London, Apr 11 : Ken Jones, 85, will keep his record to be the oldest man to run the London Marathon on April 28, organizers said here on Thursday.
The northern Irishman, who has run every edition of the race since the first in 1981, is now gearing up for his 39th consecutive London Marathon. "I'm in much better shape than last year," he said. "I've been swimming three times a week instead of doing as much running and that has helped.
"Besides I've got my eyes focused on next year, the 40th birthday of the London Marathon. That's a big one for me and for all the Ever Presents as it will be our 40th straight marathon." Jones's personal time in London was two hours 55 minutes which was set in 1985. Last year he finished in seven hours 50 minutes.
"In the old days my training was about an hour a day, most days, now I have to do a lot more because it takes me longer to cover the distances. I'm doing two hours of walking and jogging a day when I can.
"But I still find it fun. I might not have the speed I once had but I still love it and I still love marathon day. I walk and jog my way round, chat to different people. It's a fantastic day and I enjoy it as much as I ever did."
"We've also got a couple of women in the village who are also running the London Marathon this year for the first time and they are always asking me questions." So what are the tips? "I say, always take the training gentle, you don't want to over-do it and injure yourself and, also, compression socks. They are my secret."
The oldest female runner in this year's race is Eileen Noble from South London, who will be 84 on Race Day. Noble was also the oldest female runner last year and finished what was the hottest London Marathon in record in 6:47. She is hoping she will be a bit faster this time round.
"Last year was very hard going," she said. "It got to the point where I just wanted to make sure I got to the finish.
"My big ambition is to complete this year's race and then next year's too because that would be my 20th London Marathon - so I'm already thinking one step ahead."Noble runs four times a week and said staying fit keeps her young.