Take it to the limit

A walk on the wild side: Ray Matthews is at home on the moors
A walk on the wild side: Ray Matthews is at home on the moors
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RAY Matthews wants to push himself to the limit.

But after running more than 100 marathons and endurance races, and writing a book about it all, 71-year-old Ray still doesn’t know where that is.

Ray, from Maltby, is looking to do a 100 miles around Rotherham event later in the year, again, and then next year would dearly love to take part in Racing The Planet which includes 250k runs through some of the world’s great deserts – the Arctic, Antarctic, Gobi and Sahara.

So what’s wrong with a pint at the White Swan and a walk round Roche Abbey at his age?

“I just have this thing inside me that I have to push myself,” said former structural engineer Ray, who grew up in Masbrough.

“I need to know how far I can push my body and I have a real passion for endurance running. I was a boxer as a kid and an ABA champion when I was 13-years-old.

“I just got sick of being beaten up and I did something about it and it gave me this drive.”

Ray also did something a lot of established writers would love to achieve – he had the manuscript for his first book accepted by three publishers.

“I wrote the book, which was harder than running any race I’ve ever been in,” says father of two and grandfather of three Ray, who built shopping centres before he retired age 65.

“They only changed one word in it. I was amazed. I used the words ‘bloody excruciating’ to describe a calf injury I once got. They took out the word bloody and that was the only change.

“Last night I got a call from an American publisher who wanted first refusal on my next book, which was nice.”

Ray describes himself as a fitness instructor and after-dinner and motivational speaker and he’ll be running the London to Brighton 100km 24-hour off-road challenge on June 9, but with a twist.

He’ll be leading a blind ex- serviceman/woman, to raise funds for the Blind Veteran’s Association.

A couple of months later he will be attempting to run 150 miles in 38 hours.

In between superhuman events Ray has found time to be at Waterstone’s in Meadowall on Saturday from noon to sign copies of his book ‘Me And My Shadow’.

So will there be another manuscript for the publishers to fight over?

Looks like it.

“It’s that thing from being 10 years old that drives me and keeps me running when I’m exhausted.”

So what happened when he was 10 to wind his life spring so tight?

“I’m not telling for now, that’s for my next book.”

This boy will go a long way.