A FORMER Great Britain athlete is marking his 74th birthday by running 100 miles in ten days for charity.

Norman Deakin, from Addingham, celebrated his birthday this week by raising hundreds of pounds for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. Mr Deakin, who has been running for 60 years, has reached a total of £645 so far.

He said: “From 1975 to 1987 I represented Great Britain on the road in distances ranging from 15K to the marathon.

“Each year since my 60th birthday I have run the equivalent to my age in miles in the week leading up to my birthday.

“This year as I feel that 60 years is something of a milestone and inspired by Captain Tom’s 100 challenge I am going to run 100 miles in ten days and have set up a ‘Just Giving’ page on Facebook to raise funds for Hearing Dogs For Deaf People. The link is, https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/norman-deakin1.”

“I have been a speaker/fund raiser for ‘Hearing Dogs’ for circa ten years and have been privileged to see first hand how deaf people have had their lives transformed through the provision of an assistance dog.

“During the covid pandemic the lives of deaf people have been made even more complicated as a lot of them rely on lip reading as a form of communication, which is extremely difficult when people are wearing a mask.

“So whilst I am aware that a lot of people will be covering distances greater than that of my challenge on a regular basis I do hope that people will support me because, like them today, while 40 or 50 years ago 100 miles in ten days would not have tested me much, that is certainly not the case today. So if people feel they can support my Hearing Dogs For Deaf People Challenge please follow my ‘Just Giving’ link.”

Mr Deakin was coached by ex National Marathon coach, the late, Don Shelley to International level, representing Great Britain on the road at distances from 15K to the marathon, from 1975 to 1985.

He said: “I still run most days but only cover a small distance of circa 4 miles and on the days I do not run I cycle circa 20 miles.

“My best marathon time is 2hours 15min 23sec but, of course, that was 44 years ago.”

With four days of his run to go Mr Deakin had raised £410, and had covered 74.25 miles. Originally from from Stoke-on-Trent, in Staffordshire, he now lives in Addingham.

Former Dutch marathon champion and international Adri Hartveld posted about the challenge, saying:“The best marathon runner North Staffordshire has ever had, is now 73 years old and testing if he’s still got it. After four days into his quest, it looks like the old man still has...... is he going to make the full 100 miles? Give him a shout on Facebook.”