Accountant Stuart Singer only planned to do the Boston Marathon. But when he survived the terrorist bombing that marred it, the narrow escape gave him a new lease of life.
And he went on to run and run. Literally. Now 12 months later, he can look back as the only Jewish runner in Britain to complete six races this year.
Mr Singer, 52, from Southgate, north London, went on to run the New York, London, Berlin, Chicago and Tokyo marathons.
He says the bombings, which claimed three lives and injured 264 when
Islamic extremists detonated them near the finish line last April,“inspired” him to keep running.
“I wanted to do the Boston marathon because of the status it had,” he said. “At the same time I was offered a place for the London race. I really wasn’t sure if I would be able to do it because London and Boston were five days apart.
“But then the tragedy happened and I had will power to do it.”
Mr Singer had just completed the race when two bombs were detonated behind him. He said: “I heard two large bangs followed by wailing sirens. I had just met my wife who was waiting for me and we really only missed the explosion by a short time.
“Afterwards, there was a huge sense of unity within the marathon community. People gathered round and stuck together, everyone wanted to run. It was our way of not backing down.
“A lot of runners who came to the London marathon showed support by running in Boston T-shirts.
“I made lots of running friends through it. I even met up with some of them on the different marathons around the world.”
Mr Singer, who attends Hadley Wood Synagogue, regularly gets up at 6am and runs 10 miles before work as a partner at the accountancy firm Ramsey Brown.
He has been running all his working life and works out at the gym three times a week, stepping up his training to regular 20-mile runs in the weeks before a race.
“I had a place in New York because it was carried over from the year before,” he said. “I got offered a charity place in Berlin by chance and I phoned a Chicago charity at the last minute and got myself a place there. The last one I did was Tokyo two weeks ago.
“They had 300,000 applicants for 30,000 places. I applied like everyone else and I was just lucky.
“The hardest was New York because it’s a difficult course. The one I enjoyed the most because of the organisation and the course was Chicago.
“And Berlin was the only one my wife didn’t want to come to because of the Nazi history and our Jewish background.”