Tom plans to run 80k on his 80th birthday

Membury marathon man hopes to complete his 50-mile challenge in 24 hours - and raise hundreds for the air ambulance

Tom Scriven is planning to celebrate his 80th birthday with an outing in the fresh air.

But this is no gentle countryside stroll – he will be attempting to complete an 80 kilometre run in just 24 hours.

The marathon man from Membury is hoping to raise at least �800 for the Devon Air Ambulance when he takes to the track at Axe Valley Community College on September 29.

Despite being an experienced endurance runner, Tom admits he is taking on quite a challenge but says he is determined to complete the course – even if he has to crawl.

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And he will have the help of a performance-enhancing substance – he has been known to carry a bottle of his favourite Guinness while running!

“It’s my favourite and much preferred sports drink - better known in the right circles as vitamin G!” he said.

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Irish-born Tom is no stranger to long-distance challenges, although he only took up jogging, to get fit and lose weight, at the age of 55.

He ran his first marathon in 1988 and stopped counting after completing over 100, some while ago.

Amongst his most notable achievements was coming first in his age category in the 24 hour endurance race at Doncaster in 2000, when he completed 102 miles.

Seven years later he took part in the six-day track “ultra” event at Erkrath in Germany - completing an amazing 10 marathons plus 10k – a total 268 miles. It was thought to be a new European and Irish best performance for a competitor aged between 70 and 74, although unfortunately this was never ratified.

Now, after recovering from keyhole surgery on an injured knee, Tom, who runs barefoot, is back in training for his latest marathon attempt.

“I am running three to four times a week, up to one hour a time,” he told The Herald.

“I am sure the challenge is achievable, I am very comfortable about that. I am planning to do it as a gentle jog and if I am reduced to walking or even crawling I will still keep going. I won’t push myself but I won’t stop. I am mentally prepared for this.”

His ‘80 at 80’ challenge will begin at noon on Saturday, September 29, and all are welcome – people can join him on the track to help raise money for the cause.

Tom is hoping soon to have a website link where people can log on to get a sponsor form –

For more information they can email him at call him on 01404 881120 or Tom Bayliss on 01297 553356.

Sponsor forms are also now widely available around the town.

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