As Jewish charity runners make their final preparations for Sunday’s London Marathon, Ivan Lyons is off to Austria to take part in the Vienna equivalent.
Having completed the London event seven times, the 50-year-old from Brighton is seeking a change of scenery as he progresses towards his target of 100 marathons in 100 weeks — his current running total stands at 54.
Mr Lyons is managing director of a wealth management company and treasurer of Brighton and Hove Hebrew Congregation.
He started running in 1996 at the encouragement of a friend and has since entered more than 150 marathons, achieving his personal best of three hours 29 minutes in Boston on his 40th birthday. He then set himself the goal of running a marathon a month.
“The last of those — also my 100th race and the most special one I have run — was in Jerusalem a year ago. The new challenge of a marathon per week for 100 weeks followed.”
Mr Lyons runs an average of 40 miles a week (including a marathon) and as most of his races are within the UK and at weekends, there is no impact on his job. He was on home turf last Sunday, completing the Brighton Marathon in just under four hours.
He has supported a number of charitable causes through his running, the latest being Tusk, which works both to stop the killing of elephants in Africa and to alleviate poverty in rural African communities. “Everyone loves an elephant and this is a cause both my wife Nina and I feel passionate about,” he explained.
The marathon runners’ One Hundred Club is a select group and Mr Lyons is one of fewer than 30 people in the UK to have qualified to wear the club vest. “Most things in life you can buy but this vest is only available to those who earned it through hard work and determination,” he said.
His advice to first-timers taking part in the London event is to “enjoy the experience. Start slow and finish slower.”
He readily concedes that most friends and family consider him “a bit of a meshugenner” but he has no plans to stop running. He is also in pursuit of a council seat in Hove for the Conservatives next year.
The Lyons are third generation Brighton residents and their son Daniel is also a Brighton and Hove Hebrew Congregation member.