Hammers lend oldest Marathon runner a hand

West Ham United's first team squad invited this year's oldest London Marathon runner Paul Freedman to take part in a training session

West Ham United’s first team squad helped this year's oldest London Marathon runner tune up for the 26.2 mile challenge by inviting him to the Club’s training ground on Friday.

90-year-old Hammers fan Paul Freedman only took up running at the age of 61, but has since completed over 30 marathons and is looking forward to adding to the tally on 26 April.

West Ham boss Sam Allardyce allowed the veteran runner to complete a warm-up lap with the team before they began their training session and Paul, who is raising money for Romford’s St Francis Hospice, was thrilled to take part.

He said: “I've done 23 London Marathons, ten Beachy Heads and ten Walk the Walks, which is walking through the night for breast cancer.

"I just enjoy doing it. I don't worry too much about time - as long as I finish that's the main thing and I'm looking forward to next Sunday.

“I enjoyed warming up with the team and I was hoping they'd let me join the Club, but I don't think they will - they probably think I'm too old!

"I've been going to West Ham about 55 years and it was an honour to meet Sam and the players."

Allardyce was impressed with Freedman’s fitness ahead of the big day.

He said: "It's beyond most people's comprehension to run a marathon when you're 60 like me, never mind when you're 90 like Paul.

“He obviously enjoys it so much and has raised so much money that it's a fantastic thing. With him being a West Ham fan it's a pleasure to have him here amongst the lads.

"It's nice to give him a spur for his big day next Sunday."

Hammers skipper Kevin Nolan was only too pleased to welcome Freedman into the warm-up.

"I'm hope I'm in that good shape if I make it to 90!" the captain said.

"It's great that he's going to be the oldest runner in the London Marathon, so it's an honour for us to do our warm-up jog with him.

"We've got a few good runners in our team, but if I had to back one of us to do the marathon it would be one of the midfielders."