Bellew started running about ten years ago to “lose a little weight” he said. Bellew was carrying 190 pounds on his 5'9'’ frame.
“I lost the weight by getting into a routine of 3 miles per day, 4 or 5 times per week.”
After shedding the weight Bellew increased his weekly running mileage and in the process gained a love of running that has brought him to compete in five full marathons and ten half marathons.
“I was inspired by a couple of friends of mine who were running marathons and signed up for my first half marathon about 8 or 9 months before the event.”
Bellew has competed in marathons and half marathons in Huntsville, Ala., Nashville, Tn., Memphis, Tn., and Chicago Il.
“I fell in love with competing and with the atmosphere around the large events, especially.”
To prepare for the New York City Marathon Bellew has been steadily increasing his daily mileage to 45 miles a week for 18 weeks. Bellew runs those miles on the highways and backroads around his hometown of Guin, a small town in Marion County that is populated by about 2,000 people. Bellew serves on the city council and is employed at 3M as the manufacturing operations supervisor.
Bellew says the key for any marathon training program is to increase your base mileage, but to also increase your weekly long run over the period of those 18 weeks.
“I worked up to a long run of 22 miles which I completed a little less than 3 weeks ago. The last few weeks, I've been tapering to less mileage to get my strength back and to get ready for the race on this Sunday.”
For Bellew there is more to the running than just marathons. Bellew also runs to raise money for charity. This year Bellew will run the New York City Marathon as a charity partner for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a leading children's hospital pioneering research and treatments for kids with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Bellew first became involved with St. Jude during the St. Jude Memphis Marathon.
“That is my favorite race because of the cause. Since the first half marathon I ran in 2012, I've raised money for St. Jude each year as part of that race. I love the cause and that's why I enjoy the St. Jude Memphis race so much. Part of the race actually runs through the campus of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital,” Bellew said.
Bellew gained entry into the NYC marathon by pledging to raise a certain amount of money for St. Jude. “ I have many great family and friends who have helped me raise almost $4000.”
Bellew’s love and enthusiasm for running has even had an impact in the town of Guin and across Marion County. Bellew helped start a local running group that call themselves the Northwest Alabama Runaways. The group formed in 2014 and has had as many as 35 people for group-runs in Marion County and neighboring Lamar County Bellew said.
“It is a no-cost group and all are welcome to join us at anytime. The goal is to encourage anyone who's interested in running for health or competition.”
The group also runs for various charitable organizations in Northwest Alabama Bellew said.
“Several charity races in Hamilton, Sulligent, Guin, and Winfield have been planned by members raising money for various causes. Many in the group have raised money and are still raising money for St. Jude as part of the St. Jude Memphis Marathon. I estimate the impact our group has had on charitable organizations is close to $100,000 over the last several years. They've been a great encouragement to me and I appreciate the friendships I've made there.”
Today Bellew landed in New York in preparation for Sunday’s Marathon. If you would like to make a donation in Bellew’s name and help him make his goal for St. Jude, visit his link at http://heroes.stjude.org/bobbybellew.