“I refuse to accept that I am heading for old age”

More and more retired women are taking on endurance challenges. This year has seen an 89-year-old grandmother taking part in the Dublin mini-marathon, and 91-year-old Haarriette Thompson of North Carolina broke the record for the fastest marathon completed by a 90-year-old at the San Diego Marathon in June.

Land Rover has even made 70-year-old surfer, Gwyn Haslock one of their ambassadors. In their television advert she defiantly tells the audience, “Don’t tell me I’m too old!” before we see her take on a wave far more elegantly than I ever have.

To find out what it takes to reach retirement age and still have the energy, physical strength and determination to take on difficult physical challenges, we speak to  Helen Lutley, 65, who lives in West Wales. She has taken part in the Snowdon Marathon, trekked to the Everest base camp, and hiked 30 miles over the Brecon Beacons. This year she plans on taking on Tough Mudder.

What challenges have you done?
I’ve taken part in the TrekFest Brecon Beacons 30 mile Trek Challenge, Snowdon Marathon, Lukla to Kala Pattar (Everest Base Camp), a 120 mile trek in Nepal, abseiled down Diplomat Hotel in Bahrain, Parachute Jumped, and done half marathons in Bahrain, Llanelli, Carmarthen and Dale.

Why do you do these challenges?
Because I can, and if I can raise money – all the better

What motivates you to keep on going?
I refuse to accept that I am heading for old age,
What has been your favorite challenge to date?

Why take on Tough Mudder?
I always wanted to do an SAS assault course.

What is on your playlist?
Anything by Queen, BeeGees, and anything upbeat, but I only take music on a long training run. As for shorter runs, I like to listen to the world around me

What are your top tips for endurance challenges?
Train, train, and train. Eat right and hydrate little and often, take lots of pairs of socks and a big tin of talc

What words of advice would you give to someone who wanted to take on a challenge?
Believe in yourself, go do it, be positive – it doesnt matter if you are last, you will still have done far more than the majority of people, and enjoy it

Where is your favorite place to run?
The area where I live. The views are stunning, the terrain is different, flat and very very hilly

What is your post run/training indulgence? 
Water, water, and more water
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