In 1972 Greg Wilson won the very first race held by the Townsville Marathon Club, now 45 years later he is returning to Townsville to run in the Win Television Marathon.

Greg Wilson was only 20 years old when he ran in the very first race the Townsville Marathon Club (now Townsville Road Runners) held in July of 1972. Mr. Wilson won that historic Townsville race and a few years later, after returning from serving in Vietnam, won the 1976 marathon as well.

Now at 65 years young, Mr. Wilson is returning to Townsville to take up the challenge once more.

Mr. Wilson, who currently lives in Kyneton Victoria, says he is excited to return to the tropical North Queensland town in August.

“Townsville is like a second home – if the summer there was a bit more forgiving I’d live there full time,” he laughs.

Mr. Wilson returned to running last year after a 12-year retirement to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his Marathon win.

“I stopped because of injuries but last year of the anniversary I came back to see if I could do it,” he said.

At an age where most people would be thinking about retirement, Mr. Wilson is thinking about long distance endurance and beating personal bests. Just recently Mr. Wilson competed in the Australian Masters Championships in Darwin where he accomplished what would beat most 20-year-olds – 4 races in 4 days.

So what is Mr. Wilson’s secret to running well into your sixties? He says it’s a combination of skill and passion.

“I think I had the skills for it foremostly. But running also keeps you young and fit and stops you from degenerating,” he says. “And I use it to keep up with old friends and as a social activity.”

Mr. Wilson is hoping he’ll be able to beat his time from last year but is currently struggling with injuries he received from Darwin and admits he may have to take things easy and maybe drop back to the 10k Classic.

“I thought I was going to beat my time until a recent injury,” he said. “If I can shake off the injury I’m hoping I’ll be able to do it. But you know, I think my body has started to say “What are you doing?!”

McDonald’s Townsville Running Festival Committee President Tony Gordon says stories like Mr. Wilson’s are so inspiring to runners like himself.

“To be able to come back 45 years later when he’s in his sixties is just incredible,” he says. “Most people would be hard pressed to do a marathon in their 20s or 30s but he’s just a testament to living a healthy, fit lifestyle.”

“Or maybe he’s a testament to the craziness of runners!” he laughs.

The 2017 McDonald’s Townsville Running Festival will be held on Sunday, 6 August. For more information, and to register, go to www.townsvillerunningfestival.com