Captain Barry Stoddart has run the 2014 Paphos Marathon, and has broken the record , becoming the fastest man on earth to run twenty-six marathon miles round Paphos carrying twenty pounds on his back. Now he has one last race to run; the administrative race to get all the evidence to the Guinness Book of Records team who check all the facts before declaring the record valid.
Despite having Major General Richard Cripwell, also a keen sporting man and the Commander British Forces Cyprus as chief timer on the stopwatch at the finish, the examination of all the documents is a rigorous process and an anxious time for Barry Stoddart and his family.
Barry did it to honour an Army chum, still serving in UK, who has been diagnosed with a brain tumour, and to raise money for his six nominated charities: SSAFA who provide life-long support to the military and their families, the Army and RAF Benevolent Funds, Families Activity Breaks who support bereaved military families, the Royal British Legion, Fusiliers Aid Society and the British Animal Welfare Society.
The previousrecord-breaking attempt during the 2013 London Marathon ended in disaster.Seven miles from the finish, and on target to break the record, his hamstring made worse by excruciating back pain, forced him to slow down; wrecking his record chances. But he did finish the course.
This time all went to plan. With his wife Claire and two children: Michelle (13) and Kieran(10) also both runners and keen on sports, watching boosted by loads of fans from his organisation CJATC (Combined Services Adventure Training Centre based) in Dhekelia, this had to be the last time and he had to succeed.
For Barry, the win or lose factor would be his support team. Pace-makers Rob Harden and Chris Williams had the critical task of judging the pace, enough to get him round the course but fast enough to break the record before it broke Barry. Equally important was Captain Jim Sugrue with Isotonic drinks and refreshments too much would make him sick; too little and he'd run out of steam…there was also the problem of cycling the course and getting the refuelling completed without slowing the pace …or crashing off the bike! Jim Sugrue also lost weight and ended up leaner and meaner as a result.
Just three kilometres from the finish, the pain really kicked in. A small hill on the turn to the final run in to the finish, almost finished Barry.
With his team forcing him on, he crossed the line. General Cripwell stopped the clock at three hours, twelve minutes, twenty-nine seconds, four minutes under the standing record.
Barry has already raised over €3000 for his charities and money is still arriving. He was full of praise for his support team who forced him on through the pain barrier to the record. Equally recognising that the support from his family and friends also fuelled his determination.
But, for Barry, who has served in BAOR, Osnabruck, Gutersloh, Herford all names that are history to the Army, and now Cyprus, he says this will be the last time he goes for the record; so he says…but will it?