GARY PATTRICK has no cartilage in his knees but says the best pain medicine will be running his 98th marathon next weekend.
''One day I hope to win the 100-year-old age category in a marathon,'' the 62-year-old warrant officer said.
He will be one of thousands taking part in the Australian Running Festival on April 13 and 14, which incorporates the Canberra Times-sponsored marathon, half-marathon, ultra marathon and fun runs for all abilities, from serious runners to joggers, pushers and walkers.
Mr Pattrick ran his first marathon on Mother's Day 1983 with no preparation, other than the knowledge that he knew he could run 10 kilometres.
''For the first 35km I felt great,'' he said.
''Then I hit the wall and in the last 7km I felt like I was dying. I had never experienced this feeling before.''
He survived and these days suggests no one should take up marathon running the way he did. There is no solid connective tissue in his knee joints, only what he describes as ''a paste''.
''Is it because I run? Who knows? What I do know is if I don't run, the joints will stiffen.
''Running is a medicine, or at least a placebo.
''[My sore knee joints] are a small price to pay for being fit. My motto is use it or lose it.''
This year will be his sixth Canberra marathon.
His long-distance running hero is another Canberran, Rob de Castella, who was winning races around the world when Mr Pattrick was starting his running.
Running Festival entries are now closed. All positions for the half and full marathon were filled.