Ray Johnson - age is just a number!

Ray Johnson

Ray Johnson (handicap 32.9), from Kent, will be 80 next month and is pushing the performance margins with his running prowess. With the London Marathon fast approaching as his next target, just prior to his 80th birthday celebrations, here are a few of the amazing things that he has done and is planning on doing:


Ray joined the local gym the day after retirement in October 2001. He gravitated towards the treadmill and realised that he quite enjoyed running. It was five years later that he took part in the annual Faversham 10K, and had to be helped home. Nevertheless he was hooked and has been taking part every year since.


After teaming up with his postman, Graham Bedford (handicap 19.1), in 2009,  Ray pursued more challenges and in particular the Half Marathon distance.  Things went well and the half evolved to the full marathon. Ray made his London debut in 2013 as a 76 year old and improved further in 2015 running with his inspirational training partner Graham. With family always on the route there is no shortage of support for Ray Johnson.


Ray’s training consists of 6.30am runs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and at 9am on Saturdays. Running is only one part of the recipe though and he is a regular at his local gym. Ray has developed some outstanding strength and conditioning accomplishments including a 12 minute plank. This was witnessed on Good Morning Britain with presenters Ben Shephard and Kate Garraway (as pictured)  in January 2015. Earlier this month Ray also performed his plank at the London Palladium and sat in the Royal Box with Carol Vorderman who, we hope, appreciated the gravity of her good luck to in the company of such an athlete!


Ray mixes his running with cross training and includes bench presses, cycling and rowing activities in the gym. He also mixes some of his running training with walking to optimise the training effect, but then we’ve seen Mo Farah walking after some of his training, so walking recoveries work for all of us!


Ray is keen to encourage more older people into running and says, "It is never too late. I didn't start running until I was 69, and ran my first London Marathon at the age of 76. Even if you only walk on a treadmill that is better than nothing. If you are physically fit, then age is not important, it's just a number."


Ray states that his biggest influence has been training partner, Graham, and says "I will always be grateful to him for changing my life for the better."


Ray will be 80 next month and Graham has organised for him to do a  Wing Walk in celebration! "He wanted it to be a surprise, but had to tell me as I had to get a letter from my doctor to prove that I am fit enough. it seems that 65 is the age limit. How about that for ageism!"


Good Luck with your upcoming challenges Ray - we look forward to hearing all about them so please keep us posted!