Exmouth Harrier Ray Elston makes England debut – one year shy of his 80th birthday!

Exmouth Harrier Ray Elston making his England running debut. Picture CONTRIBUTED

Exmouth Harrier Ray Elston making his England running debut. Picture CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

The sporting adage of ‘you are never too old’ certainly applies to the news that Exmouth Harrier Ray Elston has just made his England debut at the grand age of 79, writes Des White.

After a string of excellent performances this year, Harrier Ray proudly represented England at the 2018 British and Irish Masters Cross Country International race in Singleton Park, Swansea on Saturday.

Ray was racing as one of 76 England athletes in 17 different age categories.

The day was perfect for cross-country racing with blue skies, sunshine and a slight chilly wind, and the 6km race was held over three laps of a very hilly parkland course.

Ray started the race in great form and during the three undulating laps he worked his way through the field to finish third scorer for the England men’s Over-75 team, helping them to win second team position and silver medals. Ray was really pleased with his race and said afterwards that he was looking forward to further opportunities to represent England. Ray only started running in his 50s and has been an inspiration for many, including his grandson Lee.

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Ray is a club stalwart, sharing his knowledge, motivating runners and, from time to time, leading training runs.

At the age of 79, Ray was one of the oldest in his age group, suggesting that when he reaches 80 next year he will be a strong contender for even higher honours.

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