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Respecting our Elders

by kirsty
Friday 21st June 2013
Tags  Kirsty Reade   |   Geoff Jackson   |   Dave Parsons   |   Wendy Dodds   |   Dragons Back

Kirsty Reade takes some inspiration from her fellow runners and tells the under 60s to man up!

There’s a guy in my running club who’s utterly consistent in his training, puts his best effort into every session, never scrimps on his reps (last week I was clearing the cones away but he was still going) and is smashing PBs left, right and centre. The mental image this probably gives you is a sickeningly young hot shot, but would it surprise you to learn that the man in question is 82 years old?

Geoff Jackson is a legend in these parts and rightly so. He’s run many marathons, half marathons, 10ks and parkruns and, while he’s had to accept that there are some things he can’t do as easily any more, he’s never imposed any limits on himself because of his age and he’s continued to set himself reasonable targets. One of these targets was a sub 30 minute parkrun, which he recently achieved, only to knock an incredible 25 seconds off his new PB a couple of weeks later! He also set a new 10k PB a few weeks ago. I really feel that there’s no stopping him and he’s a total inspiration to everybody in our club.

Geoff Jackson - a legend!

Photo: Geoff Jackson - a legend!

At Geoff’s parkrun (Abingdon – it’s a great parkrun, you should try it www.parkrun.org.uk/abingdon/) there’s a vet 65 called Dave Parsons who runs astonishing times (he set a 5k PB of 18.20 in 2011) and his age grading is through the roof! He leaves men and women 40 years his junior in his wake, all through hard work, commitment and determination (concepts which are available to all of us at any age!). Incredibly the world record for running a marathon over the age of 70 is 2.54 and over 80 is 3.15. Both are held by Ed Whitlock who when interviewed seems incredulous that more people aren’t doing it.

And it’s by no means just the men who are putting youngsters to shame. I recently watched the excellent documentary on the Dragon’s Back race (buy the DVD here: www.dragonsbackrace.com/shop/) and the star of the documentary for me was Wendy Dodds. Wendy is a legend in fell running circles and she completed the 2012 Dragon’s Back Race (I cannot stress to you how hard this is – 5 days, 300km, 17,000 metres of ascent, self-navigated across mountainous terrain!) at the age of 61. Men half her age were dropping like flies but Wendy carried on to complete one of the toughest races in the world.

If you look around you at any parkrun or race there are plenty of people in their 60s, 70s, 80s putting all the youngsters to shame. And yet I hear so many people in their 30s and 40s saying ‘that’s it now, I’m past my peak, I’m never going to get any quicker’. Well maybe if you’re at the elite end that’s true but for the rest of us maybe we should take a bit of inspiration from older and wiser runners like Geoff, who strongly believes that you get out what you put in. Older runners, we salute you and we’re sorry that we’re such wimps! Come on under 60s, man up!


About The Author

Kirsty Reade

I’d describe myself as borderline obsessed with running, racing, reading about running, and watching others run so hopefully I’m fairly typical of Run247’s visitors. I tend to do longer races, particularly off-road marathons and ultras, but am pretty much a fan of any distance. I'm passionate about helping runners of all levels to improve through running communities I'm involved in, such as Underground Ultra and Free Range Runners. 


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