At an age when most runners have long hung up their trainers, George Black is still breaking records.
The 80 year old, who runs with Fife AC, broke the world four-mile record for a man of his age at the Portobello Promathon on New Year’s Day. Running at a pace of 7.32 min/mile, he covered the distance in 30 minutes and 10 seconds: more than seven minutes quicker than the previous record.
Speaking to The National newspaper of his achievement, the octogenarian said that his half-hour run consisted of: “18 minutes of discomfort, eight minutes of pain and four minutes of agony.”
Clearly not one to let the festive season slow him down, Black, who had a heart attack five years ago, also ran the fastest time of any other runner in his VM80-84 age category across the whole of the UK at the last St Andrews parkrun of 2019.
Black, who was born in 1939, the year the Second World War started, covered the 5k course in 24.34, a time over four minutes faster than the average (28.57) for runners of all ages at the event.
That Black has been an exceptional runner – at any age – is clear. After many years in cycling, he went for his first run in 1981, at the age of 42. Just a few months later, he ran his first race – the Vets Marathon Championships in Glasgow – in a time of 3:19. Fifteen months later, he won the event – by running an incredible 2:30.
Black, who will be taking on the East Hull 20 mile race in March, said that the social side of running was what was most important to him. “It’s my social life. I train with people at 8am in the morning and I’ve got lots of friends in the sport. It gets you out of bed.”
Black, who is keen to encourage older people to keep active, added, that at his age, it was "nice to be breaking records and not bones."
Image: Bob Marshall (Facebook)