Cumbrian couple mark golden wedding with marathon

Running a marathon may not be everyone's idea of how to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary.

But for Chris Robson, 73, and his wife Charm, 72, from St Bees, in Cumbria, it was the perfect way to mark 50 years of marriage.

The pair, who are both retired teachers, already have several marathons under their belts and regularly compete in trail races in the Lake District.

So on 22 April, they will join thousands of other runners for the London Marathon and will use it to raise money for Alzheimer's Research UK.

Mr Robson has already run two London Marathons but it will be his wife's first. However, she has completed other marathons with fewer runners, not being a fan of crowds.

'I got hooked'

"We thought around about September, 'well OK, we have never run the London Marathon together so we might as well have a go'," said Mr Robson.

"It seemed a good idea and also raise some money for Alzheimer's Research UK."

Mrs Robson took up running when she was about 40 as something to do with one of her children, who was athletic.

"I though that running together would be something we could do together without quarrelling. It didn't work, but I got hooked," she said.

Mrs Robson's father was Kem Bagnall-Oakeley, who was an international athlete. His teaching commitments prevented him from training for the 1928 Olympics.

Image caption The couple celebrated their golden wedding in December

She had a minor stroke seven years ago but said she had been determined to carry on and said she was lucky to make a good recovery.

Mr Robson said both he and his wife had always been pretty active by taking part in sport and walking in the Lakeland fells.

But he said he believed a part of being fit came from your family and their fitness.

He said: "It's an element of genetic and an element of willpower.

"If you are reasonably fit it's easier to take it a little further."

He said they combined that with other elements of healthy living, such as their diet.

He said: "I think there's a greater awareness that in some sense your health is in your hands.

"You can get something that comes out of nowhere but there's a point where you are storing up yourself problems in the future."

Mr Robson said they had chosen to raise money for Alzheimer's Research UK after being affected by it as a family.

'Strikes suddenly'

He said they wanted to help raise awareness of the disease and the funding needed to tackle it.

"It strikes suddenly sometimes, it's insidious, it's awful, it's life changing," he said.

"The research has been, I think, underfunded.

"My mother spent the last 15 years of her life really in a sort of grey fog as a shadow of herself. And we felt that this is something that needs support."

The couple, who have five children and nine grandchildren, have been clocking up between 30 and 40 miles a week as they prepare for the marathon.

Mrs Robson said she was hoping to complete it in about five hours, with her husband expecting to cross the finish line about an hour later.

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