RUBERY resident Donato Esposito completed his third half-marathon in Reading last Sunday when he beat the timing of the athlete Iwan Thomas, the star of the BBC show Natural Born Winners.
Donato completed the 13-mile course in one hour thirty-six minutes, which he ran alongside 16,000 other people.
He finished just 30 seconds behind the Strictly Come Dancing Star, who began the race two minutes earlier.
Donato said: “I didn’t know that Iwan was the celebrity starting the race and I didn’t even know he was running it.
“To top it all off, he also messaged me on Twitter to congratulate me for my effort. Top man.”
He added: “I felt exhausted at the end but my initial feeling was one of amazement because I didn’t realise I’d finish it so quick.
“When you’re running you completely forget the pain. It was amazing.”
Donato launched a project to inspire people over the age of 55 to stay fit and healthy last year. He said at the age of 54, it had already made a positive impact with countless people from around the world contacting him to say how inspired they felt by his quest to get others to continue keeping fit when they reached their 50s.
He said the half marathon was good training for the full 26.2mile marathon which he will run in Brighton on April 17 to raise funds for Cancer Research UK.
Donato has already raised £300 for the charity and is aiming to reach his £1,000 target.
Visit www.justgiving.com/gurubrightonmarathon to support Donato and help him raise funds for Cancer Research UK.