Dick Felton continues to rack up accolades in his 12th year of competitive running.
The latest is a victory in the 70-to-74 age group at the Miami Marathon in late January.
Felton, who turned 70 last summer, won the group in a time of 4:07, which was more than 40 minutes ahead of his nearest competitor.
“I’m satisfied,” said Felton, noting his pre-race goal was to crack four hours.
“The reason I probably won in Miami is because I just switched age groups in July, and that’s the best time to win your age group because you’re the youngest.”
With the victory, his first in 21 marathons dating back to 2005, the retired businessman has turned his attention to the Comrades ultra-marathon in South Africa in late May. He’ll be one of 23,000 runners attempting to finish the 89-kilometre route in less than 12 hours.
Area athletes Tim Westaway, Fred Unternahrer and Dr. Ken Walker are also competing in what is the world’s largest and oldest ultra-marathon.
Most marathons and ultra-marathons use a chip system to time runners individually. But the South African event is a gun-time race, so any placement distant from the start line makes it difficult to complete the race in the required time.
As a result, Felton will try to improve his qualifying time and start position by taking part in other competitions in the next couple of months, including running his third Boston Marathon in mid-April.
“The real key is to qualify in a time where you loose the least amount of time on the 12 hours,” he said.
Runners still on the South African course are stopped by marshals, not allowed to finish and have their names removed from the race results.
“It’s like you were never there,” he said.
Felton embarked on a 30-week training regiment last November to prepare himself for the grueling event. It includes running up to 100 kilometres each week and doing some lifting.
Among other recent highlights, Felton became one of only a handful of Canadians to compete in the world’s six major marathons. He took part in the Tokyo Marathon last year to go along with previous appearances in Boston, Chicago, New York, Berlin and London.
He also completed the 1,231-kilometre Paris-Brest-Paris long-distance cycling event in France, despite falling in the second half of the race.
He broke several bones and suffered a concussion but still finished the 90-hour race with 11 minutes to spare.