Pensioner couple who started running in their 70s cover 22 miles a week

[metro-video id=”2673035″] Ever wonder what you’ll get up to in your retirement years? Gardening, baking, reading all of the books and hopping on a cruise every now and then seem like the most appealing options.  But for Eileen, 79 and John Hieron, 85, who took up running in their 70s, retirement is a little more energetic than relaxing. ‘I decided to give running a go in my 70s and I haven’t looked back,’ says Eileen, a retired health practitioner, from Dursley, Gloucestershire. ‘It didn’t take long to rope my husband into it too – now we both love it.’ Eileen first started running aged 72 in 2014, when she started running with a friend who was training for a marathon, and it wasn’t long before she was winning medals and reaping the health benefits.  ‘I started running the local Parkrun every Saturday, I met new friends through that and then I joined my local running club,’ she said. The pair have always been sporty (Picture: SWNS) ‘It certainly did me good, not just the running but the friendship aspect, and it’s a good de-stresser.’ Just a year later, John, aged 79 at the time, cottoned on to the rewards his wife was seeing. Now, the pair train together three times a week, completing two 4-5 mile runs, one long run of up to 12 miles and going for leisurely walks at the weekend. They’ve run a total of 8,000 miles each in the last four years, participated in road, trail and cross country events in England and completed the weekly 5km Parkrun events all over the world. Since 2018, Eileen has participated in four marathons with a personal best of 5 hours 21 minutes at the 2021 London Marathon, and was awarded sixth place at the Wanda Age Group World Championships in the 75-79 category at the London Marathon which she considers her ‘greatest achievement in running.’ ‘There’s no stopping us,’ said Eileen.  Eileen and John run up to 22 miles a week (Picture: SWNS) Eileen and John were the oldest man and woman to participate at the London Landmarks Half Marathon on 3rd April 2022. The pair were made VIP guest runners and completed the 13.1 mile race in 2hr 43:11, having set a target of 2 hours 50 minutes – a 16-minute personal best for John.  ‘There were crowds all the way around and they all sang ‘Come on Eileen’, even the drumband burst out singing the song to her,’ says the retired grain merchant.  ‘It was just wonderful, we had a fabulous day.’ The couple also volunteer as running marshals at the Wotton Parkrun to give back to the community, and John has volunteered over 80 times. John finished the London Marathon with a 16 minute personal best (Picture: SWNS) The grandparents are raising money for Parkinson’s UK, a cause close to the couple’s heart as John’s sister, Joan, 79, has lived with the condition for 20 years. The couple – who are parents to Paul, 51, and Sarah, 50, and have six granddaughters ranging from 15 to 22 – consider their ability to stay active into their 70s and 80s a blessing, and are now raising money for Parkinson’s UK. ‘John and I realise that we are lucky to still be able to run and keep active and hope to be able to do so for years to come,’ Eileen said. ‘We’ve had our health problems obviously but I’m also quite a positive person which I think is important. ‘Our friends say they’re very pleased for us. ‘They always support our efforts and came along to the virtual races in lockdown to cheer us along at the finish line.’ The couple, who met at a rugby club dance in Bristol in 1962, revealed that sport has always played an important role in their lives. The couple are raising money for Parkinson’s UK (Picture: SWNS) John said: ‘Meeting Eileen at that dance and asking her to dance with me were the most important three seconds of my life. ‘The reason for our long marriage is that we support each other in sport and all other areas of our life.’ John played for Bristol Harlequins Rugby Club during his early life and enjoyed golf and cycle racing for 30 years until his early 70s. Meanwhile, Eileen played hockey, badminton and enjoyed walking with friends. John said: ‘We each have different strengths that complement the other and we are always there for each other. [metro-tag-post-strip] Eileen added: ‘We are both from families who have had a life-long interest in all areas of sport so it was only natural that we continued to be active in our later years. ‘It’s the enthusiasm in both of us that’s kept us going.’ Do you have a story to share? Get in touch by emailing [metro-link title=”Widow finds husband’s wedding ring in garden 35 years after he lost it” url=””/] [metro-link title=”A 70-year-old ran has ‘never looked back’ since embarking on a post-retirement fitness journey” url=””/] [metro-link title=”Grandma’s fight for warm homes takes off as 350,000 sign petition for free energy” url=””/]

Pensioner couple who started running in their 70s cover 22 miles a week

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