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Marathon runner, 82, aiming for 100 medals

We could all probably do with taking a leaf out of Ray Johnson's book.

At the grand age of 82, the veteran marathon runner, from Faversham, has just been handed his 17th medal in a year - adding to a collection now totalling 67.

Marathon runner Ray Johnson, 82, with his medals
Marathon runner Ray Johnson, 82, with his medals

But Ray - who lives in St Johns Road - has no plans to stop pounding the streets just yet.

He now aims to collect 100 medals by the time he turns 84, having started running at 69 - an age by which most people have stopped such hobbies.

On Sunday, he took part in the Faversham 10k run and was presented with the award for oldest competitor for the eighth year.

“I am so lucky that I am so fit,” he said.

“But I do work at it.”

“This time last year I received my 50th medal at our annual local 10k. This is a record for me, 17 medals in one year.

Ray Johnson aims to collect 100 medals by the age of 84
Ray Johnson aims to collect 100 medals by the age of 84

“It was a very nice surprise when our mayor, Cllr Alison Reynolds, presented me with the veteran’s trophy.”

Up early every day, Faversham Running Club member Ray is in the gym by 6.30am on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

He says he gets there "late" on a Saturday - at 8.30am.

Even a fall which knocked him out back in March was not enough to deter him.

“I tripped and fell in a ditch and knocked myself out and was taken to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford,” he said.

“But I was in the gym the next day - I did look awful though, purple eye, bandages and all.

Ray was in the gym the next day after knocking himself out while out on a run
Ray was in the gym the next day after knocking himself out while out on a run

“I now go to the West Faversham Community Centre gym, so I have a one-and-a-half mile walk there and back four times a week, which is a great warm up.”

In the last year, Ray has completed 16 runs and been awarded 17 medals.

But his fitness level hasn’t just been reflected in his marathon success.

Back in 2016, Ray appeared on Good Morning Britain and beat ex-footballer Chris Kamara in a planking challenge, lasting for five minutes, 40 seconds.

“I can still plank for five minutes - just to keep myself trim,” he added. “My record is 12 minutes.”

Ray likes to challenge himself to see what he can achieve by each birthday.

Faversham Mayor Alison Reynolds presents Ray with one of his trophies
Faversham Mayor Alison Reynolds presents Ray with one of his trophies

“I want to collect 100 medals by the time I’m 84,” he said. “If not, then by 85.

“I have so much to be thankful for, my wonderful friends, my social life, and my health.”

He has completed three London marathons - something he says he will not do again - and says he has his best friend Graham Bedford to thank for inspiring him to run.

“I completed my third London Marathon just 12 days before I turned 80,” he said.

“Graham has been my biggest influence, he’s great.

“He invited me to do my first half marathon.

“He decided to start up Faversham Running Club after we took part in the 2015 London Marathon.”

But there’s one thing Ray can’t do, and that is drive.

“I am no good on the road,” he said. “I’ve not even ridden a bike for 50 years.

“I’m better off sticking to running.”

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