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- Diane

Gill won't take no for an answer

Gill won't take no for an answer

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Watching all those brave, bonkers runners in the London Marathon today made me think of my inspiring friend Gill, 74. Running a marathon is something I've never imagined being able to do, but Gill's story makes me realise you should never say never. And you should definitely never say no to Gill!

"I started running 10 years ago because I was utterly jaded and down, both mentally, physically and in terms of my work. A colleague suggested I go on a retreat and I met a trainer there who I got on incredibly well with. I asked him if he’d take me on as a client and he said “provided you do as I tell you.” Well, that’d be a first!

After three months, I said, “I’ve always wanted to run a marathon” and he replied “absolutely no way.” I assumed that was because I was old. So I got two places in the New York marathon and said “OK James, you can either train me for the New York marathon and run with me, or I’ll sack you as my trainer.” To which his reply was “Well, I’ve never been to New York”

When we started I could barely manage 100 yards

We started running 100 yards, which I could barely manage, and then we went to 150 yards and so it built up. And six months later we ran the New York marathon together.

He admitted afterwards that he had thought I couldn’t do it because of my age, but he said “the more I trained with you, the more I realised that you are going to become my marketing tool, because all my other clients will look at you and think, OMG, if he can do that with her he can do it with me!”

Since then I’ve run 8 marathons and 12 half-marathons, all with James. I always say that if I drop dead, he has to bring the body back!

James says his ultimate aim is to take me round a marathon when I’m 100, although I’ve told him I’ll be me pushing him in his wheelchair even though he’s 30 years younger than me."

Have you ever taken on a challenge - to prove to yourself and everyone else you can?

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