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Eastern Ontario athlete to run in 200th marathon during Ottawa Race Weekend

UPDATE: Wendell Lafave completed his 200th marathon with a time of 5:08:14.

An eastern Ontario runner is attempting to hit a milestone this weekend, embarking on his 200th race during Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.

Wendell Lafave has finished marathons across Canada, and around the world.

Lafave has a daily routine: a quick run up his street and onto the Peanut Line trail in Williamstown.

"I didn't really get going until 54 or so, twenty years, 74, so there we are," Lafave smiled.

Lafave will be 74 this year, and on Sunday he will attempt his 200th marathon.

"You set a target and, the thing is, it puts pressure on yourself, but you got to do it so this Sunday will be the end of that target," Lafave said.

Lafave entered his first marathon back in 1984 after rehabbing a broken leg he sustained playing hockey.

"I started in 1977 just to get in shape and get the leg back. I started doing a little bit of jogging," he said. "By 1984, I was in shape enough to do a marathon and I did my very first marathon, the Montreal International Marathon in September of '84."

It would take him 19 years to run his second marathon, after competing in shorter 5K and 10K races.

"(We took a) bus trip to Washington D.C. and I ran that in the end of October of 2003, and that kicked off my journey to 200," Lafave said,

He has been setting running targets ever since, completing marathons in all 10 Canadian provinces, and in all 50 U.S. states.

He's run the 50 states twice.

Wendell Lafave's award for completing marathons in all 50 U.S. states twice. (Nate Vandermeer/CTV News Ottawa)

"In the meantime, I got hooked into the continents and worked on the continents and so we achieved the seven continents," he added.

That's right, he has even run a marathon in Antarctica, and he's also a six-star medal holder, which honours runners who have completed the 6 major marathons around the world, including Berlin and Tokyo.

Medals from Wendell Lafave's marathons on all seven continents. (Nate Vandermeer/CTV News Ottawa)

"He's goal-oriented unlike me," quipped his wife Sheila. "So if he sets a goal, he's going to achieve it."

Shelia has always been by his side during the past 20 years, and is also a runner herself, completing 69 marathons, including in all 50 states.

Sheila and Wendell Lafave after a marathon in St. Louis, Miss. (Supplied)

Now she mostly helps Wendell out with the logistics of his events around the world.

"I do all the research for getting places, getting registered, finding the hotel," she said.

"I always said that I started running to travel, he's travels to run!" she laughed. "He goes to Antarctica on a quick trip; he went to Berlin on a quick trip just to get it done. I didn't bother."

Sheila refers to him as the energizer bunny because he just doesn't quit.

As for his health, she says he's been lucky too.

"It's a culmination," she said. "Lots of sleep, good food, yeah, just luck. He's never been in a hospital, never broken anything except that ankle that got him started in all of this, but he's just healthy, just lucky I guess."

Wendell credits his active lifestyle for his endurance, playing multiple different sports for many years.

"The knees have stayed strong and you need good health and a body that stands up," he said. "Of the 200 marathons, Sunday will be the 200th, I've finished every one I've started."

"I've been very fortunate health wise, and the training, we often talk about the marathons, but the training, you've got to be a steady trainer when you're doing that many over the 20 year period and I've been good to do the training," Wendell said.

Both runners are members of the Cornwall Multisport Club, and Wendell competed in the Victoria Day Chase on Monday.

They say the club inspires them to continue running, as they get to meet new people who enjoy the sport at each event.

But Wendell admits after Sunday's race, it might be time to slow down.

"I've pretty well got all the major running targets out of the way so maybe we'll just relax a bit," he noted.

That is, unless, there is a city or country Sheila hasn't been too.

"I can get him anywhere if there's a marathon," she smiled. Top Stories

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