Valley
Striders

 
Max Jones 1927-2010
 
Updated 31 Mar 2010

It is with great sadness that I report that Max Jones died on Sunday 14 March as a result of falling down stairs at home the previous day from which he never regained consciousness.

He will be greatly missed by all the Valley Striders who knew him.

If you would like to put any recollections, stories or comments on this webpage, then email them to me (let me know if you would like them to show your name, initials or be anonymous).

If you would like to send any message to Max's family, send to Max's daughter, Sue Smith at 14 Montagu Drive, LS8 2PD.

Max's funeral was on Friday 26 March at 1pm at Lawnswood Cemetery, Otley Road, LS16 7PH. with the wake at Leodiensian Club, Crag Lane, off King Lane, LS17 5PR.

Any donations in Max's memory should be sent to the Teenage Cancer Trust.

"Run 100km for Max!" On Friday morning at 10:30am and Friday evening at 6:00pm we had mass runs of Striders and friends starting at Oakwood Clock. For details see below

Message from the Jones family

Thank you so much to everyone for such wonderful messages, stories and thoughts about our marvellous father. We really appreciate all your tributes to him and we are very proud that he inspired so much love and admiration from so many people around the world. Keep on running for him!

Best wishes Peter, Amanda and Sue

Results of "Run 100km for Max" - we ran 397km (Subject to verification)

Max had a 1.9 mile (3km) lap from his house that he used for most of his training runs. If he wanted to run a tempo run 10k, he ran 3 laps; for 10 miles he ran 5 laps; I believe he even occasionally ran 10 laps for 20 miles.

Here's a map of the lap - "Map My Run" says it's 1.92 miles or 3.1km.

We planned to run (or walk) some laps between 10:30 and 11:30 on Friday morning and between 18:00 and 19:00 Friday evening. We would all do one lap together, then some would run more laps.

George Black wrote "I am coming down on Thursday and will come along to the run. It was where I first met Max when I came down from Scotland. I never could get him off this circuit so it seems a fitting place to say goodbye."

The theory was if 10 of us ran 3 laps and 4 of us walked 1 lap, we would have achieved over 100km - the distance of Max's first British & Commonwealth record. If more turned up, maybe we could total 192km for Max's world 24 hour record.

We far exceeded the target!

8 laps run by Valley Striders on Tuesday 23 March - Paul Furness 2, Tracy Stewart 2, Sarah Coll 2, Maureen Coffey 2

6 lap equivalents run in spirit on the day in Portland Oregon - Amanda Fritz 2, Ali Fritz 4

2 lap equivalents run in spirit on the day in Princeton New Jersey - Maxwell Fritz 1, Jonathan Nussbaum 1

18 laps run by Abbey Runners prior to morning session - Dave Gillian 8, Richard Oliver 10 (NB run in reverse!)

10 laps run by Smith'n'Jones family in morning 10:30am session - Peter Jones 1, Hazel Jones 1, Simon Hool 1, Matt Jones 2, Emma 1, Elliot Smith 2, Amelia Smith 1, Alex Smith 1

23 laps run by Valley Striders in morning session - Maureen Coffey 2, Ian Place 3, Paul Sanderson 3, George Black 2, Mike Evans 2, John Whalley 2, Steve Webb 4, Bob Jackson 3, Dave Gillian 2

7 laps run by Sue's friends in evening 6pm session - Alister Johnston 2, Eugene Johnston 1, Maggie Fitzpatrick 1, Alison Wall 3,

48 laps run by Valley Striders in evening session - John Wallace 3, Howard Jeffrey 3, Tom Button 3, Leona Beecroft 3, Roy Huggins 6, Paul Furness 2, Drew Taylor 3, Andy Settle 3, Paul Sanderson 3, Erica Hiorns 1, Jonathan Brownbill 3, Mary Egan 3, Sara Dyer 3, Dan Murray 3, Patrick Barrett 3, Bob Jackson 3

9 laps run by Abbey Runners in evening session - Tim Jacobs 3, Richard Foster 3, Dave Gillian 3

total 131 laps = 249 miles = 397km, i.e. we ran over double Max's world record 24 hour distance.

