ANTHONY BOXALL keeps on running. And running. And running.
He’s been doing it for more than 60 years and isn’t planning on stopping any time soon.
The Fittleworth Flyers member added another medal to his impressive collection when he was first over-70 across the line at the Chichester Priory 10k earlier this year, with a time of 50min 05sec.
He has more such successes in his sights and these days likes to take on his 25-year-old grandson Luke Crossley, who keeps him on his toes during many of his runs.
Boxall ran for GB vets in the 1980s and says that was probably his proudest moment in a running career that has contained many highs.
He trains four days a week and likes to do a minimum of nine miles a time
I run because I love it. It’s a way of life.Anthony Boxall
“I run because I love it,” he says simply. “It’s a way of life.”
Boxall, who lives at Petworth, told how his love of running began early. “I lived in the countryside and the Leconfield hunt would often meet close by. I would follow the hunt for hours.
“I went to a school four-and-a-half miles away and I frequently ran home from school in the summer.”
Aged 13 he began running cross-country for his school. “After I left school I had the opportunity to join two running clubs but it was difficult for me to get to Portsmouth or Brighton for training,” he said.
“At 17 I joined the Army and I ran for the Royal Engineers.
“In one race I was leading and thought I was being cheered on by my team – but they were trying to warn me I was about to be hit by a javelin that had been thrown towards the track. It struck me in my left arm at my elbow joint and knocked me to the ground.”
After the Army there was a break from running but in the late 1970s Boxall began running local races.
“I joined Horsham Joggers in 1981 but changed to Horsham Blue Stars because they had cross-country teams and that’s the discipline I wanted.
“In 1983, my first year with them, I trained with some really good runners. I found it tough and knew I wasn’t good enough to be competitive for cross-country teams.
“I did track and road work to improve and entered a few road races to improve.
“My goal for 1984 was to run ten miles in under an hour and I achieved this on February 26 in a Woking ten-mile race – 58min 30sec.
“I ran in my first cross-country for the Horsham Blue Stars in the Watford Vets’ cross-country championship 10k race and finished in 35.56.
“I recorded the fifth fastest vets’ time in the Sussex rating and this enabled me to run in the European vets’ championship in the marathon run at Barns Green. My race time was 3.11.49 – my best time ever.
“I enjoyed the next few years running for Horsham Blue Stars in cross-country events and road races. In 1997 I joined the Fittleworth Flyers, who compete in the West Sussex Fun Run League.
“They won the league in 1997, 1998 and 1999 and I am still running for them now.”
Anthony’s daughter Jane Crossley is proud of her dad’s long-running career and said his over-70s win at Chichester was his third such success in the race.
When we asked her to organise for him to get his running kit on for a picture and interview, she laughed. “We can hardly ever get him out of it,” she said.