Age is no barrier as marathon man Bill Mitchell, 68, bids to smash his running records
A PENSIONER who refuses to put his feet up and retire is instead going to use them to run more than 400 miles in marathons this year.
Bill Mitchell, 68, could be forgiven for taking life easy but the recently-converted long-distance runner hopes to clock up more than 15 lung-busting journeys by December.
He clocked up 300 miles last year, finishing more than 10 marathons.
He also finished one 50-mile "ultra-marathon" around the streets in Paris – an 11-hour slog which featured a finish line on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower.
But for Bill, of Turnditch, this just was not enough. He wants to go even further this year and has just signed up for a 100km event.
The London-to-Brighton Challenge is scheduled to take place on May 25 and 26.
He said: "There is this goal inside me of doing two marathons a month for a year but I don't think it will be practical. But I want to beat last year and pass through 400 miles.
"My fastest time is four hours and 10 minutes for a marathon in Valencia. But I want to beat that this year."
Bill, who lives with wife Linda, started running seriously in 2009, aged 65.
Since then, he has completed 25 marathons, the first of which was the 2010 London event. Bill, who runs a firm setting up marquees, said he quickly took to running.
He said: "I was on holiday in Malta and I was talking to the bloke who ran the gym in the hotel. He said that, since the previous year, I had put on a bit of weight.
"So I started using the gym there and, when I got home, carried on. But the gym bored me so I started going out running and just loved it."
He said he ran in his youth but had not done any serious jogging for four decades.
But he said: "In January 2009, I joined Ashbourne Running Club and the people there were very encouraging. I got my stamina up and entered the London Marathon."
He said he had his own tactics while out running.
"I don't listen to music," he added. "I watch the scenery and pace myself, working out how much energy I have and keeping myself hydrated.
"Most people have about 20 minutes of energy in them without eating anything, so you have to fuel yourself regularly in a marathon"
He has already run two marathons this year and has about a dozen more on the calendar. He said his wife helped him organise things.
"She finds me marathons happening all over the world and helps me book them in. And then she gets to come with me to all these places."
Destinations have included Valencia, Windermere and Vienna. In Paris, Bill ran the Ecotrail, a 50-mile "ultra-marathon".
He said: "That is one of my favourite memories. I ran through the darkness right out in the rural outskirts of Paris. And then, round the corner, I saw the lights of the Eiffel Tower and all my adrenalin kicked in.
"I did that one in 11 hours and was really happy about it. You think you'd fall straight asleep afterwards but I was feeling such a buzz."
To donate to Bill's marathon runs go to www.justgiving.com/william-mitchell1