Special congratulations to Dave Gillian who ran 13 laps (shown above) and a few extra bits and pieces for a full marathon.

Thanks to Sue, Pam and the other cheerleaders at the end of Montagu Drive for our first lap of the morning and evening.

Found - one yellow glove - email v.s@virgin.net if it's yours

Max Jones 1927-2010

In the late 1940's/ early 1950's he ran for Cambridge University, running at the same time as Roger Bannister and Chris Brasher (and beating both of them on occasions). See photos.

Max joined Striders in 1988, but always retained first claim membership with Birchfield Harriers, with whom he ran in several vets relays in the 1990's.

He was one of only two Striders individuals for whom there was a dedicated page on the website, this being due to the multitude of British, commonwealth and world V65 and V70 records that he collected between 1996 and 1998. He also ran the first 22 London marathons.

He was one of only four Striders whose picture appeared on the front page of "Valley Striders News" and his world records featured in the "Yorkshire Evening Post".

He was a qualified coach and his "Coach's Column" appeared in most of the printed copies of "Valley Striders News", an A5 booklet that was posted to all Striders 4 to 6 times a year prior to email.

He was a great researcher into the science of sport.

  • He had a formula to predict your marathon time based on age, weight, amount of training etc.
  • If he knew the ambient temperature, an athlete's weight and speed, he could calculate the precise intake of water and carbohydrate needed to run a marathon.
  • Indeed, when he ran his ultramarathon races, his supporters had strict instructions of what food to give him on each lap
  • He was also a dedicated follower of the "Age-Graded Tables" although he believed the current edition was "wrong" for some of the older age-group records (citing Lou Gilchrist's performances as proof).
  • He also had formulae that predicted an athlete's improvement in speed simply by losing weight (we used to joke that he should publish the "Weight-Graded Tables")
  • He had some controversial opinions about drugs in sport, some of which centred around banned substances which are naturally produced by the human body; he debated how a normal level could be set in these cases. He was interviewed on Channel 4 TV News on this subject.

Only two weeks ago he was at the National Cross Country at Roundhay Park, helping us set up the 800 metre section of course that we were looking after, then marshalling the crossing point for an hour in the afternoon, in between times chatting to everyone.

(from Max's son, Peter) His interest in running probably dates from his time at Malvern School which was (and is) keen on cross-country. The highlight of the Malvern running season is the Ledbury Run which is just that, a race back from Ledbury to Malvern, about seven miles. I suspect that when Dad came second in the race (and was favourite to win the year after but, so the story goes, he had a cold on the day of the race and 'they' wouldn't let him run...) it was not actually Ledbury to Malvern but around Harrow where the school was based during the war. However when he was about 70 the school decided to let Old Boys run in the race so he did actually do the full Ledbury to Malvern course, which includes a grueling stage over the Malvern Hills. He finished mid-table, not bad against 17 and 18 year olds, and not surprisingly got one of the biggest cheers of the day when he finished.

Max Jones tribute in YEP

Click for feature in Yorkshire Evening Post 18 March 2010

A collection of pictures of Max

Click for 19 photos of Max

Tributes to Max

From Stuart StJohn, founder of Valley Striders

It was with great sadness that I read your email on dear old Max & I am certain that he will be sadly missed @ the Club.

He was a font of training & running knowledge & he always had time to pass on that knowledge to who ever asked for it. The pages he filled in the earlier newsletters with his findings were second to none & the records he achieved in our sport were the envy of anybody calling themselves an athlete & I for one am glad that my path crossed his.

My only regret was that he NEVER forgot his first-claim club (why should he with such a club) & became OUR first-claim man.

With regret & a tear.

From Karen Natoli in Australia

My husband and I are both devastated to hear the news of Max's passing away on the weekend.

