Anton Reiter completes his 100th marathon
This past weekend Austrian runner Anton Reiter completed his 100th marathon in Rome. Anton was one of 12,688 runners who crossed the finish line in front of the “Colosseo”, which is a record number of finishers for an Italian sport event. The winners were Kenya’s Luka Lokobe Kanda in a time of 2:08 for the men and Hellen Jemaiyo Kimutai in a time of 2:31 for women.
But this 18th Maratona di Roma Acea was much more special than just the times of the winners and it being the largest number of finishers for an event in Italy. Anton joins a select number of distance runners from around the world who have completed 100 marathons. Finishing one marathon is a tremendous achievement. Completing one hundred marathons is truly remarkable because it says so much about an individual’s character and resolve. I’ve called these runners ‘The Messengers’ in a recent book of mine because I believe their stories have so much to offer everyone. Asides from the physical, mental, emotional and sometimes spiritual health benefits, as well as the social connectedness which contributes importantly to overall happiness, these Messengers have a positive outlook for life and a passion that is contagious!!
About three weeks ago I was emailing with Anton regarding another book – one about the Marathon Maniacs just out; I was the editor and Anton was one of the contributors to that book. In one of the emails Anton mentioned he would be running his 100th marathon in Rome. I wrote back saying “fantastic” and wished him the best for the run – obviously a very special run being his 100th. I also mentioned that Lori and I were to run the Rome marathon last year, 2011, and in fact, were actually at the start-line when due to a very sudden unexpected illness we couldn’t even start the race. We headed back to the Hotel as the runners began their run around Rome. We immediately promised ourselves to go back and run Rome in the near future.
Anton replied. In a wonderful spirit of generosity he said he would like to put our names on his shirt that he’d wear as he ran his hundredth marathon around Rome. On the front of his shirt he had made: “I run, therefore I am (exist)”, and on the back of his shirt was the phrase “Today I run for MALCOLM and LORI”. He wrote to us and said “Now you both will run with me the Rome marathon in mind and are motivated to make a second attempt next year.”
So we’re very pleased and thrilled for Anton that despite the heat, the narrow crowded streets and the hills he successfully completed his 100th marathon, and it looks like he won’t be stopping running any time soon. He’s only in his fifties, and as we know from other Messengers there are many more marathons possible and likely in his future.
So we want to say “Thank-you” again Anton. We feel incredibly honored and privileged to think that you would and did carry our names around Rome for 26.2 miles – we hope they didn’t weigh you down at all. And you’ve further strengthened our own resolve to return to Rome next year for the marathon, and reaffirmed our faith in the goodness of people.