John White after running up Widdick Chine in 38 seconds. Picture by Jennifer Burton.
AN 83-YEAR-OLD retired teacher, who aims to complete the full Walk the Wight route next month, is adamant no one is too old to take on such a challenge.
Scientist John White, of Madeira Road, Totland — who says he is determined not to hang up his hiking boots yet — will be among the thousands of walkers aiming to complete the east to west Island walk on Sunday, May 11.
"The Earl Mountbatten Hospice is a very worthwhile charity and I’m glad to help it," said the retired teacher, who taught chemistry at a further education college in London.
John, who has supported the Isle of Wight's biggest fundraising event for the past 13 years, is proud to be the oldest registered competitor — and doing the full route.
"Half the walk? Where’s the challenge in that? Of course I’m walking the full 26.5 miles," the former Totland parish councillor said.
"But, yes, my friends do think I’m mad. One of them said it would kill him and he’s 20 years younger than me. Unlike some of the other walkers, I won’t be going in fancy dress."
The grandfather-of-six, who celebrated his 80th birthday by cycling around the Island in aid of the hospice, has trained for this year’s event by doing 20-mile treks, which he refers to as 'leg stretchers’, as well as leading walks for the IW Ramblers.
But perhaps, most astonishing of all, he has added to his preparation by sprinting up and down a local chine to ensure he is 'match fit’.
"You meet lots of lovely people. You’re never lonely and people are so helpful. Also, what I like about the walk is that it’s really well organised and so many people give up their time to help marshal and so on," said John.
This year, John aims to raise at least £100 for the hospice. Anyone wishing to sponsor him can contact him on 755186.