© Jim Day
Carla Hayes, left, shares a beer Saturday night with friend Carol Paul before tackling the P.E.I. Marathon Sunday. The pair like to run marathons as part of their vacations to different locales.
Like many tourists, Carla Hayes likes to take in plenty of the sights when visiting a new locale.
One way she gets a good snapshot of a destination is by lacing up her sneakers and running a marathon.
Hayes, 49, a recycling officer with a local government in England, has paced her way (she typically completes a 42-kilometre trek in five-and-a-half hours) through many races as part of a vacation in places like Jamaica, Malaysia, Africa, and the Caribbean.
“We’re not serious runners,’’ she notes, glancing towards friend and fellow marathoner/world traveller Carol Paul the day before the pair took on the Prince Edward Island Marathon Sunday.
“We run for fun. We’re running tourists.’’
Hayes generally builds a trip around a marathon, commonly spending a week, usually working in a marathon a couple days into the vacation.
“The best way to see a city is to run a marathon,’’ says Hayes.
She is not, she explains, so much intent on trying to tally a large number of marathons as much as she is looking to build up a heap of memorable tourist experiences.
Still, Hayes, a mother of three, has racked up a lot of runs along the way. Sunday was her 200th marathon after easing into the challenge a couple decades ago.
She ran her first marathon in 1992, took a big break before running her next two in 1998 and yet another seven-year hiatus before completing her fourth marathon in 2005.
In 2007, she really got into a groove of pounding the pavement, running 32 marathons that year. Her 100th marathon was completed in 2009 in the Isle of Man.
Hayes is quick to point out that the large number of marathons now behind her pale in comparison to some of her fellow 100 Marathon Club friends.
Paul, for instance, ran her 175th marathon Sunday in P.E.I. continuing in her ongoing pursuit to “see some lovely places, meet some wonderful people.’’
Hayes also often travels with Dave and Linda Major, who hold the Guinness World Record for running the most marathons as a married couple. The pair is approaching a mind-boggling 1,000 marathons.
Asked to name her most memorable marathon/vacation, Hayes notes each place has its own character.
She describes the run in Virginia as the prettiest.
The boisterously supportive crowd that lines the marathon route in London makes this race her favourite.
The most grueling run was in Denver, Colorado, an off-road marathon over gravel, rocks and up and down mountains.
Following tradition, Hayes planned to cap off her run Sunday — her 10th in Canada, her first in P.E.I. and 200th overall — with a few beers.
“That’s the best time to have it,’’ she says.