‘There’s a strong bond between us’: the runners who’ve never missed a London Marathon

The Ever Presents have competed in every race since 1981 – and neither bad weather or Covid will stop them this time

It is more than two decades since Ken Jones nearly lost his record of finishing every London Marathon, but the 87-year-old still has flashbacks. “In 1998, I slipped on a manhole cover two miles from the finish,” he says. “I cut my eye badly and I was unconscious. They were trying to get me in an ambulance and I fought my way free to carry on, blood running down my face. A few other runners helped me get to that line – there’s a lovely spirit about the marathon.”

Jones is one of 10 ever-presents remaining from the 7,055 runners who began the first London Marathon on a dank and drizzly March day in 1981 – and have never stopped taking part. “I remember coming over Tower Bridge that day and seeing the massive crowd and thinking: ‘I’ve never seen a scene like this before and I’ll probably never see it again,’” says 75-year-old Bill O’Connor from Finchley, north London. “Well, I’ve seen it 39 times now.”

Related: Kenenisa Bekele withdraws from London Marathon with calf injury

Related: London Marathon goes virtual but its world-beating ability to unite never more vital | Sean Ingle

Related: World record times possible at London Marathon if rain stays away

Continue reading…