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Photograph © Virgin Money London Marathon.

U3A member, Eileen Noble has become the oldest female runner in this year’s London Marathon.. completing her 19th event at the age of 84.

Eileen, a member of Welling U3A in South East London took up running with a friend 30 years ago when she was in her 50s – eventually running longer distances and then the London Marathon.

Eileen told U3A, “I love running. It doesn’t cost you much, just the price of a good pair of trainers and you can do it wherever you are. When I am on holiday I always find somewhere nice to run.

“When my husband was ill and then sadly passed away, I found running helped ease the tension made me feel better. It eases the anxiety.

“The Marathon was amazing – this year I ran for the charity MACs – for children born without eyes. “Until I was 68 I always completed marathons in under 5 hrs but now I take longer. This year I took 6 hrs 28 mins and 7 secs but I was happy with that as I achieved a Good for Age time which should give me a place in next year’s London Marathon.

“The best bit though was when the marathon organisers put me on the celebrity start for the first time – that was lovely – you have your bag put on the lorry for you and you had private toilets! I met a lot of EastEnders actors and even got my photograph taken with Wimbledon champion, Andy Murray.

“My eyesight has unfortunately deteriorated as I have got older and I now can’t drive. Joining U3A a few years ago has really stopped me feeling isolated. It’s very friendly – you meet lots of people with similar interests. I am a member of the Freedom Pass Explorers group and I enjoy the outings – I get to go to places I wouldn’t have gone to otherwise”