Great North Run: County Durham war veteran becomes oldest person to complete half marathon

Bill Cooksey, 102, crossing the finish line of the Great North Run in South Shields. Credit: Great Run/X

A 102-year-old war veteran has become the oldest person to complete a half marathon.

Bill Cooksey, from Newton Aycliffe, in County Durham, completed the Great North Run on Sunday 10 September.

The Second World War veteran battled thunderstorms and temperatures of about 20 degrees to complete the 13.1 miles in five hours and 41 minutes.

He was walking the half marathon to raise money for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust.

Congratulating Mr Cooksey, a spokesperson said: "After battling through thunderstorms our 102-year-old local hero Bill Cooksey became a record breaker with a 5 hr 41 mins Great North Run. He was soaked but put the brolly up and continued walking! Absolutely amazing!"

Mr Cooksey is no stranger to completing charity challenges. To mark his 100th birthday, he completed 10 miles a day for 10 days. And when he was 101 he cycled 1,000 miles, doing 20 miles a day until he met his milestone.

He is now the oldest person to have completed the Great North Run.

He was accompanied along the route by walking companion Gavin Iceton.

Before the walk, he told ITV Tyne Tees: "I didn't expect to be off on my 102 birthday, but I thought why not do the Great North Run. I started it, and now I'm hoping everyone out there will dig deep. It's a worthy cause and worth the expense."

  • Bill Cooksey speaking to ITV Tyne Tees before the Great North Run

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