Essex marathon man told he may never walk crosses finish line of 200th race
- Credit: Archant
A lorry driver warned he may never be able to walk has defied the odds by crossing the finish line of his 200th marathon.
Paul Bridges, from Writtle in Essex, was born with water on the brain and his parents were told he may have to use a wheelchair.
Three decades on and the 33-year-old is celebrating an achievement most will not accomplish in their lifetime.
He completed marathon number 200 in Lanzarote on Saturday – and is not planning to stop there, with a Suffolk-based 10 races in 10 days challenge planned for 2018.
“It was exhausting but I’ve been on a high ever since,” he said.
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“I love running marathons and my challenge this year was to get to 200, it’s a great feeling to actually finally do it.
“It keeps you fit and you get to see the world, a lot of the time the roads are closed so you see cities in a unique way with no traffic about at all.
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He added: “My friends and family have been great supporting me all the way through.
“It means a lot to be able to do it because when I was a baby I was born with water on the brain.
The doctors said to my parents I might have to be in a wheelchair and not be able to walk.
“I was a little bit slower than other people at school learning to walk and stuff but I guess I’ve managed to do this which I’m not sure they have.”
Despite being a newcomer to competitive races, the Springfield Strider running club member signed up for his first ever London Marathon back in 2008 after being persuaded to sign up by friends at a beer festival. He quickly got addicted to the thrill of running long distances and seven years later, in 2015, he had finished his 100th marathon in Chelmsford.
Paul added: “I’m especially proud of the last two years, I completed 47 last year and 40 this year, so almost 100 in that short space of time.
“The races have been all over the world, one in Dubai, lots in this country, obviously the latest one in Lanzarote and I’ve got one coming up in Gran Canaria.
“My personal best is 3 hours and 21 minutes and I’d love to beat that if I can.
“I’m not stopping after this because I’m doing the Great Barrow challenge in Suffolk, which is 10 marathons in 10 days.
“I’m sure I’ll be pretty knackered after that.”
Farleigh Hospice in Chelmsford has also benefitted from Paul’s many marathons, to the tune of more than £15,000.