London Marathon: Derek, 72, running third race for hospice

Derek James running the London Marathon last year

Derek James running the London Marathon last year - Credit: Tom Morton

Watching the London Marathon from the sidelines or on the television is the usual level of involvement from most 72-year-olds.

But for Derek James, who celebrated his birthday on Thursday, he’ll be pounding his way around the streets with runners half a century younger than him to raise money for Richard House Children’s Hospice.

The former Eastlea School teacher has volunteered at the Beckton hospice for seven years, and says he is “proud” to help out there.

Derek, of Silvertown, took up running in his late thirties and will be taking part in his third consecutive marathon for the hospice.

He hopes to beat last year’s time of four hours, three minutes and 35 seconds, which put him 15th in the over 70s category, and is targeting a time of less than four hours.

Derek said: “I’ve kept strictly to the training schedule.

“The hardest part of the training has been giving up beer for the last three weeks, but I shall start making up for lost time within half an hour of crossing the finishing line!”

To sponsor Derek, visit

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