BRJ Veterans are Club Champs - aged 71 and 63

A VETERAN husband-and-wife running team have secured a unique double by winning their club championships – at the age of 71 and 63 respectively. Tony Cotton, the oldest active member of the BRJ Running Club at 71, started running in the BRJ vest over twen

A VETERAN husband-and-wife running team have secured a unique double by winning their club championships - at the age of 71 and 63 respectively.

Tony Cotton, the oldest active member of the BRJ Running Club at 71, started running in the BRJ vest over twenty years ago. His wife Esther began by going along to give him support, but was bitten by the running bug herself and has been knocking back the miles for more than ten years.

They picked up the 2009 Club Championships for Men and Women after a hard season of competition. The championship is based on age-graded scores achieved from finishing results over six races over any distance between five kilometres and full marathon (26.2 miles) during a 12 month period.

Runners' times are measured against the world bests for their age category. If the world best is between 70 and 75 per cent of the runner's time, the run is awarded gold status. Anything over 75 per cent wins a platinum award.


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Esther recorded a clean sweep of golds from her six events, with Tony's three golds accompanied by three platinum awards.

Tony held off the challenge of Keith Douglas and Stuart Hill to take the title, while Esther won her title closely pursued by Teresa Dyer and Lucy Moore in second and third place.

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Esther's achievement is all the more remarkable considering her training is restricted because she is partially-sighted.

This means she is only able to train and run in good daylight, and bad weather can lead to the odd tumble when out jogging.

Over the year Tony ranked his performance at the Hatfield 10k as his best run.

He said: "Everything felt right before the start and the run went like a dream, and resulted in my best time of the year."

Tony is a veteran of over 100 marathons and 200 half-marathons. He remembers his top career performance as his run in the Robin Hood Marathon in Nottingham in 1988, the first time he ever broke three hours over the distance.

Esther thought her best run of the season was at the Belvoir half-marathon: "At Belvoir the organisation is fantastic - it's a lovely course and always a great day," she said.

Both runners recognise that the sport doesn't get any easier with age, and that some days can be difficult.

As the years have gone by the most difficult aspect is keeping free from injury and getting motivated to go out and train hard in the bad weather, but they still enjoy every event.

Esther said: "The Fenland 10k this year was very hard, and with the poor weather even breathing was a challenge. But I still got round!"

INFORMATION: To find out more about the Huntingdon BRJ Road Running Club, visit www.brjroadrunners.org.uk.

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