Preparations are well underway for next Sunday’s Barns Green Half Marathon and for one local runner it will mark a major milestone.
John Booker will line up at the start of the race for the 30th consecutive year having run in and completed all 29 races so far.
It is a remarkable achievement for the man who took up running 31 years ago and joined Horsham Joggers with the aim of getting fit enough to run in the very first Barns Green Half Marathon in 1982.
Even in the one year the race was cancelled because of the great storm in 1987 it didn’t stop John and a few of his Horsham Joggers colleagues who decided to run the course anyway, and at the end of the run some of the children had made cardboard medals to mark their efforts.
To commemorate John’s exceptional achievement and outstanding contribution to the Barns Green Half Marathon, the Horsham-based runner has been given the honour of running with the number 1 on his bib this year.
And at the age of 59 John’s enthusiasm for running shows no sign of waning. “I have run marathons in New York and Dublin but this is my favourite because it’s a local event, cheered on by local people and such a great course,” he said. “I was 29 when I took up running because I was getting a beer gut and saw an advert for a new club Horsham Joggers. The first major goal was the first Barns Green Half Marathon and after that I haven’t looked back.”
This year’s Barns Green Half takes place on Sunday September 30, at 11am - 30 years since the first race.
There are still places available visit the Barns Green site to book yours