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Gloucester Athletic Club runner Jason Tilley is fired up for London Marathon in October

Gloucester > Sport > Running

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Friday, 27th March 2020, 09:00

Jason Tilley, right, with fellow ‘amigos’, from left, Max Sheppard, Steve Kenyon and Tracy Hinxman Jason Tilley, right, with fellow ‘amigos’, from left, Max Sheppard, Steve Kenyon and Tracy Hinxman

Jason Tilley knows what it takes to run the London Marathon.

When he lines up at the start for this year’s delayed spectacular on Sunday 4th October, it will be his eighth running of the world’s most iconic race.

His first time was way back in 1996 as a 24-year-old and he’s never lost his love for one of the great sporting events.

“It’s such a great atmosphere, it’s amazing,” said the Gloucester Athletic Club member. “The crowds help to keep you going when you’re in pain.”

And Tilley, who recorded a personal best of two hours, 51 in the London Marathon in 2004, certainly knows what it’s like to run through the 26.2-mile pain barrier.

“I tore my hamstring in the 2013 race,” he said. “The last five or six miles I was in terrible pain, it was awful. This will be the first time I have run the London Marathon since then.”

He still managed to finish the race seven years ago in a very respectable time of three hours, 14 – “I was on for 2.45,” he said - and is looking forward to running pain-free around London at the end of April.

“It’s nice not to be injured,” added Tilley, who said it took him four years to get over his hamstring injury. “It was a sciatic nerve in the hamstring. For a long time I could only run shorter distances, last year was the first time that I started to run longer distances again.”

Tilley, who is originally from Derby, lives in Abbeymead in Gloucester.

“I came down here on a six-month work secondment 16 years ago and never moved back,” he said with a laugh.

He first started running back in the mid-1990s and was one of the founder members of Hatton Darts Running Club, a club that is still going strong in his native Derbyshire.

“For a long time after I moved down here they were my main club,” said Tilley. “Gloucester were my second claim club.”

That all changed about three years ago and, according to Gloucester AC chairman Richard Blackwell, these days he is certainly one of the “prominent members” of the club.

“I did a lot of track races for the club last year,” said Tilley. “The steeplechase, 400 metres hurdles, 800 and 1,500 metres, all the races no one wants to do!”

He says he’ll be out there on the track competing for the club again this summer and it’s fair to say he’s loving every minute of it.

It helps that his partner Tracy Hinxman is also a member of Gloucester and the two of them, along with Steve Kenyon, who is also running this year’s London Marathon, and Max Sheppard, spend a lot of time together.

“We call ourselves ‘the amigos’,” he said.

Tilley and 34-year-old Kenyon will be side by side at the start of this year’s London Marathon but Tilley admitted: “He’s faster than me, he’s really gone from strength to strength,” before adding with a laugh, “but I beat him on age grading!”

Hinxman will be in London to cheer on Tilley – he’d like to run somewhere near his personal best of 16 years ago - and he has extra for motivation for wanting to put on a show this time around.

“I want her to run it next year,” he said. “It would be great if we could run it together, she’s already got the qualifying time.”

Hinxman, who is a year younger than her partner, is a very decent runner.

“She’s been smashing her PBs,” said Tilley. “She’s been doing up to half-marathons and she beat me in the recent Bourton 10K, that’s the first time she’s beaten me.

“She’s second in the UK for her age group in the 10K, she’s a natural.”

And London seems a natural fit for Tilley even though he said after his first one that he’d never run it again!

“It’s the only marathon I’ve ever run,” he said. “I ran in Nottingham and it was one of those races where you can run a half-marathon and then go on and complete a marathon.

“I ran about 14 miles and then I just stopped. There was no one around you, no crowds cheering you on.

“It was nothing like the London Marathon, the London Marathon is operatic.”

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