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Geoff, 80 from Ilkley to run the London Marathon

Geoff Howard will one of the oldest running the London Marathon at the weekend

Geoff Howard from Ilkley will be running the London Marathon on Sunday raising funds for Ilkley community café, Outside the Box, where he is a valued regular customer.


Geoff turns 80 this year, and being a leap year baby, really it his 20th birthday, His motivation to succeed in the marathon is very high as he feels privileged to have gained an entry and sees it as a great opportunity to support Outside the Box.


Geoff said: “During my visits to Outside the Box, it is so impressive to see the support and training provided for members. I enjoy seeing them gaining skills, confidence and independence to then later meeting some also working in local businesses. I also very much admire the work and dedication of OTB’s marvellous staff and volunteers. I very much appreciate their friendly, welcoming approach to customers”.


Geoff is dedicating his run to the memory of Peter Shields, an exceptional friend, coach and inspiration who committed his life to helping Ilkley runners and many others. Reaching ‘bus pass age’ in 2009 and yielding to the all too common ageist perception that it was to be pretty much “downhill all the way from now on”, Geoff eased off his fell and endurance running. However, since then, thanks to: the many inspiring examples set by older runners; the opportunities provided by Ilkley u3A; the brilliant support of Ilkley Harriers; and the encouragement of some wonderful friends and family, Geoff now aims to resist that feeling as much as he can as he tries to make the most what he can do and not to dwell on the things he can’t.


It’s been forty years since he last did a fundraising London Marathon. Back in 1984, to make sure he got an entry to the third London Marathon, Geoff had to queue overnight along with thousands of other hopefuls to post an entry in one of only a few specially designated post boxes. Securing a place for this year’s run has been a different but equally challenging experience. Geoff had to complete a timed event running eight times round Kempton Park Race Course on a very hot day last May!


Amy Day, Marketing and Communications Officer of the local charity that runs Outside the Box, comments: “We are so very appreciative of Geoff’s incredible offer to run the London Marathon in support of Outside the Box. He is a real inspiration and we are thrilled and very grateful with the support and donations made so far.

"The money raised will help us to do more to improve the opportunities and lives of people with a learning disability and/or autism. A huge thank you to Geoff from everyone at OTB, we will be cheering him on and of course there will be some delicious coffee and cake at the café to help him re-energise on his return to Ilkley!”


To support Geoff please visit his fundraising page on JustGiving:


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