The Cowtown and The City of Lights both on radar for award-winning massage therapist

Cyril Russell will one day run a full marathon and take in all the experiences of the adventure of a classic romantic tale.

But for such an occasion, he wants the backdrop to be a special place.

“Probably Paris,” said Russell, 45, a native son, not of the outpost at the western edge of Texas’ Piney Woods, but rather of Europe’s City of Lights.

So, Russell is accelerating his running experiences and is going big in 2018.

He’s jumping straight to the Cowtown ultra-marathon, his first attempt at 31 miles.

That’s as bold as a bite of salsa at Los Asaderos on the North Side.

“Hopefully, the marathon will feel easy after that … or easier,” Russell said. “The training plan has been fantastic. I’ve been following it to the letter. I trust the plan and I trust my body.

“I’m getting more excited as we get closer. Some apprehension, but in a good way. I’m happy it’s coming to a realization.”

The 40th Cowtown marathon, ultra-marathon, and half-marathon will be run on Feb. 25. The event’s 5K and 10K are set for Feb. 24.

Russell, a Fort Worth resident, is an award-winning massage therapist, who found cycling as a 20-something and later triathlons. That’s where he picked up running.

Russell has completed 17 full triathlons and 17 half-marathons.

He was lured to living an active lifestyle more than two decades ago by the fear of becoming a couch potato.

“My training and my job are connected. Watching people injured makes me want to train better, and I can educate them on training better.”

A calf injury slowed Russell’s running regimen last year. He did other things as he let it heal. Once healed, he hungered for a “big challenge.”

He had shoes personally fitted for his foot and joined a training group at Fort Worth Running Company coached by Tamara Ogle.

“From there I followed the plan. I would so encourage people to join a group. That’s the way to go. It’s really been an amazing experience. I’m running more than I ever have and I’m enjoying it.

“I’ve lost 19 pounds, and I’m in better shape than before my last full ironman in 2015 in Arizona.”

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