He was so incredibly encouraging of my running and has been instrumental in making sure i follow my running dreams.

It was Max who secured me a spot in the 2007 London Marathon running for Valley Striders which was the most fantastic experience and one i will cherish forever!!!

He was trying to secure me a spot for this year's London Marathon to help me try to get a qualifying time for the Commonwealth Games Team for Australia, however we had not heard back from him as to whether he had managed to get me a Championship Start or not which was extremely unusual as Max always usually replies to emails immediately :-)

We can only imagine how much Max would have positively contributed to Valley Striders Running over the years!!!

His energy, passion, enthusiasm and absolute obsession with running was infectious!!!

We are thinking of you all at this very sad time.

From Jon Willingham in Skipton (former Valley Strider)

What very very sad news this is. My brother and I were only speaking to Max at the National Cross Country Champs the other week and he was his usual alert bright self.

I had been a member of Valley Striders for a number of years and wanted to improve my running. In 1995, knowing Max to be a knowledgable man on running, I approached him and he very kindly took me under his wing for some one to one coaching.

Max introduced me to the Heart Rate Monitor, the benefits also of both fast and slow running and how to get the best out of hard sessions. Max then set me a training schedule for a half marathon, which I followed and promptly knocked 4 minutes off my personal best time. For the next two years, under Max's direct guidance, everytime I raced I set a personal best.

Had it not been for Max's wisdom, guidance and support I would not be the runner I am today, nor would I have got from it the enjoyment I did then and continue to get now.

Max, a gentleman to whom I owe a lot.

From Dave Gillian of Abbey Runners, a current coachee of Max

Sue phoned me with the sad news earlier. I had just emailed him excited by the latest of 16 PBs I'd got in less than 8 months with his invaluable help!

One of my first thoughts today was that although I'd entered as an Abbey I'd like to run in Valley colours at the Rotterdam Marathon next month as a small tribute. Do you see this being a problem?

He was a great coach and a great friend. The running world has lost one of its greatest...

From Kathy and Ken Kaiser (VS)

We are so so sorry to hear of Max's death, he was a great ambassador for our sport and club, we will miss him dearly.

From Paul Briscoe, former Secretary of Valley Striders

I'm very sad to hear the news about Max. He was undoubtedly one of the most enthusiastic people I've ever met.

From Ian Rosser (VS)

Sorry to hear the sad news about Max. I have often gone through his articles and been impressed by his knowledge about running.

From Peter Johnson of Roundhay (tried several times to persuade him to join the Striders)

Sorry to hear about Max . . . I used to see him out and about . . . a great inspiration for us all!!

It's often the case where we go through life running on roads etc negotiating potential life threatening situations and finish up doing something quite simple.

Thoughts with family.

From Tracy Stewart (VS)

He was a very grand man who will be sorely missed.

From Panos Aristotelous (VS)

Max Jones, a proper dude!! True Gent.

From Steve Webb

Very sorry indeed to hear the news of Max. I'm sure he enjoyed watching the National the other day.

From Julie Welch who wrote a feature about Max in "The Guardian"

Max was great - engaging, enterprising, courteous, eccentric without being barmy, a cup-half-full-man. We first met in 1999 when I interviewed him for 26.2: Running The London Marathon, and when he told me about his childhood, he could have made it sound straight out of a misery memoir - his mother walked out of his life when he was 7 and he was packed off to boarding school without explanation - but he narrated everything with cheerful equanimity.

He obviously had a first class brain and I admired the way he turned retirement to his advantage and created a whole new life for himself as an ultrarunner. In fact, he was one of the most inspiring and interesting people I've ever known.

One year, he stayed at our house the night before the London Marathon. I crashed and burned early on in the event and finished at an ignominious walk. I'd fully expected Max, a proper, decent athlete, to have come in a good two hours earlier but Ron, my husband, who had been stationed in Birdcage Walk, said he'd only just shuffled past. He'd obviously had a nightmare and looked so awful Ron thought he was going to die, but Max made damn sure he got himself to the finish like he did every year.

