Great Yarmouth man’s birthday marathon

David Kelf's birthday did not fall on the date of the London Marathon or any of the world's other great running events come to that.

So the lifelong athlete had to rack his brains to find a fitting way to celebrate reaching retirement age - and struck upon the idea of running a kilometre for every year of his life.

Taking over Great Yarmouth's Wellesley Ground running track for yesterday's landmark occasion, rather than hiring a more normal party venue, he embarked on his ultra-marathon at 8am and completed the 65km (162 laps of the track) at 5.40pm.

Mr Kelf, of Cliff Hill, Gorleston, was joined every step of the way by running pal and fellow Gorleston Parkrun organiser Ira Smith, of Hawkins Avenue, Yarmouth, who was 65 himself in February.

Other local runners and Mr Kelf's son Tim, 31, a research physicist, joined them for a few laps to keep up their morale in depressingly rainy conditions.

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Mr Kelf, a retired meteorologist who worked at the Met Office alongside Michael Fish and Jack Scott, said: 'People might think I could have done a better job ordering the weather. In fact the Met Office forecast has been spot on and we have know what the weather was going to be like for the past four days.'

Dedicating his effort to the nurses who looked after his father in his final years, he hopes to have raised as much as �300 through sponsorship for Palliative Care East, the appeal for a new day care centre in Gorleston for patients with life-limiting illnesses.

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The Great Yarmouth Road Runner, who has run more than 60 marathons, tried to keep up his energy levels by stopping regularly for food and water breaks, but confessed he was exhausted by the finish.

Nevertheless, he is already thinking ahead to next year and said he was keen to talk to his running club about making it an annual event.

Brought up locally, he said his birthday run had come 46 years after he won the Great Yarmouth Grammar School cross-country race.

Mr Smith, who has previously clocked up 20 ultra-marathons, including a 24-hour race, finished about six miles ahead of Mr Kelf.

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