A NORTH Herefordshire running club refuses to see age as a barrier with members continuing to compete past their 70s.
Croft Ambrey Running Club has seven very active runners over 70, and an eighth who is the hub of running organisation in Herefordshire.
Many of these intrepid 70 year olds have been running since the club’s inception in the early 1980s, and even then they were already ‘veterans’.
Not only is there quantity in veteran runners at the club, but many compete nationally and internationally.
Ashley Robinson has made his mark in the standard duathlon – becoming English, British and now European champion at the event, as well as winning a bronze medal in Spain in the world championships.
He will soon be representing England in the half marathon.
Meanwhile, Guy Whitmarsh prefers the hills, and became European over 75 champion in the mountain running championships in the Czech Republic this year, as well as being England reserve for his age group in the home countries cross country.
Brian Davies has run 12 consecutive Gloucester marathons, and 19 consecutive Snowdonia marathons in his long life, with a personal best of 2 hours 38 minutes and 24 seconds in the London Marathon.
At 77 he still turns out for the gruelling 6.5 mile Croft Castle Cross Country every year.
Younger brother Tom has completed the tough Snowdonia marathon a mere 17 times.
Alongside Gary Gunner and Guy, the trio won a bronze medal in the national masters relay races as over 65s.
Gary has made his niche in fell racing, where he has twice been All Wales over 70 champion, and South Wales champion too, as well as alternating with Guy as age group winner in the Shropshire summer and winter fell series.
Ian Price, one of the younger 70 year olds, has not only won his age category in the 15 mile Offa’s Dyke race and the Hereford half marathon this year, but has also monopolised the gold medal in his age group over the last three years in the Herefordshire Winter Cross Country series.
And finally, the doyen of the group – 79-year-old Bryan Markham, still competes in local cross country races, regularly runs the Ludlow parkrun, enters triathlons and hopes to set numerous records as an 80 year old.
But without ‘retired’ Mike Blenkinsop at the hub of not only club competitions and training, but also many events in the county, so many of these achievements would not have come about.