Neil Featherby: A sensible approach to running will pay dividends in long run

Des Green Neil Featherby

Neil Featherby at Sportlink with 70-year-old Des Green. - Credit: Sportlink

On the back of my last two columns about people taking running up in their 60s and myself having ran every day from aged 23 to what is now 63 years of age, the number of people who have since spoken to me about these articles really has surprised me.  

Particularly by those who are now excited by the prospect of having a go themselves despite what might be their age. 

This is great, but as I did mention a couple of weeks ago, for those who have not exercised for a number of years, then they should book in with a medical professional first or indeed look to work with a qualified personal trainer who will of course ensure that their progress is monitored very carefully. The likes of Chas Allen for one come to mind what with his background in the medical profession. 

However, and talking of very fit people above the age of 60, one of the most enthusiastic people I have ever come across is a gentleman by the name of Des Green from Taverham. 

I have known Des for several years and have always admired not only his enthusiasm, but what is his sensible attitude towards exercise especially in our later years.  

I always remember saying to him when he turned 60 that he had to be one of the fittest 60-year-olds in the country. Well, here we are 10 years later and at 70 he still looks as good as ever.  

It really is remarkable. He came into Sportlink last week and when he left, I asked the staff who had not met him before to guess his age. It was anything from mid 40s to 50. When I said he is about to turn 70 years of age they all stood there with their mouths wide open. 

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Another local man I must mention this week, is Norfolk Gazelles, Ian Thomas who I have written about before with regards to his superb performances in the Greek Ultra race, the Spartathlon.  

Ian Thomas

Ian Thomas on his way to setting several GB age bests at the Gloucester 24 race. - Credit: Jill Thomas

Ian just last weekend set several new British age bests (v60) whilst competing in the Gloucester 24 hour race. He went through 50 miles in 7hrs 22mins, just over 75.80 miles in 12 hours and 100 miles in 16:47:36secs which also gives him a top 5 placing in the world age rankings for this distance. Needless to say, he still had just over seven hours to go before the end of the race for which he finished in third place overall whilst completing 127.524 miles. While this was not a personal best for him (PB 135.73 miles in 2016), making the podium most certainly added to all his other successes within the race. 

All the above also gives him an amazing world number one ranking for 2021 and having mentioned Ian and the Spartathlon, he along with two others actually ran the full course of 153 miles in 2020 despite it being cancelled. 

Life really is for living for which a healthy body and healthy mind is so important whatever our age. In the words of Des Green: “You never get this time back again, so don’t waste it!”