82-year-old Mick's marathon challenge for 2018
An 82-year-old Peterborough jogger has vowed to take on the London Marathon for the 21st time after admitting his disappointment with his time this year - if his wife will let him.
Mick Russell, from Bardney, Orton Goldhay, completed the course in seven hours last month after suffering an injury part way round.
Mick, a great-grandad who has completed 20 London marathons - and nine others - said: “I was very lucky to get a place in the marathon - it was only thanks to the kindness of someone from Yaxley Runners who gave me their ballot place at quite late notice that I could take part.
“I didn’t get much chance to train or prepare.
“The most I had run in the preparation was six miles, so I knew I was going to struggle.”
While he knew he was not aiming to beat his personal best time of three hours and 10 minutes, he did have a target.
He said: “I wanted to get a time of around five hours to five and a half hours. That would be an automatic qualifying time for my age group.
“I would like to redeem myself next year, but my wife has said ‘that’s it, that’s your last one’.
“I will see nearer the time, and if I can get a place.
“I still run eight or nine miles a couple of times a week, and hopefully I might be able to get a bit more preparation in.
“I take part in the Park Runs at Ferry Meadows, and play table tennis with the newly formed Orton Table Tennis Club.
Mick, who said one of his disappointments in his long running career was never breaking the three hour barrier for the marathon, said he was struggling with an appendix problem, which struck at around Tower Bridge. His final time was more than five hours slower than the recent two-hour marathon record
Mick said: “I did terrible. With the problem I had, I had to walk from Tower Bridge to the end.
“I knew I was going to finish, and just had to get round.
“The crowd were marvellous, and the support was brilliant.”
Mick has been running since the 1970s, and he started when serving in the Royal Air Force, completing the Swinderby marathon in his best time. He competed for the RAF across the world in various disciplines, including racewalking, steeplechase and cross country running.
During his time in Peterborough he has become a well known face on the running circuit, and represented a number of athletics clubs, including Nene Valley Harriers, Royal Mail Peterborough, Stamford Harriers, Bushfield Joggers and Yaxley Runners.
He was also one of the runners who carried the Olympic Torch through Peterborough ahead of the London 2012 Olympics, as well as relaying the Queen’s Message for three different Commonwealth Games.