The 76-year-old who has run every London Marathon

Jeff Aston running the London Marathon
Jeff Aston is one of only six people who have run every London Marathon since 1981 [Instagram/@_edmorris]

There are only six people who can say they have run every London Marathon and Jeff Aston is one of them.

In 1980 he spotted an advert for the event due to take place the following year and decided to go for it.

Now, four decades later, Jeff, 76, from Cardiff, is celebrating completing is 44th and has no plans on stopping.

When he was younger, Jeff enjoyed playing squash and football until the River Taff flooded the courts where he played and he started running around the playing fields.

While leafing through a magazine in 1980, he came across an advert for the first London Marathon, held the following year, and decided to go for it.

"I always wanted to run a marathon when I was a teenager," he said.

"When the first London Marathon came on to the scene, back then it was the biggest marathon in the UK."

Just six months before the event, Jeff started Les Croupiers running club in Cardiff.

Looking back on his first race, when only 7,000 people took part compared with 53,000 now, he remembers the atmosphere: "I remember it was a drizzly and windy day, with the noise of the crowds.

"By then I had run a few marathons and races so I knew what was coming. But it was the first time I had been to such a mass event at that time."

By 1983, Jeff had recorded his best time after completing the course in 2:29:31.

During the pandemic in 2020 the event was open for a select few to take part in the race where they lived.

That year, Jeff raised money for the City Hospice in memory of his late wife Val, who died in 2016 after being diagnosed with cancer.

Jeff Aston during the London Marathon in 1981
Jeff signed up for the first London Marathon after seeing an advert in the national running magazine [Jeff Aston]

An "ever-present" runner is someone who has run every London Marathon.

In 1995, organisers recognised these runners by awarding them a special commemorative medal and guaranteed acceptance for future events.

Now, there is only Jeff and five other ever presents left.

In last Sunday's race, Jeff clocked a time of 8:06:27, finishing 61st in his age category.

So why does Jeff take on the challenge every year?

"It's the challenge of the marathon distance that keeps me going. Going back every year and trying to meet your personal best.

"I'm a lot slower than what I was at my peak but I think 'what can I do to be better this year than I was last year?'

"While I still can do it, I will do it."

London Marathon runners
More than 53,000 people took part in the 26.2-mile race (42.2km) through London [PA Media]

Helping him along the way over the past few years has been Jeff's personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach, Ed Morris.

Jeff said he would not be an "ever-present" if it was not for his help.

Ed told Radio Wales Drive he believed Jeff and the ever-presents should received the recognition they deserve.

"I think he's absolutely brilliant. When I met him he could barely stand up right. We worked on getting him upright first and his times improved," he said.

"These days now it's about keeping him fit, safe and around [the circuit] in one piece.

"Jeff is really hard working and his records speak for that."