Marathon senior Michael Booth.
Marathon senior Michael Booth.

Relaxed state of fitness for marathon man

TAKE to the Sunshine Coast streets from 6am on August 4 to cheer on the seniors competing in this year's 7 Sunshine Coast Marathon and Community Running Festival.

A tight-knit group of about 30 senior men and women will contest the 42.195km flat course which starts and finishes at Alexander Headland Surf Lifesaving Club.

In among the throng will be Tasmanian runner Michael Booth, 65, who is competing in his eighth Sunshine Coast marathon. On the sidelines will be his Coast-based eldest son Steven and Michael's ever-present wife and keen supporter Christine.

You might notice on Michael's white running shirt a photo of his daughter Alison. The Donate for Life advocate continues to recognise Alison, who died in 2011 from a brain bleed, and whose organs the family donated.

Michael has been running since he turned 48. After years of working hard to provide a good life for his family, he made the conscious decision to return to physical activity as an outlet for his enormous energy.

This month's marathon will be his 86th.

"I'm not an Olympic athlete. I cruise within my ability," Michael said.

But that hasn't stopped him running on Olympic marathon courses in Rio, Sydney, Melbourne and Athens. Next year he hopes to compete in the Tokyo marathon.

"I am the only Tasmanian to run a marathon on the seven continents," Michael proudly states.

Alongside him, Christine is ready at each event to hand him the tools to keep him fuelled as he pushes himself to beat his race target. She often stands on the side of the marathon route ready to hand over a selection of food fuel for Michael to grab.

"Even though she isn't running beside me, I don't leave Tasmania without her," Michael said.

"From the day I started running I have washed my own running clothes. I don't expect her to do that."

The recently retired couple have driven to the Coast for this year's event. With the trusty caravan providing the transport, Michael and Christine are learning to be retired and to relax into becoming grey nomads.

"The other day my wife sent a text to my children saying 'Dad's just broken a world record. He sat down for 20 minutes and didn't do anything'," he said.

"My body will tell me when to sit down and not run anymore.

"I fully expect to still be running in my 80s."

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