Most runners would be ecstatic to run sub-2:32 in their debut marathon. But how would they react if their father finished the same race nearly four minutes faster?
That was the case for 34-year-old Eoin Hughes, who took on his first 26.2 with his 59-year-old father, Tommy Hughes.
“It’s really a privilege to race with my dad,” Eoin told Runner’s World. “Not everyone has that opportunity, so I try to enjoy every opportunity. We don’t really get competitive against each other; we just try to do our best in each race that we do.”
On October 25, Eoin and his father completed Germany’s Frankfurt Marathon in 2:31:30 and 2:27:52, respectively. Their combined marathon time of 4:59:22 unofficially set the world record for fastest combined father-son marathon time, which was previously 5:02:12.
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Now that I'm home and have had time to reflect I'm proud to say that my dad and I have broken the Guinness world record for combined father and son marathon times. Previous record stood at 5:02:12 and thanks to my dad smashing his own age grade world record and running an amazing 2:27:52 and me running 2:31:30 we broke it by 2 mins 50 seconds. My 2:31:30 wasn't what I set out to do and I struggled home but I learnt alot and will use the experience to improve in my next marathon. All in all a great experience and not many people can say the own a world record. Massive thank you to @keithmcclurephotography for capturing these priceless photos. #bigweekend #marathon #marathontraining #halfmarathon #marathonmission #running #guinnessworldrecord #guinness #instarunner #runnersofinstagram #motivation #instagood #instafit #cardio #runningman #happyrunner #runtoinspire #worldrecord #guinnessworldrecord #worldrecordholder #worldrecordholders #wheelsfelloff
To Eoin’s credit, his old man, who turns 60 in January, isn’t any ordinary runner. Tommy began running when he was 21 and represented Ireland in the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, the same year he set his marathon PR of 2:13:59 at the Marrakesh Marathon in Morocco. Today, both father and son live and train in Maghera, a small town in North Ireland.
“Training hasn’t changed very much over the years,” Tommy said. “For the 12 weeks leading up to the Frankfurt Marathon, I averaged 120 miles per week. My mileage when I was younger would have been very similar to what it is today.”
Eoin said he watched his dad train while he was growing up, but he didn’t start running himself until around four years ago, when he was 30. At the time, his main motivation to log miles was to get back in shape, but once Eoin began entering races and increasing his training intensity, he realized how hard his dad worked to perform at his level.
“Although [my dad] might not have been my inspiration to start running, since I have been running, his training and the times he’s running at his age are truly an inspiration,” Eoin said.
Before Frankfurt, Eoin focused on shorter distances, like 10Ks and half marathons. In 2015, he finished his first 13.1-miler in Lisburn, North Ireland, in 1:27:44. After steadily upping his mileage over the years, he was able to shed 18 minutes off that time, running 1:09:14 in Lisburn this June. Later in September, Eoin and Tommy aimed to run a combined half marathon time faster than two hours, 20 minutes and 33 seconds in Belfast, but came up short of their goal, with Eoin finishing in a 13.1-mile PR of 1:08:30 and Tommy finishing behind in 1:12:34.
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Pictures from today's Irish National 10mile championship race. Difficult course around Phoenix Park but finished in 10th place in 53:24. Good enough for an Acorns club 10mile record — More importantly @vincentmckenna and Enda Mckaige also put in great performances so Acorns AC took home a bronze medal ?in the @athleticsireland National Team Championships. Definitely worth the early morning trip down to Dublin. — #10mile #10mileroadrace #phoenixpark #clubrecord #topten #acornsac #athleticsireland #bronzemedal #irishrunner #team #marathonmission #pb #championship #runners #run #running #runner #fitness #instarunners #fit #training #workout #instarun #runhappy #instarunner #runnersofinstagram
After that, they started looking toward the marathon. To prepare for his first marathon, Eoin averaged around 90 miles per week during his 12-week buildup. A few days a week, he met up with his dad to run.
“I have three young boys, so we’re not always able to find a time that suits us both,” Eoin said.
While Eoin hoped for a faster individual time in Frankfurt, he was excited to learn that he and Tommy had broken the former father-son combined time record. For Tommy, the race went even better than he had anticipated.
“I went through the first half in 74:12 and ran the second half in 73:40,” he said. “I was very pleased.”
Tommy said he doesn’t get competitive with his son in races, but rather focuses on racing the best he can. As for his advice on how to keep training and competing well in your 50s and 60s, he emphasizes recovery and staying in tune with your body.
“Listen to your body and don’t push it too much,” Tommy said. “And get as much rest as possible to recover.”
From: Runner’s World US
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