Arundel runner Rupert Guiel was the youngest competitor from a field of more than 50,000 to take part in yesterday's New York City Marathon.
Rupert, who turned 18 the day before the race, tackled the 26.2-mile course with his father, David. The pair are both members of Arunners Running Club and it was Rupert’s first-ever marathon.
The 18-year-old finished in a time of 3hr 41min 05sec and afterwards admitted taking part was a surreal experience.
Both Rupert and his father flew out on Thursday, before other family members joined them to give support over the weekend.
Having completed just one half-marathon prior to the race in New York, Rupert believes it will be difficult to top the all-round experience of the biggest competition of its kind worldwide.
He said: “This is certainly a birthday I will never forget. In the build-up to the marathon I found out I would be the youngest to compete this year as I turned 18 just a day before the race.
“It’s definitely an experience I’ll never forget being part of and something I’m really proud to say I have done.
“I flew out with my dad on Thursday but, as a surprise, some more family came out a few days later. It was a real shock to see them in the lobby of my hotel before I went to take part in the race.
“A marathon is always something I’ve wanted to do, so I looked in advance what races were nearest to my birthday. As it turned out, New York fell a day before my birthday and it just went from there.”
For Rupert’s father David, it was the 13th marathon of his career, which he managed to finish in a time of 4:22:26.
The pair were not in the same wave, so David did not start until around 30 minutes after his son had set off.
David, 50, took part in the Barcelona Marathon for his 50th birthday and was pleased to mark another special occasion in the family by tackling another 26.2-mile course.
He said: “This is certainly something the family will never forget.
“I saw Rupert setting off, as he was in an earlier wave to me, and I was quite emotional, if I’m honest.
“It was great seeing Rupert after the race knowing that we’d both finished.”
After finishing his first marathon, Rupert is still undecided whether he will take on the challenge of another one in the future.
He said: “I’m still recovering from my first one at the minute, I think it’s too early to say I’ll do another one again for certain.
“It was such a surreal experience with the roar from the crowd as I went around.
“There were so many entries but it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting in terms of congestion on the course. It’s something I’ll never forget.”