Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Too old to run, think again, just don't tell the wife!

(Courtesy of Marathon Talk and Mail Online)

A 90-year-old man who has been sneaking out and running half-marathons has been caught out - after a neighbour told his wife they'd seen him on TV.

Wilf Cooper has secretly raced in six events - after telling wife Sylvia he was just going to stand on the sidelines.

Mr Cooper has run half-marathons throughout most of his 80s - and is still planning one final race, even though his wife has learned his secret.

The former Special Boat Service man was 83 when he ran his first half-marathon. After telling Sylvia, his wife of 67 years, that he was going along to help as a steward, he laced up his trainers and completed the race in a respectable three hours, 11 minutes and 36 seconds - and hasn't rested on his laurels yet.

But Mrs Cooper, who also celebrates her 90th birthday later this year, learned of her husband's double life after a neighbour tipped her off.

She said: 'He told me he was going along to put up barriers and help with the race. 'I only found out he ran it because the neighbour told me they'd seen him on the television. He was in the doghouse that day, I can tell you.'

Mr Cooper once sneaked out to race even after dislocating his shoulder and breaking his ribs in a fall on the stairs. His wife added: 'I do worry about him. He had a heart attack about 20 years ago - but it doesn't stop him.'

Mr Cooper, from Lockleaze, Bristol, said: 'I always like the feeling you get from exercise. I stay fit to stay healthy. I've got a static bike and a rowing machine and a few weights. 'I also go up and down the stairs 10 times and I do that three times a day.

'I like to run for a local charity, St Peter's Hospice, because I had a friend that had cancer who received a great deal of care from them. 'I raised £1,200 last year from my secret jaunts and the most I ever raised was £1,690. I'd like to beat that this year. 'Even though the wife now knows my secret and will be less than impressed, I want to race one last time as I think my bones are ready to creak.'

The couple, who have seven daughters, 14 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren, met at St Johns Parish Church, in Bedminster, when they were both 14.

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