RAF reservist from Perry completes first marathon, aged 58

Gary pictured in 2011, when he did the Silverstone half marathon on crutches.

Gary pictured in 2011, when he did the Silverstone half marathon on crutches. - Credit: Archant

A 58-year-old RAF reservist from Perry ran the Edinburgh Marathon on Sunday (May 31) to raise money for the Royal Air Forces Association.

This was Gary Edgerton’s first full marathon and was only seven weeks after injuring his calf muscles.

Having to rest, then undergoing intensive physiotherapy put his training programme behind schedule and the longest distance Gary had achieved before the race north of the border was 10 miles, not the 20 that is usually recommended four weeks before the race.

He’s no stranger to beating the odds – in 2011 he completed the Silverstone half marathon on crutches after injuring himself while training.

“My calves weren’t too bad,” said Gary. “But after 18 miles I thought I’d stopped moving. People had warned me about the wall and I guess that was it, but I just kept going.

“There were some sunny spells, but there was a 40mph headwind at one point, then really cold rain with icicles that felt like pins.”

Despite having the odds stacked against him, Gary completed the 26.2-mile course through Scotland’s capital in 5 hours 29 minutes and 30 seconds.

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Unfortunately, Gary had to fly back home that night, as his wife Maria, who works as a teaching assistant at Samuel Pepys School in St Neots, could not get the Monday off.

“Seven weeks ago I could barely run a mile and a half, so I’m pretty pleased with myself,” said the Sergeant in No 600 (City of London) Squadron.

Gary was among a team of five marathon runners in the squadron, four of whom had already completed the London Marathon at the end of April.

Gary had applied, but was unsuccessful, so was given an automatic entry into the Scottish race. The team aim to raise £3,600 between them over the five marathons, in an undertaking they’ve call a Marafathon, and they’ve so far raised £2,363, with more donations to come.

It’s the squadron’s 90th anniversary and they have a number of additional events planned from which they aim to raise a further £6,000 for charity.

Seeing as he was north of the border, Gary was due to wear appropriate attire for the occasion, RAF tartan donated offcuts which had been made into a ‘skilt’, which lies somewhere between a skirt and a kilt. However, poor weather conditions meant he opted for more traditional running gear.

Nicknamed ‘The Edge’ in the RAF, Gary amended that to McEdge for the event.

INFORMATION: To make a donation, go to www.justgiving.com/600SQN-MT15/.