From Park Run to Marathon

In February 2019 we had the pleasure of welcoming a guest from the USA to one of our Sunday club runs. Little did we know just how much of an impact that run would have.

Where it all began – Danny (Left) at Salisbury Parkrun Feb. 2019

Danny Sullivan was invited by Nick Sage (One of our founder members and Run Leaders) to experience the phenomenon of Parkrun, whist he was visiting the UK. Danny had never ran a Parkrun or considered running as a hobby. The following week Danny would consolidate his experience at Salisbury Parkrun with his first experience running with a club.

Since then Danny really got into running, becoming a member of Shrewton Running Club and carrying it on back home……

Gradually Danny built up the distance and grew to love his new hobby… He went on to enter various events, including a Half Marathon.

Not settling for that, Danny set his sights even higher by entering “The Big Sur” Marathon in California. This event is not for the feint hearted, so would be a huge goal.

Sadly, as with many events (ours included) the race got cancelled due to Coronavirus. However, having put so much effort in to his training, Danny made the decision to do the distance on his own….

In the early hours of Sunday, April the 26th (California time) Danny and his family set out on his epic journey… From Parkrun to Marathon in just over a year! Danny might have been expecting bigger crowds on the day as “The Big Sur” Marathon is a big event. Today, however could not be further from that and the streets would be quiet. His family were there at key points with support and encouragement, and even created a finish line.

For large parts however, he would be plodding the streets on his own…

Danny at the finish line with his Medal – 26.2 miles solo effort

After a 0500 hrs start with a head torch Danny came home with a 4hrs 14 minutes finish time. The early start was to avoid the heat of California, doubtless had he been in the event, and with the extra boost from large crowds and PA systems… He might have even gone sub 4 for his first effort.

Training for a marathon takes significant effort, and running it in an event does help ease the pain and help distract you from the tedium, but to do your first marathon on your own does warrant extra kudos. We salute you Danny.


Thank you everyone, especially you Nick, for getting me going with all this. From Parkrun on a Saturday, to “come out to a club run” the next, then before I knew it, it became a happy habit.