"Max defying age barriers on record trail"

by Paul Stockburn - Yorkshire Evening Post - 8 August 1997


At the age of three score years and 10, distance runner Max Jones refuses to think, in the biblical sense, about the finishing line.
The Valley Strider believes instead that reaching the age of 70, two months ago, signalled the start of a new phase of his remarkable running career.
To prove the point, he went out last weekend and set new age-group records at distances from 40 miles upwards at the Humberside 24-hour race in Hull.

He broke the British 40-mile mark with a time of 6hr 24min which was 24 minutes faster than the previous best. The national 50-mile record also fell as he was timed at 8hr 13min.
By 100k, the former company manager was well inside world best pace as he sliced nearly 100 minutes off the record. And at 12 hours he had covered 109.95 kilometres. That was merely the halfway mark!
His other records, all world over-70 marks, came at 150k (16hr 56min), 100 miles (18hr 16min) and 24 hours (191.019k).

The record-breaking performance was in sharp contrast to last year when in a similar attempt, at the over-65 records, ended in Jones collapsing after 15 hours when well inside the schedule.
In Hull he finished second overall, agonisingly being overhauled by Australian David Sill, a runner not much over half his age, in the last half hour.

"After about 20 hours I found I couldn't run", said Jones, one of the select band to have competed in every London Marathon.
"Having collapsed previously, I knew if I started to run, the chances were that I would collapse again"

After his run he paid tribute to Valley Striders clubmates Sylvia Watson, Geoff Webster, Sharon Wright and Mike Evans, his "trackside support team".
His "backroom" squad of physiotherapist Maureen Bennett, chiropractor Barry McQuire and haematologist Dr Manu Rajah had also helped him to be fit enough for the challenge.

Now he has set his sights on another over-70 first, breaking the 200k barrier for 24 hours.


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Created by Bob Jackson eMail bob.jackson@virgin.net
Updated on 5 Oct 1997