Jimmy Wilding is a real marathon man – at the age of 72, he is all set to run the London Marathon.
Proving that age is no barrier to fitness, Jimmy will take to the streets of London in April to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation.
His marathon effort is in memory of his friend and running partner David Williams, who died of a heart attack at the age of 42, leaving behind him a young family.
Jimmy said:“David and I ran the London Marathon together 20 years ago – David was my trainer, guide and everything really, so I am doing this in memory of David and to raise money for the British Heart Foundation.”
Despite the cold and wet January weather, Jimmy, of Lambert Close, Hadleigh, has been keeping up with his training schedule, which has been set out by the British Heart Foundation.
He has been kept up to the task by his daughter, Kate Brett, who is now his co-runner. Herself a half-marathon runner, Kate works at Hadleigh Health Centre.
“She keeps me motivated,” said Jimmy. “She is the fast one – I just plod along really.”
His training schedule hit a setback in the autumn when he started to get a lot of nosebleeds, but he has now managed to catch up and is well on target to complete the run.
“My grandchildren think I am running with Mo Farah – they are a bit young to understand,” said Jimmy.
Jimmy’s effort is even more amazing when you consider that he had a hip replacement operation 10 years ago.
“The hip is fine,” he said. “In fact, that is the only bit of me that I can’t feel – everything hurts except the replacement hip.”
And when he puts on his running shoes in the spring, it will not be the first time Jimmy will have taken part in a major charity event.
Two-and-a-half years ago, he celebrated his 70th birthday by taking part in the End To End bike ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats in aid of a cancer charity.
He completed the ride – a distance of some 900 miles – with his friend Dick Beechener.
Jimmy is asking for people to sponsor him for the London Marathon – you can call him on 01473 822550 or log on to www.justgiving.com/jimmy-wilding.