Marathon Man bringing cape, messages to Myrtle Beach race

ablondin@thesunnews.comFebruary 13, 2014 

SUBMITTED PHOTO

It won’t be hard to identify Trent Morrow at Saturday’s 17th Myrtlebeach.com Myrtle Beach Marathon.

He’ll be the one dressed in the red, blue and yellow “Marathon Man” ensemble complete with a red cape.

Though Morrow is no superhero, the 40-year-old native of Sydney, Australia, is in the midst of a superhuman feat, and he’s benefiting mankind by spreading positive messages as he accomplishes it.

In 2013, Morrow ran 161 marathons across five continents – North America, South America, Australia, Europe and Africa – 11 countries and 34 states. Last year’s run across the world was only part of his quest, however.

He checked off Asia as his sixth continent with a race in Dubai on Jan. 24, and with a planned race in Antarctica on March 10, Morrow will complete a run of approximately 160 marathons in a one-year span over all seven continents.

“That’s something that’s never been done before with that amount of travel,” said Morrow, who will also have a whistle Saturday, so if you don’t initially see him you might hear him. “If you’re going to do something, go big. That’s been my philosophy over the past couple years and my philosophy moving forward.”

Morrow said he sometimes runs consecutive marathons without the benefit of sleep or a shower. That might be the case this weekend, as he will be driving from Myrtle Beach to Sunday’s Mercedes-Benz Marathon in Birmingham, Ala.

“This is my world,” Morrow said. “It’s a journey of a lifetime. It’s not easy but it’s amazing what you can do when you want it bad enough. I think this is the ultimate amazing race.”

Rest assured Morrow will be fresh Saturday with both his hygiene and physical strength since he has at least a day between marathons.

He had planned to run in the Two Hearts Marathon Series in Columbia on Wednesday and Thursday but Wednesday’s race was postponed because of the weather and course conditions, and race officials were making a decision on the second night race Thursday afternoon.

Morrow travels with messages of cancer awareness and engaging in an active lifestyle.

His mother and stepmother were his inspiration to promote cancer awareness and early testing. His mother died of colon cancer at age 47 in 1993, and his stepmother, who was married to his father for 21 years and lived in the U.S., died of lung cancer last year.

Morrow’s stepmother died within a couple weeks after he presented her the medal for his 100th marathon run last year. “People ask if I feel guided, and in many ways I feel guided by my mum and stepmum,” Morrow said.

An unflattering snapshot led Morrow to change his eating habits and lifestyle, and ultimately to his marathon quest.

A serious car accident in 2005 resulted in lower back and spine injuries and doctors suggested swimming and biking for his rehabilitation, but not running. Over the next year, Morrow was working countless hours as a national pharmaceutical sales manager, was not very active, wasn’t eating very healthy and gained about 70 pounds. In December 2006, he saw himself in a family picture for his niece’s christening.

“I didn’t recognize myself. I said, ‘This is not the person you are,’” Morrow recalled. “I didn’t want to be someone whose life is cut short by having weight issues and not doing the right things. It was really a wakeup call I needed to step up and take some personal responsibility for my own lot in life.”

Morrow changed his diet and began exercising and that quickly led to distance running. He ran a half marathon in Sydney in September 2007, and in the spring of 2008 he took it to the extreme and participated in the daunting Marathon des Sables, a six-day, 156-mile ultramarathon through the Sahara desert in Morocco.

“It was a real test of character and quite an introduction into the sport of marathon running,” Morrow said.

He began running true marathons late in 2008 and ran six in six weeks in five countries. He ran about 10 marathons in both 2009 and 2010, and in both 2011 and 2012 he ran a marathon in every state and territory in Australia and both islands of New Zealand.

“I basically ran out of room,” Morrow said. “I wanted to go on the world stage and do something that had never been done before, which is what I’m doing now.”

Perhaps as amazing as the running itself is the fact that Morrow has been accomplishing it with minimal funding. He embarked on his solo journey without a publicist, no real sponsor, and without much money in a bank account. He has received help from donors and people he’s met along the way including race organizers – Myrtle Beach race officials comped his entry – and people in the running community.

“There was no certainty I’d survive more than two months in this journey,” said Morrow, who still needs financial help for flights to Antarctica. “It’s been a journey of faith since Day 1 because I didn’t have the financial resources and didn’t know if it could be physically done. But I’ve got confidence it’s going to happen.”

Morrow has a girlfriend in Columbia so it has been his home away from home during his journey. After hitting his seventh continent, Morrow wants to return to the U.S. and make it his permanent home. “I’ve spent a few years pursuing the dream and I’ve fallen in love with the country and want to spend the rest of my life here,” Morrow said.

Morrow’s travels can be followed at teammarathonman.com and facebook.com/Marathonmanworld, and he said he has 10,000 followers on social media. He will be writing a book about the experience and hopes to share his story and messages through speaking engagements.

“I’m hoping to encourage a generation to take on challenges in life,” Morrow said. “It’s about going out there and living the dream and making whatever you want the reality. I truly believe anything is possible.

“… I didn’t want to be someone who talked the talk. I wanted to make an impact on this world.”

So why run as Marathon Man? “I’ve chosen to be Marathon Man to step into my own alter ego,” Morrow said. “It’s been an amazing journey as Marathon Man. I run the majority of the races that way. Kids’ faces light up and people relate to what I’m doing when they hear a little bit more about my story.”

Contact ALAN BLONDIN at 626-0284.

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