As it turned out, Max had a good few years left in him to delight us all. After we heard of his death, our family chatted about him. We remembered his obsession with nandrolone and the heart rate monitor he always wore under his T-shirt, his disinterested scientific curiosity and charming, old-fashioned manners and helpfulness, and I noticed that everyone had a smile on their face as they thought of him - not a bad epitaph.

From Paul White, Valley Striders Treasurer

I was very sorry to hear the sad news about Max, particularly having seen him looking so fit and well at the Nationals a couple of weeks ago.

The first time I met Max was on my very first run with Valley Striders on 31st October 1995. Being a novice runner this first session was the old 9 mile fartlek route which was harder and further than I'd ever run before! I was very grateful to Max for running with me at the back as I was struggling to keep up, particularly when we got to those parts of the route where we had to run flat out! Having managed to survive that tough introduction, I subsequently asked Max for advice on several occasions and was always amazed by the tremendous amount of knowledge and experience he had about all aspects of running.

From Gwil Thomas (VS)

I'm really sorry to hear about the death of Max.

He was a ceaseless supporter of Striders and it was always great to see him at the races. I remember last year a few of us travelled over to Newark to do the half marathon. Scorching hot day, and about 6 miles in some housing estate in the middle of nowhere there was Max cheering us on - it perked you up to see him.

Whenever we met he was always keen to hear how my running was getting on and he was happy to provide advice. He was a lovely guy.

It's sad and I'll miss him being around.

From Maureen Bennett, Max's physio

We had lengthy discussions about drugs,weight and race times, nutrition, stretching, you name it we discussed it - AT LENGTH.

I did enjoy those discusions even though he had his theories that were hard to change at times. However if I did persuade him he would go away, research and return with a counter or pro argument. He was an extremeley knowledgeable man who helped a lot of runners and coaches. He genuinely just wanted to help others achieve.

I am so glad he was able to keep his running going until the day he passed - not one for an old age our Max.

I was his physio but became his friend. I will miss him but I won't forget him.

From Steve Dixon, Valley Strider and near neighbour

My memory of Max will always be seeing him run past my house on his training runs.

Montagu Place will just not be the same without the sight of Max, running along the road with his steely determination, but always able to wave his thanks to all the car drivers that pulled away from the kerb as they passed.

I was chatting over the garden fence to my elderly neighbour back in the mid eighties when Max ran by. My neighbour, with a note of concern for Max's welfare said “All this running won't do him any good”.

Sadly my neighbour passed away with a heart attack quite soon after but Max just kept on running by.

From Mike and Eileen Crosfill, VS Life Members

It was with great sadness that we read the email about Max. We will certainly miss him, as we're sure all at Valley Striders will. We will also remember him with great fondness. He always showed great knowledge and enthusiasm for running and all sorts of other topics which we used to discuss as we waited at the finish line whilst the runners were out on the course at club handicaps. Not having him to calculate the handicap times quickly will mean slower results in future. Max's own sporting achievements were remarkable. A great character and true and dedicated sportsman. Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time.

From Ali Rose, GB Physiotherapist

I am really sorry to hear of his passing. He was a lovely man, with an enthusiasm for running that matched none other. He was also very knowledgeable in his passion.

I am sorry that I won't be able make the funeral as I am at the world cross, but send my condolences to the club, as I know he will be sorely missed

From Diana Dubelaar, VS from Gold Coast Queensland, Australia

I am an Australian Long Distance runner, introduced to Max in 2004 by a fellow Aussie runner - via the wonderful world of the internet! I have NEVER personally met Max, but feel he has touched my life and certainly made an amazing difference to my performance. Right from the beginning he used his extensive knowledge of sports science to plan out my future success!

He was ALWAYS so positive, so encouraging and so kind - his belief in my running abilities made me blush many times!! no one else had even taken so much time and effort to allow me to be the best I could - particulary in 2005 when I did achieve half marathon and 10km personal bests.

