London Marathon: Newbury's Mike Sheridan makes history to become first British runner over the age of 70 to finish in under three hours
History was made in this year's London Marathon as Newbury Athletics Club's Mike Sheridan became the first British runner over the age of 70 to complete the race in under three hours.
The 72-year-old finished the 26.2 mile course in an official time of 2:59.37, to write his name into the history books.
Mr Sheridan also became only the third person in the world to achieve this feat.
Ed Whitlock, who died in 2017, and Gene Dykes are the only other two who are on the list of runners over 70 to have completed a marathon in under three hours.
Mr Sheridan hit halfway in 90:16, but got quicker over the second half and his fastest 5km split of 20:41 came from 35km to 40km. He picked up an even faster pace over the last 2km.
The 72-year-old compared running a marathon to ‘physical chess’ as there is a lot you have to take into account.
“A marathon is physical chess,” he said. “You start on the start line, you know you have 26.2 miles to do, but you also know that the human body does not have enough reserves to run the whole thing flat out.
“You have to manage the conditions, other runners, the wind and the rain sometimes.
“You have to manage your own fuel sources and you have to carry gels and you have to top up at the right time.
“You have to eat properly and all of these things come into it and that’s why I call it physical chess.
“You can plan it very well, but if you get a headwind in the last 10 miles then you have a battle on your hands and you have to adapt. It’s why I love it, it is a brilliant distance really.”
Mr Sheridan praised the support from the crowd who turned out to cheer on the runners in London.
“The crowd were absolutely immense,” he said. “I won’t say there was a record number, but they were all out shouting and it was brilliant.
“I was running in a Newbury vest and I put my name on the front of it and I was hearing both names around the course, so it was really uplifting.
“My sister lives on a boat near Canary Wharf and I told her where I would be after a couple of hours and I think after mile 19, I came round the corner and she gave me a big shout, so it was a big moment.”
The Newbury runner has lived in West Berkshire for 20 years and got back into running in 2010.
Sunday’s race in London was his sixth time running the course, while he has completed a total of 16 marathons around the world.
He admitted that, although he runs different events for Newbury AC, he prefers the long distances.
“I run 5km, five miles, 10 miles, half marathons and marathons and I always do it for Newbury AC," he said.
“I don’t go on the athletics side where the races are on the track because those races for me are too short and too sharp.
“I am better at the longer distances and at the moment I top of the rankings for V70 for half marathons and I will now be for marathons.”
Mr Sheridan was one of five Newbury AC members who completed the London Marathon over the weekend.
Mark Flitton lead the club members home with a huge PB of 2:43:01, while there were also good runs from Mike Wheeler (3:16:30), Jenny Eaton (3:38:43) and Sue Van Huyssteen (4:03:20).
Ben Bliss also ran a marathon on Sunday, competing in the Dorney Lake event, and he improved his PB by 18 minutes, running his first sub three-hour time in 2:55:12.
For more reaction to this year's London Marathon, click here.