OVERCOMING HEALTH ISSUES TO RUN 300 MARATHONS AT AGE 70
My running journey began back in 2003 following a sledging accident which resulted in a right ankle fracture requiring surgery and my previous weight history – over 24 stone. This made me realise I needed to drastically change my life and improve both health and fitness.
I first started running in May 2003, and managed to complete my first marathon (London) in April 2004, having lost half my body weight. Fast forward 20 years and 2033 will be my 20th year running the London marathon consecutively. In 2006, partly due to genetic family history and previous weight issues, I was diagnosed with severe spinal and degenerative joint arthritis. This subsequently required multiple decompression lower spine surgeries from 2006 to 2020.
In 2016 I also had a total left knee replacement and right shoulder replacement in 2018. Despite these health issues, I remain undeterred in the face of challenge and am determined to continue running. I am really motivated by targets; for instance, I aimed to complete 60 marathons before my 60th birthday. Having met that goal, I continued on to complete my 100th Marathon in Brighton, April 2022, and to date have now managed to complete 118 Marathons in total (24 of them being in 2022). Additionally, I have been doing a number of continuous 100 km ultra marathons.
My motivation and enjoyment of running has inspired me to set a new target to reach 300 marathons by my 70th birthday. However, I now think that at this rate, I will be closer to 400 by then! Having had multiple surgeries, I have had to use a run/walk strategy. Although this inevitably impacts my speed, to me, my mission is to set an example to other – especially older – runners and maintain a positive attitude. My message to others is that despite health issues, running/walking is an excellent way of keeping fit and healthy. My advice to others is to keep going and keep aiming high.
I am very much looking forward to joining Manchester Marathon in 2023 where I will be supporting two charities – United Response, a learning disability charity in support of my brother in law and SASH charity, (East Surrey Hospital), where I have been working as a Nursing Assistant.
I am looking forward to joining the Manchester Marathon because of the friendly and inclusive atmosphere it promotes, along with the people and organisers who are hugely friendly and so supportive. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the organisers of Manchester for allowing me to share my story, and to family/friends/work for encouraging me and supporting me all the way in my continuing running journey.