Marathon man — Jim Parker

23 September 2016

Jim Parker in his running outfitJim Parker is gearing up to run a remarkable 38th Isle of Wight Marathon, at the age of 71!

Jim only began running the Isle of Wight’s annual race in his thirties, but has since returned every year to the Isle of Wight to complete the marathon.

‘I don’t know why I keep going back! I think this year could be my last one though. I’m 71 after all. The training is becoming more and more effort.’— Jim Parker

Isle be back

Though it’ll be his 38th attempt on the Isle of Wight, Jim says he’s lost count of how many marathons he’s done over the years.

‘I only count the Isle of Wight ones. It must be in the order of 100 in all.

Jim has also run several ultramarathons — any race longer than 26.2 miles.

‘I’ve run the London to Brighton race 12 times, which is about 53 to 55 miles. And I’ve also run three 62 mile races.

‘But I keep picking the Isle of Wight Marathon because unlike the London one, there’s no hullabaloo around it. I can just get on with it.

‘I like that it’s one of the oldest runs in the country, starting way before the London Marathon. There’s only usually 200-250 runners.

‘The organisers know me there now and say "back again?" when they see me.

‘But there’s actually another runner, Malcolm, who’s almost run as many marathons as me. So that has kept me coming back, I can’t have him doing more!’

Jim will be raising money for our care home Heatherley in Copthorne, where he and his wife have volunteered.

Never wave the Wight flag

No matter how many times he runs the marathon, he still finds it tough-going.

‘The Isle of Wight is by no means flat, it’s quite hilly and running there is very strenuous.’

‘Only twice have I failed to finish, one time I was running with an injury and the other time my leg let me down half way through. I thought to myself: I could hop a mile or so, but not 20!’

Last year Jim ran the marathon in 4 hours and 44 minutes, but back in his late thirties he ran it in just under three hours.

What his fundraising has achieved

Jim's wife remains supportive despite the number of marathons he's run!

‘She’s given up on me.

‘Just joking, she has done the odd marathon too and she’s still very into fitness and keeping active.’

Last year Jim raised £1,700 for Heatherley, which went towards their ‘operation refurb’ to develop the existing physiotherapy and activities departments.

This year his money will be going towards the garden project to improve the garden areas outside the residents’ bedrooms.

If you would like to support Jim's incredible efforts, please visit Jim's JustGiving page.

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