Friday, March 28, 2014
For most people preparing to run their first London Marathon at the age of 71, the fitness level required for 26.2 miles round the capital’s streets probably seems quite daunting.
However, Exmouth grandfather Mike Keep, of Douglas Avenue, should be able to keep his cool, having first taken up running in the sweltering heat of the West African jungle.
Mike is now a keen runner, but says he had no interest in the sport until 12 years ago, when he was looking for something to do with his spare time while laying oil and gas pipelines in the region.
He said: “We were right in the middle of the bush, and there’s not much to do there, but the pipes had roads built next to them which were like running tracks, and I used to run miles and miles along those tracks.”
Having returned to Exmouth, Mike, a father of three and grandfather of six, began running seriously when he joined the Exmouth Harriers four years ago.
He has run other marathons, but has seen several applications to run in London turned down.
However, this year he has got his chance, after running a fast enough time for his age group to be admitted on competitive grounds.
He said: “I’m really quite excited about the whole thing. I’ve tried to do it for so many years and failed, so I’m working very hard now to justify people’s confidence in me.”
Although Mike will be hoping for a fast time, he is also hoping to raise money for charity, and has set a target of raising £1,000 for Breast Cancer Care.
He said: “My wife Cathy had a scare a few years ago and had an operation to remove some cancerous cells. She’s a survivor, so it’s ‘survive and then support’.”
The London Marathon takes place on Sunday, April 13. To sponsor Mike, visit www.justgiving.com/MIKE-KEEP.