Dean Murley

Dean Murley

When a couple of Dean Murley’s work colleagues challenged him to run a half marathon back in 2008, they had no clue what they were setting into motion. At the time, Dean, who is married with two children and directs a market research firm in Harpenden, England, was an overweight smoker and self-described heavy drinker. He accepted the challenge as a joke, but come race day the joke was on him: It took Dean 2 hours and 45 excruciating minutes to cover those 13.1 miles, and he crossed the finish line vowing “never again.”

Never say never, though, right? Despite the rough start, Dean kept on running, but his progress was slow. He completed his first marathon in 5:32 and his second in 4:57, and although his subsequent marathons were faster, he continued to hit the wall in the late miles every time.

In 2019, in the hoping of escaping this frustrating pattern, Daen gave the 80/20 approach a try, and that’s when he got the last laugh. In November of that year he ran a half marathon in 1:25, and he followed up the performance in October 2020 with a Boston-qualifying 3:08 marathon at age 45. “Although I ran the first 10K too fast and had to drop the pace for the final 10K, I felt in pretty decent control and didn’t hit the wall as I had in all previous marathons,” Dean says. “I felt great.”

No word on how things are going for Dean’s former work colleagues.