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Barber’s ‘deflation’ at London Marathon cancellation - after conquering course 39 years in a row

PUBLISHED: 14:08 19 March 2020 | UPDATED: 14:08 19 March 2020

A man who has raced in every London Marathon since the event begun says he is gutted after the coronavirus outbreak cancelled the event. Photo: Nick Butcher

A man who has raced in every London Marathon since the event begun says he is gutted after the coronavirus outbreak cancelled the event. Photo: Nick Butcher

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A man who has raced in every London Marathon since the event begun says he is ‘gutted’ after the coronavirus outbreak cancelled the event.

Mr Cousens, who works as a barber in Kessingland, said this marathon was his most important yet. Photo: Len CousensMr Cousens, who works as a barber in Kessingland, said this marathon was his most important yet. Photo: Len Cousens

Charles ‘Len’ Cousens, 77, has for the last 39 years run in every consecutive London Marathon, and was looking forward to running his fortieth and final marathon at the end of April.

But as the event’s organisers last week postponed the event until October due to coronavirus concerns, Mr Cousens said he is “pretty deflated to say the least”, adding: “Whether it will actually go on in October I don’t know.”

Mr Cousens, who works as a barber in Kessingland, said this marathon was his most important yet.

But he said his wife suffers from breathing problems, and added that it would be irresponsible for the event to go ahead.

Lens Loft Barbers in Beccles closing for at least the next 14 days from today, March 19. Photo: Nick ButcherLens Loft Barbers in Beccles closing for at least the next 14 days from today, March 19. Photo: Nick Butcher

“I understand the situation but I just hope we are not over reacting. 40 years is obviously a big thing but I was raising money for Great Ormond Street Hospital, and this would have been the first marathon my son would join me in.

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“I was really looking forward to it. A lot of charities will miss out too.”

Mr Cousens said his wife suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a lung condition which makes it difficult for her to breathe due to smoking when she was younger.

Mr Cousens running a marathon in the 1980's. Photo: Len CousensMr Cousens running a marathon in the 1980's. Photo: Len Cousens

“I’m just frightened that if I go out, I might bring the virus back and make her ill,” he said.

Mr and Mrs Cousens will both be self-isolating from today, with Len’s Loft Barbers in Beccles closing for at least the next 14 days from today.

“Business is nill right now,” he said. “It’s hopeless. I have to call it a day because I need to pay rent and nobody is coming in.”

He added: “A lot of businesses are being forced to close.”

Mr Cousens said that he will continue to go for regular runs for fun while isolating, being careful not to get near others.

“I think people should give running a go during this. When you run it takes your mind off everything, and you actually relax a bit more,” he said.


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