He was also an incredible thoughtful family man - always reminding me that family - husband and children ( I am about to have my 3rd child!) came first.

I have dedicated my weekend 6km run to him - yes, it was slow as I am 6 months pregnant but as I looked up at the Queensland morning sunrise here in Australia, I will always remember his special words of encouragement that has circled the globe. My memory of him will always be of wisdom and kindness. Thank you Max, Rest in Peace.

From Steve O'Callaghan, Valley Striders Club Captain and Life Member

It was with great sadness that I heard that Max Jones had passed away on Sunday 14 March especially as I was only talking to him at the Nationals in Roundhay Park on 27th February a couple of weeks earlier. He was in great form and we had a good chat about his favourite subject 'the use of drugs in sport'. He also was interested in the problem I had with an irregular heart beat.

I first met Max in 1983 when I lived at Gledhow and I was winding down for the London Marathon. It was about 9 days before London and I was running down Princes Avenue when I caught up with him. We got chatting and soon established we were both running London. When I told him I had trained hard to improve on my PB of 2.25 he asked me where I lived and said that he would pop a note through my door with some coaching advise.

A few days later a letter arrived from Max with pages and pages of advice. Most of it I was already aware of but there were some interesting ideas. It was too late to change my plans and I went on to run 2.21. I On occasion I bumped into Max at races after that and we always had a good chat.

Max eventually joined Valley Striders so as you know the chatting became a regular thing on a Tuesday night. When I ran the London to Brighton Max was also entered but had to pull out with diarrhoea problems. I had planned to get the train back from Brighton but Max was at the finish to support me and he insisted I came with him and his son to Gatwick where it would be much easier to get back to London on the shuttle train, which it was. The following year Max ran the race using some Maxim he had won and finished in fine style and became a Maxim customer of mine for his long endurance races.

As you know he was very proud of Tracy's achievements and involved with myself and Keith advising her before her London Olympic selection and Athens Olympic games.

He was a true gentleman of the sport who always had time to help others achieve their goals and could give a factual opinion on any aspect of the sport. His own successes were outstanding and he was very well respected around the world by his peers in his age group categories.

Sadly he will be missed.

From Paul Furness, long-time Valley Strider

I find it very difficult to express my sorrow at Max's untimely death - I always thought that he would go on for ever.

I first met Max in the autumn of 1984 - I was running through Oakwood and Max was running around his beloved "1.9 mile circuit" and he invited me to join him for a couple of loops. I ran that circuit with him many times after that. Max secured me an entry into the 1985 London marathon and we travelled down in his Volvo estate car and stayed overnight at your brother, Peters house in Chesham (I think that was the village?). I also recall that we went to watch the local football team (Chalfont St Peters FC) play on the Saturday afternoon. That was my first London marathon experience and I have run several since, but nothing like as many as Max.

Max has given me invaluable running & injury advice over the past 25 years and I owe all of my fastest race times to training schedules & timetables he devised and wrote for me. I was on marshalling duties with Max on the Soldiers Field the other Saturday at the National Cross Country races and he was telling about his latest injury problem and how he was starting to train again. I will miss my chats with him and the vast knowledge he had on "all things". In fact all of the Valley Striders running club will miss him.

He was very fortunate to be surrounded by his family and he often talked about all of you guys.

Peter, Max's son, replied

Thanks for your email, we have received so many wonderful comments from so many people, it is truly touching.

Yes, I remember you staying with us - in fact you ran in my name and your 3.08 is still my personal best for the marathon distance! And yes, we did go to watch Chalfont St Peter football team - Goodness knows why! I hope to meet you again at the funeral.

From Rob Hamilton, Valley Strider

I recall meeting Max the first and unfortunately the only time during a meeting held at LEOS. I asked for his advice to improve my Leeds Half Marathon time and I was so engrossed by his in depth of knowledge of running and sport science. All of you who knew Max was once he got started there was no stopping him and thought I could be here for a long night. I shall be truly grateful for his advice and keep his sprit with me during the coming event.

