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Spring chicken: Hackney nonagenarian steps up to daily morning run

Tony Monture, 92, runs every day. Picture: Jessica Russell

Tony Monture, 92, runs every day. Picture: Jessica Russell

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A 92-year-old Hackney man is proving age is just a number by keeping active during lockdown with an early morning run around Well Street Common every day.

Tony Monture, 92, runs every day. Picture: Jessica RussellTony Monture, 92, runs every day. Picture: Jessica Russell

Before the pandemic, Tony Monture liked to keep fit with a regular swim at his local leisure centre.

Now, he starts every morning at around 8am with a half-hour run around the common, often bumping into parents from the school where he used to teach maths.

READ MORE: Jogger turns exercise into art with animal-shaped running routesTony said: “It’s a good start to the day, even if I didn’t do much in the rest of the day. It has been a great morale boost.”

While Tony is in great physical shape, his eyesight has declined in recent years and he is no longer able to paint the watercolours he once loved.

Tony Monture, 92, runs every day. Picture: Jessica RussellTony Monture, 92, runs every day. Picture: Jessica Russell

During lockdown, charity BlindAid has been facilitating regular phone calls with members like Tony, who has been using the conversations to cultivate a new passion.

He said: “It’s difficult to know what to talk about when you don’t know the person.

“(So) we’ve been exchanging learning and exchanging poetry.”

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Tony’s favourites include The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost and Adlestrop by Edward Thomas, which he said was “one of the most evocative poems I’ve ever read”.

He added: “The thing is, I didn’t know a lot about poetry, and neither did the people that I talked to very much, but we’ve all sort of grown to hunt for new ones and exchange them, which wouldn’t have happened without lockdown.”

Tony said while he has found lockdown “very constraining”, he has been able to meet friends on the common at a social distance.

However, he cannot wait to be able to go back to his favourite local cafes, the Well Street Kitchen and Elbows on Lauriston Road.

Tony currently lives in Hackney with his flatmate, 24-year-old Jess, who helps him with shopping and cooking.

They have lived together for about 18 months after the pair were put in touch by a mutual friend.

He said: “She’s a wonderful girl – very sensible for her age.”

To others who have been struggling to cope with lockdown, Tony has simple advice: “Stay active and believe that it won’t last forever.”

Find out more about BlindAid’s work at https://www.blindaid.org.uk/

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