‘I’m a 76 year-old Brummie and I've run every London Marathon since it launched in 1981’

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A retired systems analyst from Birmingham tells us about being in the exclusive London Marathon “ever present club”

He’s the 76-year-old Brummie who has run every London Marathon since the first in 1981.

Jeffrey Ralph Aston is one of six members of the exclusive London Marathon "ever present club" - meaning that he has run every event since the inaugural race in 1981.

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On Sunday April 21, 2024, Jeffrey ran his 44th London Marathon with a time of eight hours and six minutes, a two minute improvement from last year's race. In 1983 he ran his personal best - 2hrs 29 mins and 34 seconds.

Being in such an exclusive club is a big sense of pride for Jeffrey, who says that it is a privilege to be in such an elite group. Jeffrey, a retired systems analyst said: "It's just pleasing to be part of such a group. A huge privilege.

"It's a club no one else can join, for obvious reasons, and we are all just ordinary guys from all walks of life that have done the same thing. The oldest member retired after last years event at 91!"

Jeffrey Ralph Aston, 76, runs his 44th London Marathon on April 21 2024Jeffrey Ralph Aston, 76, runs his 44th London Marathon on April 21 2024
Jeffrey Ralph Aston, 76, runs his 44th London Marathon on April 21 2024

Jeffrey's first ever marathon, called the People's Marathon, was in May 1980 in Birmingham and ever since then he's had the marathon bug. He ran about five races that year, three of which were marathons.

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By the end of 1980, Jeffrey read an advert in a magazine for the first ever London Marathon. So he filled out the entry form and got accepted. Fast forward to 1995 and the London marathon identified 42 people who had run every London Marathon to that date.

They received letters, a special commemorative medal, a sweatshirt and guaranteed acceptance for future London Marathons. Of the 42, only six remain, and all of them ran and finished the 2024 edition of the marathon.

Jeffrey Ralph Aston, 76, with his friend and trainer, Ed MorrisJeffrey Ralph Aston, 76, with his friend and trainer, Ed Morris
Jeffrey Ralph Aston, 76, with his friend and trainer, Ed Morris

But even after finishing his 44th London Marathon, Jeffrey still has no plans to retire and can't wait for next year's event. He said: "I love it as much as I did the first day I started running in the Autumn of 1979.

"Doing a marathon is more than just the day too, lots of work goes in beforehand and it gives me something to work towards. I do probably around 20 races a year but I only run one marathon a year. For my physical and mental wellbeing and fitness, it helps me so much."

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Although the marathons are not necessarily about the times anymore for Jeffrey, he still has that competitive spirit and wants to shave off as many seconds as he can still.

He said: "My personal best was in 1983 when I ran 2hrs 29 mins and 34 seconds. Now people say to me, it's amazing that you're still running it, which is true, but I would like to get back every second I can, closer to 7.5 hours maybe."

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