Sporting success and ‘emotional’ epilepsy journey charted in ultra-distance runner's books

A former ultra-distance runner, who thought nothing of running 150 miles non-stop until a knee replacement caused him to retire, has notched up yet another achievement by publishing three books in as many months.

Glyn Marston has written three books in as many months and says his epilepsy doesn’t hold him back from achieving his goals
Glyn Marston has written three books in as many months and says his epilepsy doesn’t hold him back from achieving his goals

They tell of how he went from pounding the pavements to pedal-power and how he came to terms with epilepsy.

Glyn Marston, aged 58, decided to put pen to paper during lockdown and tell the story of how he took up ultra-distance running to help him focus after quitting smoking and how then a knee replacement forced his retirement from the sport.

However, the father-of-two, who hails from Willenhall and who is an asbestos surveyor in property services for the National Health Service, was determined not let this hold him back and he went out and bought a competition bicycle and decided to take to the saddle to take part in long distance cycle events.

Glyn also managed to do all this while coming to terms with epilepsy after first being diagnosed with the condition at the age of only 14 in 1977.

He is well-known locally for his sporting adventures and achievements but will also be known by many people as the person who in June 2014 was chosen to unveil a plaque at the local library which bears a flag specially designed for Willenhall.

Glyn said: “The first book, published earlier this year, entitled The Rise and Fall of An Ultra Distance Runner, tells the story of how I decided to quit smoking in 1993 through to where I was forced to quit because of a right knee replacement.

“It all started with me wanting to get fit after the birth of one of my children and I chose to run as something to focus on and took part in the 1994 Marathon.

“An ultra distance runner is someone who completes distances beyond that of a marathon and I used to run 150 miles non-stop.

“I represented Great Britain in the Spart Athlon, which saw runners going over three mountains and completing 153 miles from Athens to Sparta, in 2004 and was one of only two British people taking part in the event and we were both from Walsall.

“I used to write for different sports magazines and during lockdown put the stories together and included details of my personal life.

“I became addicted to running and put it before everything else at personal cost.

“The second book I have had published is called Finding Freddie – The (Alternative) Paris, Brest, Paris Story and it is something I started writing before lockdown.

“After being forced to retire from running because of a knee replacement in 2007 I decided to buy a competition bicycle and started doing long distance cycling.

“I travelled from John O’Groats to Lands End in 2009 and 2010.

“I was in training for a huge event for the cycling community in France and completed three of four qualifiers but then learned I had not done a pre-registered event and was disappointed to be told I would not be able to take part.

“Instead I decided to go with two friends as support from Calais to the statue of Freddie Mercury, from Queen, which overlooks Lake Geneva.”

Now as a departure from his previous books on sporting achievements Glyn has published his third book which he described as his “most emotional”.

He said: “It is titled 1977 My First Year of Epilepsy and details how my mother’s sister died in an epileptic seizure when she was only 14 in 1961. This was 18 months before I was born and my parents always reminded me of the aunt I never knew. But in 1977 I was diagnosed with epilepsy.

“I am on medication for life for epilepsy and am determined to show people that they should not let things stop them doing what they want to do.”

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