Meet the retired couple who have run and walked 8,000 miles EACH in the past four years

Meet the retired pensioner couple who took up running in their 70s and 80s and have run an impressive 8,000 miles EACH in the past four years.

Eileen, 79, and John Hieron, 85, fell in love with running when Eileen started pounding the pavements in 2014, with John soon following in 2016, and now they clock up around 20 miles each a week.

The sporty pair - who have been married 58 years - train together three times a week and their schedule includes two 4-5 mile runs, and one long run of up to 12 miles, and they also enjoy leisurely walks at the weekend.

Eileen also does weight training sessions with a personal trainer twice a week to improve strength, flexibility and balance.

The pair run alongside other runners at the Dursley Running Club, some of whom are 40 years their junior. However, the pair revealed they are always welcomed and treated equally.

Eileen and John consider their hobby to be a great benefit to their physical and mental well-being, as well as their social lives and admit that many of their contemporaries think they are ‘crazy’.

Grandmother-of-six Eileen first took up the sport in 2014, aged 72, when she started running with a friend who was training for a marathon - and it wasn't long before John, a retired grain merchant, started the NHS 'Couch to 5K’ when he noticed Eileen was getting fitter and winning medals in competitions.

Eileen, a retired health practitioner, from Dursley, Gloucestershire, said: “I decided to give running a go in my 70s and I haven't looked back.

"It didn't take long to rope my husband into it too - now we both love it.

"I started running the local Parkrun every Saturday, I met new friends through that and then I joined my local running club.

“It certainly did me good, not just the running but the friendship aspect, and it's a good de-stresser.

“A year later, John got the running bug himself, aged 79. Now there's no stopping us.”

“On our runs, John loves stopping for all the kids, dogs and almost anyone we meet, so it’s a very sociable kind of running!”

Since 2018, Eileen has participated in four marathons with a personal best of 5 hours 21 minutes at the 2021 London Marathon, and was awarded sixth place at the Wanda Age Group World Championships in the 75-79 category at the London Marathon which she considers her ‘greatest achievement in running.’

John and Eileen have now participated in road, trail and even cross country events in England and other countries and completed the weekly 5km Parkrun events in locations including New Zealand, California and Singapore as well as the UK.

The couple volunteer regularly as running marshals at the Wotton Parkrun to give back to the community. John has volunteered over 80 times.

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