Northern Ireland news

Amazing Grace (93) credits love of life for parkrun passion

Grace Chambers pictured at the Ormeau parkrun with Dame Kelly Holmes.

BELFAST nonagenarian Grace Chambers has credited her love of life for continuing her passion for running.

The 93-year-old recently completed her 100th parkrun just five years after taking up the sport.

Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster’s John Toal, the Co Armagh native recalled how her parkrun career began at the tender age of 88.

“I loved climbing mountains and I loved hill walking, I still do. I had surgery on my leg and the surgeon said as I was on the table ‘now Mrs Chambers there will be no climbing and no running this summer’.

“I jumped up and said I’m here under false pretences, get me home!”

Instead of climbing mountains, her daughter Michelle suggested she “try a wee parkrun” during July 2016.

“I said what in the world is a wee parkrun.”

Now widely popular, parkruns are timed 5km events that take place every Saturday morning in parks across the globe.

“Last week when I did my 100th run, it was just five years and I’d spent nearly six months abroad every year,” said Grace.

“Someone asked ‘have you been running all your life?’ And I said yes, since I was 88!”

“The 93-year-old said the runs remain “a struggle”, adding: “But I’m getting better. I’ve controlling my breathing better.”

Undeterred by a broken femur she suffered in January, Grace credited her determination to a “love of life”.

“Everything is so exciting; I can’t wait to get back out again.”

Looking ahead to her next milestone birthday, she added: “I was thinking for my 95th birthday about jumping from a helicopter.”

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