At the age of 70, grandpa Ralph Bernascone has just finished his 100th marathon

Ralph Bernascone completed a century of 26-mile runs at the Steyning Stinger on March 1, to the applause of his family who were there to watch.

“There’s nothing special about me,” said Ralph. “If I can do it, anybody can do it, it is just a question of giving it time and you will be able to do it too.”

Ralph, from Henfield, ran his first marathon in 2001 at the age of 51, completing the New York event six weeks after 9/11.

He said: “I started running in 1998 because I was drinking too much, smoking too much and my wife Dorrit was fed up.

“There’s a local running club called Henfield Joggers, I joined them and gradually built up.

“You spend all that money getting to New York, that was the incentive, it was certainly not cheap.”

Since then, he has traveled the world running, from Norway to Dorking.

He said: “All of them have been memorable, I’ve enjoyed them all.

“Reykjavic in Iceland was different – when you land it’s like Mars with all the craters.

“We did one in Marrakech. That was interesting as halfway around we had to stop as a caravan of camels were crossing.

“But I do think London Marathon is the best in the world.”

The septuagenarian, who still runs with the Henfield Joggers after 22 years, is not even the oldest in the group.

He is urging others to pick up a passion for jogging.

He said: “Try it, do it. One thing I can truthfully say is that I’ve never met a nasty runner – everyone is so nice and pleasant. It doesn’t matter how much money you have when you’re running up a steep hill, everyone is the same.

“All you need is some good running shoes for about £70 or £80. What’s that when a golf club costs £500?”

Ralph was cheered over the line of his 100th marathon by his daughter Karina Ray, 34, who lives in Shoreham.

She said: “I normally go to see him if it’s local and my husband has done the Brighton one with him before.

“On the day of the 100th, we were up there on the Downs with my husband and his two granddaughters.

“Steyning Stinger was a really hard one, running up the hills and it’s muddy. I’m pretty lazy compared to him.”

Henfield Joggers celebrated its 30th anniversary this year.

The first run as a club was on April 1, 1990, with six people taking part.

There are now nearly 130 runners “of all abilities”.

posted Thursday March 19th
by Jody Doherty-Cove