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Shipston runner is taking on his first marathon... at 76-years-old

SHIPSTON Rotarian Stuart McLean is 76 years of age, keeps himself fit by running and is taking part in his first marathon this Sunday (2nd April).

“I don’t smoke and I don’t drink a lot, so it’s important to use it or lose it,” he told the Herald. “It’s important to keep going while you can.”

Stuart Mclean from Halford will be running in the Brighton Marathon this Sunday. Photo: Mark Williamson. (63274334)
Stuart Mclean from Halford will be running in the Brighton Marathon this Sunday. Photo: Mark Williamson. (63274334)

Stuart, who retired ten years ago from his job as an account executive with NFU Mutual in Shipston, will be joined by his wife Angela when he takes part in the marathon in Brighton. She won’t be doing the marathon though. She’ll be running in the 10km instead.

Although Stuart has never run the marathon before, he’s done plenty of half-marathons and has run up to 21 miles in training. (The marathon is 26.2 miles.) “This will be my first time and probably my only time,” he said.

Stuart is hoping to raise at least £500 from his run for a variety of charities. The Rotarians are renowned for raising cash for good causes locally, nationally and internationally. Over the past year they’ve raised around £20,000. “What we want to do, particularly locally, is give money to those who need it to survive,” he said.

This sentiment can easily be applied internationally, especially when it comes to Ukraine, currently fighting for its survival as a sovereign state against Vladimir Putin’s Russia. The Rotarians have already sent cash to Ukraine, but there’s a coincidental link that goes beyond money.

Stuart added: “I usually run in blue and yellow, which are the Rotarians’ colours and also the colours of Ukraine.”

Stuart had intended to take part in the Manchester marathon last year, and did all the training, but two weeks before the event had to pull out because he contracted Covid. He then opted for the next marathon due to take place in this country, which happens to be the one in Brighton.

Born in Scotland and brought up in Essex, Stuart joined the Royal Air Force as a teenager and worked as a medical technician. His stint with the RAF inevitably involved some time abroad – including Peru. He was taking part in the RAF’s monitoring of French nuclear testing at Mururoa Atoll in the Pacific Ocean in the 1960s.

After leaving the RAF in 1971, Stuart moved to Warwickshire and became a mature student at the University of Warwick, obtaining a degree in psychology. He then lectured in psychology at Stratford College before taking up his role with NFU Mutual, from which he retired when he was 66.

And as for the running? “I wouldn’t describe myself as athletically inclined, but I like running and enjoyed cross-country running when I was a lad at school,” he said. “When we moved up here to Warwickshire I continued with a bit of running.”

As a result, he’ll be taking on a challenge in Brighton that would make most people of his age feel faint just thinking about.

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