86-year-old Hornchurch man to run 20th marathon for charity

Marathon man Paul

AN 86-YEAR-OLD marathon-addict has set aside an entire room in his Hornchurch home to medals he won from races – and he is set to add to the collection.

Paul Freedman, MBE, aims to fit in as many marathons and half-marathons this year as he can – including his 20th marathon for St Francis Hospice in London on April 17.

Paul, from Stanley Close, wants to complete the 26.2-mile course in under six hours and hopes to raise �10,000 for the hospice.

He has already raised well over �50,000 for the hospice, based in Havering-atte-Bower, which provides free care to people living with a life-limiting illness.

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His training regime includes regular jogs with a running club, and he has just been offered free membership at the David Lloyd Gym in Gidea Park for the three months leading up to the big day.

Before April, Paul also hopes to run the Brentwood Half-Marathon, the Silverstone Half-Marathon and the St Francis Hospice Santathon – to raise funds for the hospice.

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“You just have to fit these things in,” he said. “My target was always to try and do 500 miles from the beginning of the year to the Marathon in training,” he said.

Since he started running at the age of 61, Paul has spent the past 25 years competing in as many half-marathons, fun runs and races as he can.

“I’m very attached,” he said. “Once you’ve run a marathon you either say never again or you can’t wait for the next one. I am definitely the latter.”

He was awarded an MBE in 2008 recognising his lifelong commitment to fundraising.

Paul has volunteered for the hospice for 20 years, and visits every Christmas Day to spend time with the patients on the ward.

Sadly, in 2007 his wife became terminally ill, and received care in the couple’s home from the nursing team at the hospice.

This only motivated him further, and he could not resist when his son set him a target of 20 marathons.

If you would like to sponsor him, visit www.justgiving.com/Paul-Freedman.

St Francis Hospice is looking for runners to fundraise for them in this year’s London Marathon.

If you have a ballot place and are interested in supporting your local hospice, contact Lauren in the fundraising department on 01708 771427.

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