Eileen Noble, 85, braves torrential rain to become oldest woman to complete 2020 London Marathon despite the pandemic

AN 85-year-old woman was one of thousands who braved torrential rain to take part in the 40th London marathon.

Despite the pandemic, thousands of runners took part across the nation – tracking their time and distance with a specially designed app.

Eileen Noble completed the 2020 London Marathon at the age of 85Credit: Dan Jones images/THESUN

The 85-year-old clocked a time of eight hours and four minute in the virtual raceCredit: Dan Jones images/THESUN

Elite runners ran 19.8 laps of St James Park in West London, in a “controlled secure biosphere”.

Eileen Noble, 85, was the oldest female athlete taking part in Sunday’s virtual marathon.

This was Eileen’s 20th time tackling the 26.2mile course and she finished it in a soggy eight hours and four minutes. 

Speaking to The Sun at the halfway point at the Cutty Sark in South East London on Sunday morning, she said: “I’m absolutely freezing, I think I’ll be walking most of the way home.

“I can’t wait to have a hot shower.”

Her daughter Imelda, 47, was waiting for her at the Cutty Sark with water and Jelly Babies.

A group of spectators nearby sang “Come on Eileen” as she ran past.

It is thought a whopping 45,000 participants logged their progress on an app to make their time official and secure a medal.

The soggy 2020 race was Eileen’s 20th marathon finishCredit: Dan Jones images/THESUN

Ahead of the race, running fan Eileen told The Sun: “I started running in my early 50s in 1986.

“I’d been sporty at school but running around a track never appealed.

“I’d go with my friend Shirley and we’d chat. I liked the camaraderie and still do, I train with friends when I can.”

She joked that she was worried about getting lost on the way, adding: “I did a half marathon in March and I kept getting lost.

“The route wasn’t very obvious and there weren’t many people doing i.

“I found myself on my own and I thought I hope I’m still going the right way.

“At least once I get on the Thames Path I can’t get lost.”

Eileen joked she couldn’t wait to jump into ahot shower after finishing the race in the freezing coldCredit: Dan Jones images/THESUN

Ken Jones, 87, is the oldest man taking part in the race from his home in Strabane, Northern Ireland. 

He said the weather looked “the worst ever” as he prepared to set off on Sunday morning.

Martin Yelling, the official coach of the Virgin Money London Marathon, told runners in a Facebook Live event: “It may not be what we had in mind but it’s a wonderful way to experience running a marathon.”

Event director Hugh Brasher said: “It was about inclusivity, removing the pressure that people can feel on event day.”

The Met Office said most runners in the UK, especially those in the south, would be facing “a bit of a wet one” this year.

But the rain didn’t dampen spirits with runners still donning silly costumes as they ran the 26.2 miles.

Russ Brookes in Gloucester dressed up as a T Rex as he ran to raise money for Winton’s Wish – a charity for bereaved children.

At the elite track in St James’ Park Kenyan Kosgei defended her title and cruised to a victory in the women’s race, overcoming her rivals in relentless rain to triumph in two hours, 18 minutes and 58 seconds. 

And Shura Kitata beat favourite Ethiopian favourite Eliud Kipchoge to claim victory in the mens race in two hours five minutes and 41 seconds.

Torrential rain as floods hit large parts of UK as sodden virtual London marathon goes ahead

Source: Athletics -


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