From Paul Sanderson, Valley Strider

I was very sad to hear about Max. My clearest memory of him will be at the Meanwood Valley Trail Race last year when he showed me just how many cars can be parked in the top field at Leo's if you stick to the plan carefully.

From Henry Lyall (sometimes North Shields Polytechnic and NEVAC)

I first met Max at a UK Athletics congress about ten years ago, when I went to a session on drug testing, not because I was particularly interested in the subject, but because the alternative was of even less interest. I was immediately impressed the obvious depth of knowledge of one of the members of the audience, and after the session went to talk to Max, and ended up going to lunch with him and Chris Chataway, a fascinating experience.

I managed to keep in touch with Max, and met up with him at several other meetings over the years, but most importantly had many enjoyable conversations with him on the telephone, and learnt a great deal from him - it was a great shock to ring up last week to find that he had died after his unfortunate accident.

We had similar backgrounds at university level, both of us having done science degrees at Cambridge, but very different backgrounds in schooldays. For most of my time at school, athletics was confined to a single Sports Day, with house representatives chosen from those who were good at either rugby or cricket which effectively excluded me. I was however reasonably fit, covering 3 miles a day to and from the station, and a severe winter which made the pitches unplayable led to some cross country running which led to my involvement with athletics. I found that when I started training with some of the better runners in the school, who could beat me by nearly half a lap in the mile, I could not only run clear of them over 10 miles or beyond, but also out beat them over short sprints. I have discussed this with Max, although we could not reach any useful conclusion, but it intrigues me, particularly if you think of Ian Thompson who only ran a Marathon to make up a club team but ended up as Commonwealth Champion - identification of optimum racing distance seems to be a grey area in athletics.

My competitive record is far inferior to Max's - the first occasion that I finished first in a race was at the age of 41 and that was the slower of two heats. Not until ten years later, by then training with a high class sprinting group, was I fast enough to win all three sprints in a club track and field championship in front of the seniors, partly because they were 15% slower than my friends from school days had been running 30 years earlier, and partly because I had improved my peak speed by 5% on the basis of half a page of mathematical analysis, and three brief (15 minute) strength training sessions a week for a month. (It was then that I learnt the meaning of "middle age" - as a veteran of over 40 I was not eligible to win a senior championship, but was also too young to be called a senior citizen!)

Elementary mathematical analysis (or common sense) can be an extremely powerful tool- - as Max has pointed out when he advised his athletes to wear very lightweight shoes for racing, rather than the horrendously heavy shoes frequently promoted by manufacturers.

From Tracey Morris, Valley Strider and Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European marathon competitor

I would like to pass on my condolences to Max's family and friends. It came as a great shock to hear of his death when only last month he was participating in a Valley Striders drill session fit and healthy. Max had such passion and determination for the sport of which I have great admiration and it is unbelieveable what he has achieved and was still achieving.

Max would do anything to help others achieve their goals, nothing was too much trouble, even giving me his home made orthotics out of his trainers to see if they'd help my running style. Once he turned up at my house at 12.35 am with 'barbie' drink bottles to put on the drink stations at Athens so I would recognise my drinks straight away, not mixing them up with anyone else's. Luckily we had to use the bottles provided as I felt a little embarrassed with pink barbie doll ones when I was trying to overcome my 'jo jogger' reputation and was trying to be a 'proper' athlete. However the intention again was to help.

My friends thought I was mad one evening when they found a hand held wheel in my car which Max used to measure my runs as the mileage on my car was not accurate enough! He also introduced me to 'racing flats' when I thought one pair of trainers did everything!

Max is a real inspiration and when hitting the 'low'points in running, feeling like giving up, just thinking of Max and his achievements will help keep us positive I'm sure.

