Father of three Matthew Daniels finished 55 marathons in 55 days last week. Image – Supplied.
Last week, a father of three from Geelong (Vic) achieved what so many people dream of – running more than 2,000kms in a short space of time, and doing it without fatigue or injury.
Bravely starting his 55 marathons in 55 days on New Year’s Day at 5am, Matthew Daniels, a seasoned long distance runner who has been racing in ultra marathons for years and is a personal trainer at Fit n Focused, was spurred on daily to honour the memory and legacy of Andrew Cadigan, a young man who walked around Australia to raise funds for the Leukaemia Foundation from 2010-2012.
It was a sad irony when Cadigan tragically died after a motorcycle accident just days after he completed it.
After reading about Cadigan in a book titled With Every Step (authored by his father Neil), Daniels wanted to continue Cadigan’s work and so after researching which world records he could try to break, he settled on 55 marathons in 55 days.
He said when he took those final steps along the Barwon River on Wednesday (February 24), he was relieved it was all over but would miss the challenge.
“It was a personal challenge as much as it was an event in memory of Andrew,” he said.
“During the run, I guided the public to Andrew’s dad’s fundraising page (Cad’s Cause) and it’s ticked over $17,000 so that’s amazing because we originally targeted $10,000.”
Daniels has been running for more than two decades and even after finishing the Surfcoast Century 100kms in recent years, wanted another challenge that would push him even further, so did a charity run from Adelaide to Geelong, completing 760kms for the Breast Cancer Network Australia over 12 days.
Last year he did the Anzac Ultra in Canberra where he tested his limits in over 450kms.
“Despite having run for many years, it was all a bit unknown going into my 55 marathons in 55 days,” Daniels said.
“In training, I was doing just lots of runs back to back, ramping up the kilometres but I wanted to be mindful that when I got to the start line on January 1 I was feeling fresh and without injuries.
“It was all a mystery how it would pan out, just because it was a different challenge to what I’d done in the past, but once I’d gotten through the first week my body got used to it and found a rhythm.
“I wouldn’t say it was smooth sailing, but it certainly got easier every day.”
Daniels said he couldn’t have done his most recent achievement without the support of his three children and bride-to-be.
“My kids knew what I was doing, the whole reason I was doing it, everything,” he said.
“They joined me for the last couple kilometres and were there for me across the finish line.
“Their support for me is really important, because I can’t do these things without them or my partner, who is a runner as well, and she understands what I go through and what I need.”
Incredibly, Daniels has clocked 2,321kms through his fundraising effort and is still spreading the message in helping raise funds for the Leukaemia Foundation.
To donate, visit Cad’s Cause here.