75 marathons in 75 days - aged 75! South Yorkshire man defies age to complete amazing feat

Ray Matthews crosses the finish line at one of his 75 marathons
Ray Matthews crosses the finish line at one of his 75 marathons
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A remarkable 75-year-old from South Yorkshire has completed an astonishing 75 marathons in as many days.

Ray Matthews, from Rotherham, defied his age to complete the charity challenge and set what is believed to be a new world record.

Ray Matthews presents the cheque at Newman's School

Ray Matthews presents the cheque at Newman's School

He raised £29,995 for Newman School, in Whiston, where the money will fund life-enhancing outdoor play facilities for children with disabilities.

Ray, who lives in Maltby and used to run an engineering firm called Structural Services, somehow made his mammoth undertaking sound like a doddle.

"I enjoyed every one of the marathons, and the support I've had has been incredible," said the grandfather-of-three

"I had no aches or pains after the runs. The only thing that's bothered me has been my hamstrings, which have run out of elasticity.

"They're painful when I'm running but as long as I don't over-stretch them they will come along fine."

Ray began his challenge on his 75th birthday, on July 1 last year, and crossed his final finishing line - nearly 2,000 miles later - on September 14.

He visited the school today (Friday, January 13) to present a cheque to delighted pupils and staff.

"It was the most emotional experience. Everyone there is part of Team Ray, and I can't put into words what a special day that was," he said.

While most people seek to take it easy in their retirement, the former businessman has used the extra time as an excuse to push his body to the limit.

In the past couple of years, he has completed a 100km race across the Sahara Desert and a demanding 150 mile run around Rotherham.

Julie Mott, headteacher of Newman School, said: "We can't thank Ray enough for all that he has done for us. This money will go a vast way to getting specialist equipment for the school.

"We certainly couldn't have afforded this without him and he has most certainly put a smile on all our children’s faces!

"And the fact he wants to keep on fund raising for us is just amazing. He deserves all the acclaim he is getting – he really is one in a million!"

Ray is not finished yet. Having set out to raise £75,000 for the school, he is determined to hit that target and promises the next challenge - whatever it may be - will push him even closer to the edge.

* It's not too late to sponsor Ray and make a difference for youngsters at Newman's School, by visiting https://www.goldengiving.com/fundraising/rwrr.

** You can hear Ray talk about his 75 marathons at a charity event at Maltby Westley Centre, in Blyth Road, this Friday from 8pm (doors open 7.30pm). Tickets cost £3 on the door.

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