Search

Woman, 80, shares memories of running first ever London Marathon

PUBLISHED: 11:59 26 April 2020 | UPDATED: 11:59 26 April 2020

Eva Osborne, from Wymondham, has shared her experience of being one of only 203 women to run in the first ever London Marathon. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography

Eva Osborne, from Wymondham, has shared her experience of being one of only 203 women to run in the first ever London Marathon. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography

Archant

Almost four decades after its inception, the London Marathon has become so ingrained in British culture that its cancellation seems almost unthinkable.

Eva Osborne, from Wymondham, has shared her experience of running in the first ever London Marathon. Pictured is Mrs Osborne at the Norfolk Cross Country Championships. Picture: Ian Edwards PhotographyEva Osborne, from Wymondham, has shared her experience of running in the first ever London Marathon. Pictured is Mrs Osborne at the Norfolk Cross Country Championships. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography

But as the coronavirus crisis wreaks havoc with the world’s sporting calendar, tens of thousands of runners were left distraught when this year’s event was postponed until October.

However, in a bid to raise spirits on marathon weekend, Wymondham runner Eva Osborne has shared her experience of being one of only 6,000 people to run in the capital’s first ever marathon back in 1981.

In fact, with women barred from taking part in sanctioned races until a few years prior, Mrs Osborne was one of only 203 women to take on the 26.2 miles.

The 2020 London Marathon has been postponed until October due to the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured is a scene from the 2019 marathon. Picture: PA ImagesThe 2020 London Marathon has been postponed until October due to the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured is a scene from the 2019 marathon. Picture: PA Images

MORE: Wymondham AC member Eva Osborne just can’t shift the running bug after 1,000 races

The 80-year-old only started running in 1978 following the formation of Wymondham Athletic Club (WAC), and had been jogging distances of no more than three miles on an entirely social basis.

But when the chance to run in the capital’s first ever marathon came around, it was too good to miss.

Eva Osborne, from Wymondham, has shared her experience of running in the first ever London Marathon. Pictured is Mrs Osborne at the World Masters Athletics Indoor Championships in 2008. Picture: SuppliedEva Osborne, from Wymondham, has shared her experience of running in the first ever London Marathon. Pictured is Mrs Osborne at the World Masters Athletics Indoor Championships in 2008. Picture: Supplied

“The day itself was really overwhelming,” said Mrs Osborne. “It was different to marathons today simply because, apart from the elite runners, nobody had run a marathon before.

“The camaraderie was exceptional. Everybody helped everybody, people were pulling each other along.

“The support from the crowd was great as well. Because there were so few women, the crowd picked them out and shouted even louder to motivate them.

The 2020 London Marathon has been postponed until October due to the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured is a scene from the 2017 marathon. Picture: PA ImagesThe 2020 London Marathon has been postponed until October due to the coronavirus pandemic. Pictured is a scene from the 2017 marathon. Picture: PA Images

“My training was probably a bit rudimentary and I was running in plimsolls and a cotton shirt at that time. We had no knowledge about carb-loading or anything like that but, ultimately, we made it.”

MORE: Running community working stride by stride in adversity

Fast forward 39 years and Mrs Osborne has completed a total of 16 marathons, including in London six times, the New York Marathon and, closer to home, the Bungay Marathon.

Eva Osborne, from Wymondham, has shared her experience of being one of only 203 women to run in the first ever London Marathon. Picture: Ian Edwards PhotographyEva Osborne, from Wymondham, has shared her experience of being one of only 203 women to run in the first ever London Marathon. Picture: Ian Edwards Photography

Despite her age, WAC’s longest serving member is still running and believes the older generation should endeavour to follow suit.

“It is important to keep going if you can,” she added. “I’m slower than I used to be, but it is a positive thing to do.

“I turned 80 a couple of weeks ago, but I still enjoy running, the camaraderie and the social side. It is 40 years since I started and it’s a part of my life.”


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Eastern Daily Press. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Eastern Daily Press