Copyright 2021 - Dundee Roadrunners

Jenny Wood Allen

One of our lady members became world famous and featured in the Guinness Book of Records. The indomitable Jenny Wood Allan became a world-wide celebrity. After taking up running at the age of 71, in 1983 she broke the world record for the over-70 year-old women, completing the Aberdeen marathon in 4 hours 21 minutes. She also won the trophy for the first lady over 80 in a marathon in New York. She has also run a marathon in Australia. She ran in 16 London marathons, over 30 marathons altogether, and was recognised everywhere with her 'Jenny' hat. 



Her time of 7hours 14mins 46secs in the 1999 London Marathon, earned her the current Guinness World Record for Oldest Female Marathon Finisher.  In  2001, she ran for the last time in the London Marathon before walking it once more in 2002 at the age of 90.  


As the BBC website reported at the time, in anticipating her athletic swansong, she said: "I'll miss the actual marathon day, but I won't miss having to put in the miles in training. 


"The best part was seeing the finish line and the amazing lift you got from the crowd along the course, particularly in London." 


She said one of the most special moments in her career came in 1996 when the fellow Dundonian Liz McColgan won the women's race in London. 


Mrs Allen added: "I think she was first and I was last, but it was a special moment as we were both from Dundee and I admired her for her dedication."


The Runners bestowed honorary membership on Jenny. In 2001 she was awarded the Help The Aged NOJO (Not Old Just Older) Award for outstanding sporting achievement, presented by Robin Cousins, the 1980 Olympic figure-skating champion. Angela Ripon read out her list of achievements. She was also awarded the MBE by the Queen at a ceremony in Holyrood House in 2004.  She finally gave up running when she was 92.  In the intervening years aged from 71 - 92 she managed to amass more than £50,000 for various charities. 


She was so well known in Dundee and district that she was invited to many schools to talk about running and to show pupils her hundreds of different medals, especially her London and New York medals. She puts down her longevity to keeping fit and still lives on her own in a three bedroom house with upstairs.


(provided by Evelyn Fairweather, with additional material from websites)

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