A teacher from Solihull School has joined an elite group of runners, who have successfully completed an impressive global marathon challenge.
Clare Bovill has achieved the much sought-after World Marathon Majors 6 Star Award, which involves successfully completing marathons in Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York.
The singing teacher moved to Solihull when her son Jonathan, now 27, was a baby, and decided that to lose her baby weight she would need to get fit, so joined Sparkhill Harriers running club in Birmingham.
She completed a number of half marathons and resolved to run a full marathon before she turned 30. Over the following few years, she entered and conquered the London Marathon six times.
Miss Bovill later contemplated giving up marathons but, as her passion for running had got her through a traumatic period in her life, and after she received some subtle encouragement, she decided to take part in the New York Marathon.
Running with 50,000 others, Miss Bovill secured an excellent time, which made her eligible to compete in Boston, which she ran in 2015. In 2018, she took on Chicago, followed by Tokyo in March this year and she finished the challenge triumphantly in Berlin on 29 September.
Miss Bovill said: “There are only just over 200 women in the UK who have achieved the 6 Star Award so I am delighted and I feel it really is a huge achievement.
“The road to Tokyo was hard as I picked up an Achilles injury which took many months of physiotherapy to rectify. Not being able to do a fraction of the training I would normally do, I substituted it for the new skill of swimming.
“I had learned to swim at school but could only do breast stroke. Thankfully Dan Super, who is a member of the Solihull School PE staff, taught me how to swim front crawl properly and it was fantastic exercise while my injury healed.
“Even when I was not able to train enough, I was determined that I would not give up on my 6 Star Award dream.
“The moment I realised I had completed all six of the world’s major marathons was one I will never forget.”
Not happy to rest on her laurels however, Miss Bovill and her son Jonathan, who, along with his siblings Douglas and Olivia, is also a keen runner, have set themselves another challenge – to gain Guinness World Record glory.
She said: “Jonathan did some research and found out there is a record for the fastest father and son to run a half marathon but not for a mother and son.
“But that didn’t put him off and he contacted Guinness to register our attempt for a new record in this year’s Great Birmingham Run.
“Sadly this race had to be shortened due to a security alert so our attempt could not be counted, but we are determined to give it another go and are now on the lookout for other opportunities.
“I have encouraged all three of my children to participate in running for the same reasons as I love it – it’s cheap, convenient and makes you feel great!”