'Step in the right direction': Grandfather finishes marathon after Covid recovery

Harmander Singh after completing the London Marathon at the weekend.

Harmander Singh after completing this year's London Marathon - Credit: Harmander Singh

An Ilford grandfather who began the year battling Covid-19 has completed his 37th consecutive London Marathon. 

Harmander Singh, 62, of Wellesley Road, completed the run in seven hours and 48 seconds. 

The retired local authority worker contracted coronavirus in January and said he had felt “doddery” even after recovering and had initially struggled to get down the stairs. 

It took him four months to get back to running and he told the Ilford Recorder that completing the London Marathon – his favourite race – on Sunday (October 3) was a “step in the right direction”. 

Harmander has already put himself in the ballot for next year’s race and is due to run another 26 miles in just three weeks time at the Southend Pier Marathon. 


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He has run a total of 163 marathons and said he hopes to complete 200 before he gets his pension. 

His personal best is three hours and 11 minutes at a race in Manchester, but this year he decided he wanted to run with the back of the pack. 

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“I wanted to really enjoy the whole experience,” he said, explaining how running at a slower pace had given him the opportunity to talk to different types of runners and help encourage them “not to give up”. 

“It was great to see so many other people who you would not normally meet,” he said. 

He ran the race with a flag that read ‘I beat Covid’, which he said received a lot of cheers. 

“I was milking it, obviously,” he added. 

Harmander has previously run the marathon as a pacer – experienced runners who stick to a certain speed throughout the race to help other know how fast they are going – and said he hoped to do so again. 

He was fundraising for Sporting Equals, a charity that campaigns for equality in all sports. 

So far, he said that he had received pledges worth a total of £1,500. 

Sikhs In The City, the running club of which Harmander is club president, is organising a 10k in Redbridge on November 7 towards his target. 

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