Meet The 81-year-old Marathon Gran Who Runs Two Marathons a Month
Hilary Wharam: 81, is 177 marathons down and showing no sign of slowing.
Three marathons in a week. One might presume that feat was accomplished by an elite runner in their prime. However, this story begins differently, with a resilient 81-year-old grandmother named Hilary Wharam. In May, she completed three marathons in one week, but usually she does two marathons a month.
Hailing from Leeds, Hilary took up running in 1996 and has since accumulated an astonishing count of 177 marathons. Hilary, who was recently spotted crossing the finish line at the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon, said that the event was “one of the very best.”
Whilst most people slow down in their retirement years, Hilary shows no signs of stopping her pursuit of the finish line, even participating in three events in just one week, with no specific training.
She breezed through the Rob Burrow marathon in a respectable 8 hours and 15 minutes saying: “I’d have been quicker but I was shepherding a young woman round from mile eight. I held the lady’s hand as we crossed the finishing line, she was exhausted by her efforts.”
But, how does Hilary prepare for such a gruelling week? The reply might surprise you. She confessed, “None. I don’t need to as I generally do an average of two marathons a month. Occasionally, I might run over the nearby hills to the supermarket and walk or bus back. That’s not training, it’s fun.”
Hilary has set a daunting goal for herself: 300 marathons. She told the BBC, “There’s no point settling at 200, as I’ll reach that within the year. It was lovely to take part in Rob’s marathon.”
The Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon is named in honour of former rugby star Rob Burrow, diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) in 2019. The marathon, which also marked the first Leeds marathon in 20 years, has raised more than £1 million for various charities.
Hilary found the event more than just a run, but a beacon of community spirit. As she navigated the marathon course, supporters burst from the crowds to offer encouragement and hugs. She reflected, “It’s always hard, it’s harder on your own, but if you’ve got a captive audience, and you’re thinking about helping them, you just fly because you’re not concentrating on yourself at all.”
Hilary’s indomitable spirit serves as a reminder that age is just a number. She embodies the joy of running, the strength of the human spirit, and the unifying power of the running community. It seems there are many more miles to go before Hilary hangs up her running shoes, and we can’t wait to cheer her on every step of the way. Hats off to Hilary from The Running Channel!
Image credit: Hilary Wharam (Facebook)