Who are the Ever Presents who will run their 40th London Marathon on Sunday?

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2:45am, Sun 04 Oct 2020
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Ten men have run all 39 London Marathons.

The 40th will not be quite what they expected with runners choosing their own route after the coronavirus pandemic forced the mass event in central London to be scrapped this year.

Here is how they plan to achieve their 40th medal.

– The oldest Ever Present is Ken Jones, 87, who will run around his home town of Strabane, Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland.

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He aims to complete the marathon with his daughter Heather, who is also a keen runner.

Mr Jones said training had gone well “and I am feeling great”.

– Dr Malcolm “Mac” Speake, 78, is a retired GP from near Ipswich.

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He is a qualified course measurer and has planned his own 26.2 mile run.

He said it had been hard to train for the original April date and then again for October, adding: “I’m looking forward to it but I’m looking forward to getting it over.

– Charles “Len” Cousens, 78, from Lowestoft, Suffolk, retired as a barber during lockdown.

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He said it was hard to be as enthusiastic about the virtual marathon in his local area: “It’s not going to be the same, is it?”

Mr Cousens said he was not sure when the mass event would be able to return to central London: “I think this virus is going to be with us for years.”

– Roger Low, 76, from Camden Town, north London, works part-time in investor relations.

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He will run in London along a route which will take in Hyde Park and Regents Park.

“I can say I have run every single London Marathon for 40 years, that’s an accomplishment,” he said.

– Bill O’Connor, 75, will be running near his home in North Finchley, north London.

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He expects family and friends from Queen’s Park Harriers to support him and said: “I want to enjoy the day and hope it also goes well for us and we all get through it safely. I’m quite looking forward to it.”

He is raising money for the PSP Association after a neighbour died after being diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, a neurological condition caused by the premature loss of nerve cells in certain parts of the brain.

– David Walker, 75, hopes his four grandchildren Rosie, 11, Sam, eight, Olive, seven, and Flora, three, will join him to pass the finish line near his home at Chesham, Buckinghamshire.

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Mr Walker’s wife Lin will be in  charge of organising his supporters including their children Jamie, John and Hannah: “She’s been my rock, supporting me for 40 years of this.”

Mr Walker is raising money for Mesothelioma UK after the death of his friend Lyn Bowen: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/david-walker1135

– Terry Macey, 72, is a solicitor whose home and office are near the usual London Marathon start line in Blackheath, south east London.

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He plans to run to Woolwich and Greenwich, finishing with laps of Greenwich Park.

“It will just be different. There won’t be the same motivation but it will still be great,” said Mr Macey who is raising money for the NSPCC.

– Jeffrey Aston, 72, from Cardiff, is a retired IT consultant.

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He plans to run two mile laps past a friend’s flat and will finish his run at City Hospice in Cardiff: “Not finishing isn’t an option. I have just got to do the best I can.”

Mr Aston is raising money for City Hospice in Cardiff which cared for his late wife Val before her death from cancer in 2016: https://justgiving.com/fundraising/jeffaston2020

– Mike Peace, 70, is a retired headteacher from Lustleigh, near Exeter, Devon.

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He plans to run on Dartmoor and said: “I can’t really treat it as the 40th London Marathon, it’s not the same in any way shape or form.”

Mr Peace is raising money for Rowcroft Hospice in Torquay: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Mikepeace

– The youngest – and faster – Ever Present is Chris Finill, 61, from Cranleigh, Surrey who has run 37 out of 39 in under three hours.

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Mr Finill holds the world record for the most consecutive sub three-hour marathons, with 33 in London from 1981-2013 before a hamstring injury slowed him down. He fell after around three-and-a-half miles in 2018 but completed the race with his right arm in a sling in three hours and 54 minutes.

He will be running loops at Dunsfold Aerodrome which is often used by Top Gear and has been loaned to him by the Rutland Group but said he is not sure if he will finish in under three hours: “I normally go into these races being able to predict what I will run.”

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