“Turn off the telly!”
Staying active At 85, he was the oldest person to complete this year’s London Marathon and he’s running again in 2017. John Starbrook chats to us about food, training, and his only drug.
“Back in 1983 I heard on the radio that it was the last day to sign up for the London Marathon,” recalls John. “Being a Cockney lad, I said, I’ll do that! My wife laughed and said, ‘you’ll never do it, you don’t even like walking’. That was a challenge.”
John not only completed the marathon, he’s run 50 more since in Europe and beyond. “I’d never have travelled so much without the running. New York was good fun, and when I did Barbados, I took the wife and we had a lovely three weeks there.”
In the process, he’s raised more than £45k for various charities, bringing him recognition from, and the chance to meet, Prince Charles.
He runs three or four miles nearly every day. “I don’t want to sit about, I get bored watching TV; I just have to get out and do a run. I swim four times a week too. Running’s like a drug.”
It’s the only one he’s on – “The doctor offered me statins a couple of years ago, but I said nah” – and he doesn’t take any vitamins. “I like plain food, nothing fancy. I’m told I eat too many biscuits and cake, but I keep my weight round 73 kilos.”
Advice for other seniors? “No sitting about indoors. Turn off the telly! Get out and do a run or a walk, get a bit of a sweat on.”
A lot of John’s social life revolves around the running club where he is mainly interacting with people in their sixties.
“Age is only a number,” he laughs. “I don’t think about it.”