From Dave Gillian of Abbey Runners, 2nd claim Strider and a current coachee of Max

I met Max a couple of years ago and never have I met a man of his age with such energy and enthusiasm for life! We started working together last summer when I went to him for help in finally breaking my sub 4 marathon duck! From the start he wasn't interested in sub 4 hours...I could do much better than that! At first I didn't believe him but pretty soon I was believing that anything was possible! It his kind of man management that makes the top coaches stand out above the rest and as such in my eyes he was up there with the Brian Cloughs of this world and I don't say that lightly! Pretty soon this unspectacular overweight fella was getting faster and faster and records were starting to crash down around my ears. When I obliterated the 3:59:59 target with a 3:28:05 my unbridled joy was equally matched by his yet I was the only one suffering from shock because he knew exactly what was coming!

We travelled all over the country to all manner of races, Max insisting on driving so I could rest my legs, and talked for hours and hours about all things running, other sports, politics, history, in depth human physiology, blood, drugs, anti-doping and of course anti-anti-doping...I could barely get a word in edgeways at times but I never minded because the genius of this man couldn't escape his mouth quick enough and I was captivated! The only compensation he would take for his time and efforts would be his favourite post race fish 'n' chips at Bryans to discuss the days events and I was more than happy to oblige as more running chat would be unleashed! "Quite a character" is the phrase you hear over and over about Max. He spoke to everyone, knew everyone and had them all eating out of his palm. I'll never forget the waitress joining us at our table for quite some time, clearly forgetting her work as he captivated her too, this time with his take on the Caster Semenya debacle. His anger and pity for the poor young girl clear to see. She didn't want her private details discussed in the media, it wasn't her fault, she just wanted to run, just as Max did, just as well all do! Don't worry the IAAF and the BBC got both barrels too! Not afraid of a controversial opinion or two, particularly on his favourite subject of anti-anti-doping but agree with him or not he always honest, intelligent and fair. It's a shame that more of the powers that be wouldn't listen to his inconvenient truths but they were probably threatened by him...and rightly so!

It was a great adventure and sadly it's been cut short just as it was beginning. He has given me many many happy memories and rather than being just a great coach, he was a great friend. He changed the way I think and has given me belief like I've never had before. It's no exaggeration to say that he changed my life in no small way. I will carry on the adventure and when the pain bites and the wall strikes I will hear him telling me "it's 80% in the mind" and suddenly my legs will find new strength from nowhere. When it feels impossible to go on for 26.2 miles I'll just remember my favourite quote of his...

"It's impossible to run for 24 hours...so don't! Just run one lap at a time!"

It isn't impossible of course! One lap at a time he ran 191.019 km in 24 hours at the age of 70 ... a world record no less!

Max Jones. Legend.

From Howard Jeffrey of Otley A C, 2nd (and previously 1st) claim Strider

I was very saddened to hear about Max. I walked back from the cross country with him as I had parked where I used to live round the corner from him. I shall miss chatting to him at races.

Has any thought been given to some kind of 'memorial' trophy? Might I suggest the Max Jones trophy for best age related performance each year could be appropriate. Just a thought!

From Lyn Eden of Ilkley Harriers and 2nd claim Strider

We've only just returned from Australia and just now learned the sad news about Max Jones.

To me he was [and is], a total inspiration, a hero. It was due to him that I completed a sub 4hr marathon. He gave me his formula and training advice which I followed to the extent that I trained on my own rather than be distracted from it by my then club members [Nidd Valley]. It worked. I ran Lochaber Marathon in 3hrs 59mins. Thank-you Max. There was no reason why he should help me, after all I am just a back of the field club runner and at that time wasn't even a Valley Strider.

But his greatness was that he did help people, no matter what their standard. His thoughtfulness and kindness knew no barriers. He treated everyone as an athlete, and gave quality advice. I continually refer to his training advice on the VS website.

He will be greatly missed by so many. He touched so many people's lives and everyone has wonderful thoughts and memories of him.

