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Runner makes it 29 years in a row

PUBLISHED: 09:45 11 March 2009 | UPDATED: 08:01 01 August 2010

A BECCLES barber is counting down to the days to his attempt at completing the London Marathon - for the 29th year in a row.

Leonard Cousens, 66, is one of just 22 people in the country who have finished the event every year since the first race in 1981.

A BECCLES barber is counting down to the days to his attempt at completing the London Marathon - for the 29th year in a row.

Leonard Cousens, 66, is one of just 22 people in the country who have finished the event every year since the first race in 1981. Now he has set his sights on a new ambition.

“I want to try to do 30, so hopefully this year will be all right,” he said. “I do a lot of off-road training. I live near the beach and tend to run on sand, but I have to do some road running as well so the legs get used to taking a bit of a pounding.”

Mr Cousens, who trains on his own for up to an hour-and-a-half every other day, said: “I prefer to run on my own. You've got to do what suits you. I used to run 80 miles a week. Now I don't like to do that much or I'd crack up.”

The former Lowestoft Road Runners member, who now runs for enjoyment, is hoping to complete next month's 26.2 miles in under five hours. His wife Maureen, who has also completed the London Marathon, will be cheering him on from the sidelines.

Mr Cousens, of Hubbard's Loke, Lowestoft, has once again chosen to run in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital, and says his regular customers at Len's Loft in Beccles have supported him once again.

“My customers sponsor me - they're very good,” he said. “It's a good charity and the nurses are absolutely brilliant. They really appreciate any amount of money you can raise - it doesn't matter how much. As long as I finish that's the main thing.”

After the 15th race, organisers awarded automatic entry to the handful of people who had completed the London Marathon every year since it began.

Anyone wanting to sponsor Mr Cousens can drop into the shop above Gary's Discount on The Walk or call 01502 712863.

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