A MASTER runner from Tillington donned the England vest for the first time at the age of 76.

Brian Symonds, of Wye Valley Runners, couldn't have imagined clinching bronze while representing his country when he took up running in his 60s.

However, that's what happened when he lined up against 150 runners representing 135 clubs from across the country in the England Masters Half Marathon at Maidenhead recently.

Despite the warm conditions, the fast and flat course combined with the excitement and pride in wearing the England vest for the first time was conducive to good running for Symonds.

Against stiff competition he finish in a formidable one hour and 52 minutes grabbing the bronze medal for the over 75 age category.

Symonds qualified by right after smashing the qualifying time earlier this year.

As a result there was some high-quality racing amongst the some of the country’s best masters runners, as well a small contingent of invited guest runners from the Celtic Nations.

“It was an amazing and humbling experience to run in an England vest," said Symonds.

"I was so proud to represent my home town of Hereford and my running club Wye Valley Runners.

"When I took up running in my 60s I never dreamt I’d be running at an event like this with some of the countries best athletes.

"Running has changed my life and I would encourage everyone regardless of age to join their club and get involved.”