Roy keeps on running

ROY Sutcliffe is a running machine.He runs more than six miles every day and has 38 marathons and a string of race records under his belt.At 77 he is the fastest man his age in the state of South Australia and when he was younger he thought nothing of running almost the length of a marathon each day to get to and from work.

ROY Sutcliffe is a running machine.

He runs more than six miles every day and has 38 marathons and a string of race records under his belt.

At 77 he is the fastest man his age in the state of South Australia and when he was younger he thought nothing of running almost the length of a marathon each day to get to and from work.

Back in the 1950s Roy was a promising young runner who six days a week ran 12 miles from his home in the Rectory at Capel St Mary to his job at Brooks' horticultural plant at Mistley.

Then, after a hard day's work, he'd take a shorter route and run nine miles home.

Back then he was an aspiring Olympian and his gruelling training regime - which saw him running 5,000 miles a year - led to him appearing in The Evening Star on January 25, 1955.

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At the time they described him as the most improved runner in the country and he could be seen each day in his shorts, singlet and Dunlop plimsolls running on the Capel road, his path often lit only by the headlights of passing cars.

He never made the Olympics - he was given a trial for the '56 Melbourne Games but missed out on a place in the British team - but five decades on and he's still going out in his shorts and singlet, pounding the pavement and clocking up the miles.

"I'm addicted to it, if I don't run I feel depressed. It's a time to organise your thoughts," the father-of-four and grandfather-of-six said.

Roy swapped the roads of Suffolk for the bitumen of the South Australian capital Adelaide when he emigrated with his legal secretary wife Nora and their four children, Andrew, Christopher, Paul and Keren in 1969.

But each year for the past ten the former social work student at Ipswich College has returned to the town to visit old friends and reminisce about Suffolk life.

Maidstone-born Roy, who was a social worker until he retired, could be seen jogging the streets of Ipswich again earlier this month in between taking guided walks of the town and a trip on the Orwell Lady and he is due to return later this month for a couple of days before returning home.

"It was a big decision when we decided to go to Australia. I've always missed the English countryside," he said.

"I used to come and see friends but they've all died now.

"Ipswich has changed terrifically, there's so many people here now."

Even in Australia, in spite of the blistering southern hemisphere sun, Roy kept up his amazing fitness regime - running 13 miles across Adelaide to get to work each day and 13 miles home again.

All of his 38 marathons were completed in under three hours, including his last when he was 56.

Some of his South Australian records have stood for 27 years.

When he reached 60 he decided competing in races was "ridiculous" at his age so he limited his running to training but a few years ago his competitive spirit returned with a vengeance.

"I had a 15-year break from 60 to 75 but I still did the running every day," he said.

"When I was 75 my son said 'why don't you have a go again' so I did and I broke all the South Australian records.

"I've broken most of the records in the 75 age group."

Now he's looking ahead to his 80th birthday when he plans to break more records.

"What's so worrying is my son Andrew is able to retire next year - he's 53!

"I want desperately to get an Australian record in my age group, even if I have to continue until I'm 90.

"And I would love to come back here when I am 80 and do that run from Capel to Mistley."

Do you know someone who refuses to let age act as a barrier? Call The Evening Star newsdesk on 01473 324799 or e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk.

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