‘Mr Superman’s’ 8 at 80 challenge

NADV 12110136AM1 John Gentle. Picture : Adrian Murray.(12110136AM1)
NADV 12110136AM1 John Gentle. Picture : Adrian Murray.(12110136AM1)
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A veteran runner nicknamed ‘Mr Superman’ by his granddaughter is coming out of retirement - at the age of 80 - to complete eight events and raise £800.

John Gentle, who took up marathon running at the age of 64, has raised thousands of pounds over the years for the Mothers’ Union.

Two years ago he climbed eight peaks, totalling 15,000ft, and walking more than 100 miles to raise £785.

At the end of this mammoth challenge he decided to retire from running but now he has pledged to attempt another eight events for his ‘80th year final fling’.

“I shall enjoy the challenge - and fresh air - and hope to complete the eight events,” he said.

Mr Gentle, of Leyland Road in Harrogate, has until November 18 to complete the events, aiming to raise £800. He has a list of plans, including the Nidderdale Walk in May.

The retired hydraulic engineer, who now volunteers at Oxfam in Harrogate, has three sons, one daughter, six granddaugters, three grandsons and a great-granddaughter.

As a result, he says, he likes supporting family charities and has chosen to raise money for the Mothers’ Union, a group his late wife was a member of.

Mr Gentle has been raising money for charity through his running for years, raising in the region of £7,000.

This latest challenge is to be launched next Tuesday, March 18, at church services in Harrogate and Knaresborough.

The first service, at St John’s Church in Knaresborough, will be held from 11.45am while a second is to be held at Christ Church in Harrogate from 2pm.

The services will be led by the Deanery, branch members and leaders, and the Mayors of Harrogate and Knaresborough Couns Carole Reid and Michael Newby, who will give a farewell blessing to wish him well.

All are invited to attend, to find out more about the challenge and sponsorship opportunities.