Oldest marathon runner, Paul Freedman, from Hornchurch preparing to run his 22nd marathon

Paul Freedman is preparing to run his 22nd London Marathon

Paul Freedman is preparing to run his 22nd London Marathon - Credit: Archant

A pensioner with a passion for running and charity is preparing to complete his 22nd London Marathon and has been named the oldest male runner.

Sprightly Paul Freedman MBE, 88, from Stanley Close, Hornchurch will be running in the Virgin London Marathon in aid of St Francis Hospice on April 21.

Paul said: “For me it’s about supporting charity. I have a soft spot for St Francis Hospice. “The hospice nurses looked after my wife Teeny at home before she died from cancer in 2007 and I have met many people who have been helped by the specialist care ST Francis Hospice provides when they most need it.”

Paul started running at 61 and completed his first London Marathon in 1990 and has joined in every year except 2004 when he was recovering from a heart attack.

He is hoping to raise at least £6,000 for the hospice and has several collections planned at supermarkets and other venues.

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It is the 16 time that Paul, will be running in support of the hospice.

Over the years he has raised more than £80,000 for the charity.

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Paul said: “My time doesn’t worry me, although I’d be pleased to finish in under seven hours. I just want to raise as much as I can for the hospice.”

In 2011, the grandfather of one was named as the oldest runner, but he missed out last year as Fauja Singh was the eldest male at 101.

His training involves going on runs, aerobics classes and he has an exercise bike at home, although he admits this year the cold weather has hindered his preparation.

He said: “The cold weather has set my training back a little, particularly as it affects my breathing. As I’m getting older I am finding it harder, but I’m determined to continue and would like to reach my target of 25 London Marathons.”

Apart from running Paul volunteers on the hospice inpatient unit each Christmas Day serving meals and drinks to patients and he has a concert party The Entertainers that puts on shows for patients and also holds fundraising performances for charity.

Last year he was selected to carry the Olympic torch through Barking and Dagenham.

To sponsor Paul visit www.justgiving.com/paulfreedman.

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