On the run: Richard Jordan reaches 100,000-mile landmark

Richard Jordan, competing in one of his very few races of the last decade, at the Ipswich JAFFA five

Richard Jordan, competing in one of his very few races of the last decade, at the Ipswich JAFFA five mile race. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Richard Jordan, a stalwart of the Suffolk roads for so many years, has completed the feat of running 100,000 miles during his long career as a long distance runner.

Jordan was a regular winner on East Anglian circuit, especially on becoming an over-40 veteran at the end of the 1990s.

A former member of Ipswich Harriers, Stowmarket Striders and Ipswich JAFFA, running machine Jordan, who turns 61 later this summer, has achieved a number of accolades, including victories at the prestigious Bruges Veterans’ 20K title in Belgium on three occasions.

Based at Old Newton, Jordan has kept a record of all his miles completed in training, and competition, in various log books, as is the practise of so many seasoned runners.

And like so many club runners of now-veteran years, he returned to the sport late after an early flutter with athletics.

“I used to run a bit, as a teenager, around the fields of the farm that I lived at, but like most boys my age from a little village, we all used to play football in the local meadow,” recalled Jordan.

“I ended up playing football for the likes of Coddenham, Somersham and Claydon.

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“We had a good team at Coddenham for a while, with Roger Osborne’s (scorer of Ipswich Town’s winning goal at the 1978 FA Cup Final) younger brother Peter, and older brother John, in the team.

“John played as a centre forward, and I played in midfield alongside Peter, back in the mid-1970s.

“After dropping out of football, I tried my hand at road running by joining Ipswich Harriers during the late 1970s and early 1980s,” added Jordan.

However, Jordan’s initial foray into running was not that successful.

He continued: “It was not so good, because I kept getting injured. I was running around the track in my spikes, and ripping my Achilles to pieces. The flat spikes gave me no protection.

“I guess you could so that I learnt the hard way.

“After that I was basically working and just jogging, before finally joining Stowmarket Striders and later Ipswich JAFFA, while upping the mileage.

“I linked up with coach Ian Ladbrooke, and even went out to Kenya for a few weeks for some altitude training in 1997. That was quite an experience.

“My late 30s and early 40s were definitely the best period of my career.”

Jordan has a marathon personal best of 2hrs 29mins 56secs, recorded at the London Marathon in 1999, when he was aged 41.

He also clocked a swift 1hr 51mins as a veteran at the Bury 20-mile road race, and ran a blistering 1hr 10mins 20secs at the Great North Run over the half-marathon distance between Newcastle and South Shields, on a day when runners had to cope with a head-wind for most of the way – otherwise he would surely have eclipsed 70 minutes.

Most of his PBs were set in his early 40s, including 53 minutes for 10 miles at the Great South Run, in Portsmouth, and 25:51 at the Great Bentley five-miler.

Earlier, he had posted a swift 15mins 39secs for 5K at a Southern Men’s League meeting on the track, when with Ipswich Harriers.

“My favourite races were the old Bury 20, and also the Felixstowe Half-Marathon and Diss 15,” revealed Jordan.

“I also won the Bruges 25K, a veterans-only race on three occasions, so I guess that’s my favourite event of all-time.

“It’s defunct now, but I set a record for winning it three times out of four years, finishing second the other year.

“Work then took over until I planned a comeback race to coincide with my 50th year, at the Amsterdam Marathon.

“I was targeting a 2:30 time for that race, because I had run a 1:15 half-marathon on a hot day at the Burnham Beeches Half-Marathon, near Heathrow.

“But that’s when my knee problems started. I ended up having operations on both knees, and have only raced six or seven times over the last 10 years. I also had back problems.

“I suppose you could say that I have under-achieved a little, as a runner. “I could have gone three or four minutes quicker over the marathon, and a couple of minutes quicker over 10 miles.

“But work (as a labourer for 45 years) and injuries did not help. I certainly didn’t have natural talent, it was all down to hard work and graft. I didn’t have any natural speed,” added Jordan.

His 100,000th mile was a little under-stated.

“I did that by running to the local garage in my home village of Baylham,” concluded Jordan.

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