Grandson and granddad to run in Sidmouth’s first race for over-35s

Lee Elston and his grandfather, Ray

Lee Elston and his grandfather, Ray - Credit: Archant

A first-time cross-country competitor and his grandfather will be the youngest and oldest runners in a new race for over-35s.

Lee and Ray Elston are among 50 participants from as far afield as Bristol who have already signed up to the event, which takes place in Sidford this Sunday (January 29).

The race has been organised by seasoned Sidmouth runner Bill Valentine on behalf of the South West Veterans’ Athletics Club.

Bill, 67, said: “The race is to try to encourage people over 35 that their running careers aren’t over – there’s still life after 35!”

It is a message that chimes with Ray, 77, who argues 50 is the perfect age to start running.

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His grandson Lee, 38, a dad-of-two, started five months ago after he got out of breath jogging to the shop. Now he is taking on his first cross-country race.

“I was fortunate to have a great trainer – my grandfather’s been running for 25 years,” said Exmouth Harriers member Lee. “He can outrun people half his age. He’s got some records that have never been broken.

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“He’s faster than me over long distances, but I should beat him under five miles. It’ll be interesting to see how we get on.

“If you’d told me five months ago I’d be training for half-marathons, I never would have believed you – but cross-country running is a different challenge.”

The 6km route begins at the junior rugby club’s HQ and the three-and-a-half laps cover the rugby and football pitches, a wooded area and a section of The Byes.

There is an open competition and another for members of the South West Veterans’ Athletics Club – which Bill hopes more people will be tempted to join.

Everyone will run together and there will be prizes for different age categories.

Entry is £10 in advance or £12 on the day, when entrants should register at 12.30pm. Call Bill on 01395 516763.

The race will set off at 1.30pm.

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