Beloved Queen's Park school teacher to run 41st marathon

Bill O'Connor, 76, is running his 41st London Marathon

Bill O'Connor, 76, is running his 41st London Marathon - Credit: QPCS

A Queen's Park 'legend' is tying up his laces to run his 41st London Marathon in aid of the school where he works.

Bill O’Connor is one of only ten people to have taken part in all 40 London Marathons, and has run a total of 1,048 miles across these events.

This Sunday (Oct 3) the 76-year-old will pound the 26 mile route in aid of Queen's Park Community School (QPCS), where he has worked for 32 years.

He has raised £1,525 towards a target of £2,000 for QPCS and hopes the money will help to fund activities such as sport or music.

Bill has taught many subjects at the Aylestone Avenue school over the decades including Maths, English, and Humanities.

He now works mainly in the Admissions office and hopes to inspire his former students to be more fit.

“My message to the kids is to keep being active. I never even made the track team at school, and now marathons have been the best moments of my life," he said.

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“If you don’t get something while you’re at school, keep at it, and you can achieve it later on.”

Bill only started participating in marathons in his early 30s.

Despite his love of teaching, he admitted that he got into running to get away from books and academia.

It was a dare from some running mates that pushed him to sign up for his first London Marathon in 1981.

He went on to participate in them for the next 15 years, at which point he was given automatic entry into every London Marathon.

Last year, Bill, a member of Queen's Park Harriers, became one of only 45 people to win The Spirit of the London Marathon award.

He was an Olympic torch bearer in 2012 and the school awarded him with a Lifetime Achievement Award the same year.

Bill said that while the Marathon has become more difficult, the faces around QPCS school have remained ever familiar to him.

“I often get kids coming up to me and saying their dad used to go here, and I’ll tell them that I remember them from my class. I’ve loved teaching. You never forget the names and the people.”

Hilary Brigden, chair of the Parent, Teacher, Families Association said: "Bill is our very own QPCS legend."

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