He is my hero and inspiration. Thank-you for being there Max.

From Terry Lonergan (The Complete Runner), former Valley Strider

Sorry to hear about the passing of Max Jones. He was a tremendous character who gave so much to so many people.

From Lou Gilchrist, Valley Strider, multi world record holder and one of Max's coachees

During the 15 years I have known him Max has supported me, encouraged me and had complete faith in my ability as a runner and he in turn has been an inspiration to me, always optimistic, full of life and energy and always there for me. I shall miss him.

As for stories - too many, perhaps I should write a book. One rather amusing one in particular stands out - he was coming to my house and travelling on to the Wilmslow Half with Eric Rathbone and Adrian Pike, my training partners at the time - it was getting time to set off, still no Max - finally in desperation I phoned to see what was happening and he answered the phone. "Aren't you coming" I said. He answered "just setting off" - "didn't you put the hour on" I replied. Yes it was that week-end and Max had not allowed for losing the hour.

We set off and he followed on.

He was my 'driver' when I went to take part in the Welsh Castles Relay this particular year was I think 2002 and the Middleton Captain (I was first claim Middleton at the time) in her wisdom allocated me the old lady to do a mountain leg - Leg 7 I believe it was 9.8 miles Dolgellau to Dinas Mawddwy - 6 miles up hill and 3.8 downhill - the cars were in first gear it was that steep coming down. Two seconds from the start I was completely alone on the road. Max, bless him had asked me what I wanted him to do and I said just keep driving on a mile and wait for me - that way I knew exactly how far I had come and to have someone rooting for me every mile was unbelievable. I actually overtook a couple of runners so I wasn't last!!

It was because of Max I entered the 1999 World Veteran Championships. He was so confident that I would win medals. I wasn't particularly bothered. Eventually to please him I entered three events and to his great delight ended up with 3 medals. To this day I think that taking part in the World Championships was one of the highlights of my running career - for which I have to say "thank you Max".

We shall always remember you.

Louise, Brian, Eric and Adrian

From John Keston, Valley Strider and world class vetern runner in USA

Thank you for yours about Max's death. I had, almost at the same time, an e-mail from daughter Susan. And so I have spoken with her and also daughter Amanda in Portland Oregon. The weekend Max passed on was the same weekend that he and I often ran the Shamrock races together, 5K, 8K or 15K. in Portland. and I was there to sing "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" to start the 5K. It wasn't until Monday when I got home to Sunriver Oregon that I got your and Susan's e-mail. Anyway, it was sad, sad news.

Max was a great friend to me and was always giving me tips, perhaps I should say instructions (you know how he was in presenting new ideas about our sport) on how to train better to get more and more records. I still have reams of his communications to me on the subject of racing. He was thrilled each time I got a new record and was as delighted as though it would be his own. We had not seen him since he visited daughter Amanda a couple of years ago in Portland when he visited us in central Oregon and as usual he was expounding running technique and secretly coaching me. Wife Anne and I loved him dearly and shall miss him. In fact I was planning on our next trip to England to come and visit him and to come to a Tuesday evening Strider's meeting. I should perhaps do that anyway and will stay in touch with you about the possibility. You may share this and our commiserations with club members.

Most recent update 2004

Max has 'lost' his over-70 World 100km record to young Max - Max Courtillion from France.

However 'our' Max still holds the over-70 World Records at 50k, 40miles, 50miles, 12hours, 150k, 100miles and 24 hours, the Commonwealth Record at 100k and the British Record at 30miles. All these were track races.

He also holds the Commonwealth world record for 100k on the road at M65 and M70 age-groups.

He also held (but has now lost) 3 World Records, 2 Commonwealth Records and 4 British Records in the M65 age-group on the track.

Max ran every London Marathon from 1981 to 2002, but, due to injury, was unable to run in 2003 and 2004.

He ran the Chris Brasher memorial race in Richmond Park in June 2004

See:

created 2 Jan 1999