Welwyn Garden City runner completes 27th London Marathon - at the age of 82!

PUBLISHED: 12:41 30 April 2019 | UPDATED: 12:41 30 April 2019

Dennis completing Sunday's London Marathon. Photo: Courtesy of Isabel Hospice

Dennis completing Sunday's London Marathon. Photo: Courtesy of Isabel Hospice


Welwyn Garden City’s Dennis Draper completed his 27th London Marathon on Sunday – no mean feat at the age of 82.

Dennis and his wife Ellen training. Photo: Courtesy of Dennis DraperDennis and his wife Ellen training. Photo: Courtesy of Dennis Draper

The Garden City Runners member crossed the line in 6h21m33s, and was seventh in his age category.

Sadly Dennis' wife Eleanor, his long term running partner, wasn't able to finish the race – but still completed half of the 26.2-mile challenge.

But Dennis is still playing catch up to his wife, who has completed 219 marathons to Dennis' 210 and celebrates her 84th birthday tomorrow.

This time around they did very little preparation before the race as they were busy enjoying a holiday.

“Eleanor was running with my grandson supporting her but she has dementia, so it's become difficult for her,” Dennis told the WHT.

“I was quite pleased that we ran well on Sunday. We had a month in Canada and there was a lot of snow – so no training!”

The duo have taken part in marathon races up and down the country – as well as abroad in places like Canada and France – since completing their first together in 1988 when they were in their 50s.

You may also want to watch:

Now they are contemplating whether they should cut down on marathon running as they grow older, but are not ruling out any more long distance races in the future.

“We haven't got one placed at the moment – we're just waiting for the legs to recover,” Dennis said.

This time around the Drapers were raising money for Welwyn Garden City-based Isabel Hospice.

The hospice provides free end of life care to patients living with cancer and other life-shortening illnesses.

“The last three years we've run for Isabel,” said Dennis.

“Most families have had some contact with cancer at some point down the line.

“It was nice to see a lot of people from Isabel down there on the day, and we hope to raise as much as possible for [them] as we know the fantastic work they do.”

A total of 11 runners took part in the race for the charity, but none as senior as Dennis and Eleanor.

The two runners have raised nearly 60 per cent of their JustGiving target for Isabel Hospice, but hope to reach £2,000.

To make a donation to the couple's fundraiser page visit justgiving.com/fundraising/dennis-draper.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Welwyn Hatfield Times. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Most Read

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Most Read

Latest from the Welwyn Hatfield Times