Boghead marvel Margaret Allan (78) has done 184 park runs in last five years!

Margaret Allan celebrates finishing one of her 184 park runs, in Shetland last summer.Margaret Allan celebrates finishing one of her 184 park runs, in Shetland last summer.
Margaret Allan celebrates finishing one of her 184 park runs, in Shetland last summer.
Having completed 57 of Scotland’s 59 5km park runs since 2015 – and done 184 in total – Boghead’s Margaret Allan is not your typical 78-year-old!

And Margaret, a member of Strathaven Striders, is determined to complete her remaining two races in Pitlochry and Inverurie as soon as is possible once the current coronavirus crisis eases sufficiently.

“These 59 park runs are on in Scotland every week unless it is icy or something,” Margaret told the Carluke and Lanark Gazette. “I’ve been to many places including Shetland, Orkney, Stornoway, Dumfries and Kelso.

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“It’s been wonderful, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it because I just make a weekend of it.

“I’d hoped to get all 59 park runs done before my birthday on March 22 but I didn’t make it.

“I was up in Aberdeen to do the one on March 21 and it didn’t take place.

“I was looking forward to it but the run being put off is nothing compared to what’s happening to everybody else.”

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Margaret puts her fine fitness in advanced years due to having been running with the Striders twice a week.

She rejoined the club in 2015 for a second stint, having ended her original spell in the late 1990s after being diagnosed with bowel cancer which was subsequently operated on.

“My mother had died aged 64 from bowel cancer,” Margaret said. “So I was going for regular check-ups every three years.

“So it was fortunate that they caught the cancer early enough.”

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Margaret, who in earlier life had two benign brain tumours removed at the age of 49, also suffered the heartache of losing her beloved husband Robbie, who died in August 2013.

But, after joining the Striders two years later, her mood has often been lifted by her running stints with the club.

“After I’d done a 20-week course with the club, I started doing the park runs,” she said.

“My local course is at Strathclyde Park and after I started doing park runs there I realised they were all over the place. They are really well organised and categorised into age groups.

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“After the races you get a text telling you your time and mine always tells me I’m first in my age group because I’m in the 75 to 79 age group.

“In most places I get the age category record!

“The best one I’ve done was at Victoria Park (in Glasgow), 35:07.

“My best time at Strathclyde Park is 36 minutes.

“I would recommend anyone to exercise, especially in this lockdown.

“It gives you better strength in your legs, improves your balance and your whole body shape.

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“When folk see me and I say I’m 78 they say: ‘Oh no, you’re not really’.

“I don’t even do running, I’m walking.

“I walk anything from five to eight miles a day.

“I don’t want to be seen going about the streets at the speed I go at so I just do a brisk walk.”

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