Marathon man Len is lacing up his trainers for 37th London Marathon

Ellen Manning

A 73-year-old is lacing up his shoes for tomorrow’s London Marathon – after taking part EVERY year since it started in 1981.

Len Cousens is one of just a dozen people who have run all 36 previous marathons and has clocked up 943 miles in the world-famous event.

His first time running in the event was in 1981 after running his first marathon in Guildford, Surrey in 1979.

He also taken part in races in Paris, New York, Berlin and Barbados and insists his age does not matter – because “it’s all in your mind”.

Marathon man – Len has taken part in every London Marathon since it started (Pictures: SWNS)

Len, from Lowestoft, Suffolk, said: “I keep saying each year will be my last year but I keep giving it another bash.

“The older you get the trickier it gets, but I think I will manage to hack round it. It’s quite amazing to be a part of this elite group.”

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Len’s only preparation tip is “hard graft” but to to keep him going he wears his ‘lucky jacket’ which has commemorative patches from his former races on.

He posted his personal best of 2 hours 55 minutes in 1983. Last year he took just over five hours and hopes for a similar time again this year, when takes to the start line with his son Lee.

Regular – Len in the 1984 London Marathon, just one of the many he has taken part in

The 73-year-old, who still works as a barber, runs 15 miles four times a week for his training and dons his ‘lucky jacket’ before each race.

He said: “You have got to have a goal in life and this seems to be mine. You have got to have a challenge and the marathons keep me fit.

“It’s not as hard as you think. For me it feels automatic every time. You just have to keep yourself going. It’s just a matter of mind over matter.”

Medals – Len’s medals from every single London Marathon he has taken part in

Len got into running in the 1970s after wife Maureen, also 73, bought him a “fancy tracksuit” for Christmas and he decided to “run around the block”.

He added: “I never did any football, cricket or athletics – absolutely nothing until I was 36. I wish I would have started earlier, I might have been good then.”

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