Pereira’s completion of six marathon majors all in a half-decade’s work

Tony Pereira of Newtown holds up his two prized medals at April's Boston Marathon.

      While running all six Abbott Marathon Majors has been accomplished by some 17,000 runners, how many of have done so in just five years?

      Newtown’s Tony Pereira has.

      Pereira ran the Boston Marathon last month to complete the challenge. Thing is, the 55-year-old Newtown resident also has hit the finish line in Berlin, Chicago, New York, London and Tokyo all since 2019.

      That in itself is pretty amazing but when you consider he had to battle through the pandemic, which was tough enough to some 25-year-old let alone a guy who’s on the north side of 50, that makes it extra special.

      “There has to be a beginning to everything,” he said with a chuckle during a recent telephone conversation. “This past one at Boston was perhaps the most challenging because you have to qualify (in a previous timed marathon event).

      “Once I did the first one in Berlin I thought, ‘why not do the rest?’ I would have gotten (all six) done sooner but things (due to the pandemic) had to be adjusted. But it is what it is.”

      Getting to faraway places such as Tokyo to run 26.2 miles presents its own set of unique circumstances.

      “That was probably the most challenging one,” Pereira said. “Just the logistics of getting there. Even once you get there, it takes you a few days to get acclimated (to the time difference, etc.). It’s a tough race that you just want to complete. For most runners, they just want to check that one off the list.”

      Most of Pereira’s marathon times are in the 3:20s, excellent for someone his age.

      The chance to match those times up against some of the best athletes in the world was too good to pass up.

      “I think completing the Abbott marathons is something unique,” said Pereira, who operates a construction business in Langhorne. “It’s just a great feeling to run these marathons overseas. It almost feels like you hold the keys to the city everywhere you go.

      “Especially when you go to places like London, Berlin. The people really come out for the marathon. Everybody knows what’s going on and you’re like a celebrity everywhere you go.”

      One would never guess Pereira didn’t take up running until 2016. He had been a very good athlete in sports such as soccer in his younger years but didn’t have much of a track record in the running business.

      “I walked out the door one day and said, ‘why not?’ So I ran a mile,” he recalled. “One thing led to another. I mean, you have to start somewhere.”

      A native of Portugal, Pereira arrived in the United States with his family when he was only 10 years old. He quickly picked up command of the English language as a youngster in Philadelphia.

      Later, he graduated from St. John Neumann High School and Temple University.

      Pereira is the second Bucks County resident to recently complete the Abbott feat. New Britain’s Nancy Smith checked London off her list to earn her special medal.

      Now it looks like Abbott will make it seven marathons with the probable addition of Sydney, Australia in 2025. So it looks like a couple of locals will be making the long trek Down Under to keep their running resumes up to date.

      “Sydney’s going to happen, I’m pretty sure they’re going to make the announcement later this fall,” Pereira said.

      Getting his Six Star Finisher medal at Boston provided an emotional moment for Pereira.

      “You let them know in advance and they have your medal waiting for you,” he said. “It was very gratifying. You put so much work into everything.”

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Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.