Eighty-two year old running enthusiast Gordon Woodlands is the oldest entrant in this year’s Great Birmingham Run; he has a unique training regime – all to support disabled and terminally ill children.
Gordon, from Walsall, is a former milkman and postman so is familiar with the streets of the town where he trains most days. His workout includes running up 17 flights of steps and completing multiple 1k laps of Walsall’s Palfrey Park three days a week.
Gordon – who will be 83 two days after the event on Sunday 19 October – only took up running in 2011 after the death of his wife Norah three days before their 57th wedding anniversary. He said: “She died in the March and that October I finally shook myself up – I was putting on weight – and decided to get in shape.”
So he pounds he pavements on a route from Walsall through Darlaston, Moxley, Bilston, Wolverhampton, Willenhall and Darlaston Green (14 miles) three days a week.
Now with a chest full of running medals, Gordon is competing in the Great Birmingham Run in aid of Cannock-based charity Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children. Newlife provides specialist disability equipment for children all around the UK – and in the West Midlands alone this amounts to 653 Equipment Grants totalling almost £1million.
Newlife Fundraising Manager Nora Smith said: “It would be wonderful if readers could give Gordon the support he deserves by going to his on-line sponsorship page – www.justgiving.com/Gordon-Woodlands2 – and donating. And if anyone would like to join Gordon at the starting line and take part in the Great Birmingham Run, please contact www.newlifecharity.co.uk/bgbr.”
Gordon said: “Taking part in running events can be very sociable. When I line up people always come up to the ‘little old bloke’ taking part and want to chat. They are always surprised at my age.”
He added: “I’m never first in these events – but I’m never last either. I get into a rhythm and keep up a good pace. But I always like to sprint the last 100 yards . . . .”
Pictured: Gordon Woodlands