Maidenwell Marathon runner is running for his mum
RICK Patzold will run in his 200th and 201st events involving marathon or ultramarathon at this year's Maidenwell Marathon, but he says he's fuelled by much more than just a number.
With every step taken, the runner said memories of his late mother flooded back.
Rick's mother died of cervical cancer in 1978 when he was just 13 years old, and he said running was the way he reconnected with her.
"As a kid, I would regularly run long distances immediately after coming home from school to avoid the reality of the pain that Mum was experiencing towards the end of her life," Rick said.
"This included losing her mobility when she lost a leg to gangrene."
Rick said he only focused his energy on running when he was 33 years old as a means of staying competitive after a 24-year rugby league career.
But he said running soon became more than just a way to focus his energy and remain competitive.
"With each passing marathon, running has given me a chance to reconnect (with Mum)," he said.
"I seek that pain, knowing mum is over my shoulder riding the journey with me."
The 51-year-old said this year's marathon in Maidenwell would mark a milestone for him - his 200th and 201st run in either a marathon or ultramarathon.
Rick ran 195 marathons and four ultramarathons in 15 years, running almost 100 in the past four years alone.
Rick became the current Australian marathon record-holder for finishing the most marathons ever run in one calendar year on Australian soil when he finished 30 in 2015.
While he was proud of his own achievements, Rick said they told only part of the story.
"My greatest highlight was helping a female runner from South Australia run a sub-four-hour in her first marathon," he said.
"The pain on her face after finishing together was a sight to behold."
Rick will travel from the south of Wollongong, in New South Wales, to run in the second annual Maidenwell Marathon on March 26-27.
Registrations for the event will be open until 30 minutes before each race.
Entry costs as little as $10. See www.runmaiden well.com.