupils at Broad Street School—Stratford Primary School—during their school assembly and it was in this school playground, at lunchtimes, his love of running began.
“I used to cheek the dinner lady and proudly declare when I’d finished my lap around the playground. She would chuckle at my antics, then tell me to do another one, which of course I did!” Rory said.
He’s committed himself to running 28 miles each day for 28 consecutive days until he crosses the finish line in Trafalgar Square on 1st October and that’s because he’s supporting this year’s Stoptober - the country’s mass quit smoking attempt.
Rory is well known for running almost 200 ultra-marathons and setting nine Guinness World Records. He decided to raise awareness of Stoptober and has run right across the country to reach a new personal milestone of 800 marathons; he reckons his 1,000th isn’t far behind.
His recent run for Stoptober has made him many friends along the way but he was particularly happy to be back in Stratford and visiting his old primary school.
“I talked with the children about the importance of perseverance,” he said. “I told them that if they put their minds to something they could achieve it. I had a choice in my life to stay as I was or do something about it and it’s brought me to where I am now,” a delighted Rory told the Herald with a twinkle in his eye.
“I’ve run through my home village, Wolverton, where I was born and had a really great time running and waving at friends I haven’t seen for years! It’s good to be back home.”
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