A YORK man who had a quadruple heart bypass in his 50s is about to take part in his first 10k race - at the age of 91!

Brian Hall, who is known by friends as 'the magic man', is training to take on his first Race for Life at Knavesmire on Sunday, June 30.

Speaking to The Press, he said: “I got to a point where I lost my wife and I needed to do something. I started attending keep fit classes and really enjoyed the company, so I kept going. I find the exercises helpful."

Brian said his trainer Denise Cooper mentioned Race for Life to him, adding: "I thought well, I wouldn’t mind having a go.”


As part of his training regime, Brian started with three and four mile walks before eventually working his way up to doing seven miles multiple times a week.

The great-grandfather intends to both walk and run during the Race for Life - hoping to finish in a time of around two and a half hours or "as fast as my body will allow".

Denise, who is helping Brian train for the race, runs a keep fit group through the City of York Council Health Champions scheme - ensuring older people can keep fit and reduce the levels of social isolation they feel.

Praising Brian, she said: “He wanted to come to the group to stop feeling lonely, but he’s actually done that for us. He’s amazing and such a comedian – he’s just part of the family now. His determination is amazing, he’d skydive if he could.”

Brian Hall and his race partner Janey ahead of the Race for LifeBrian Hall and his race partner Janey ahead of the Race for Life (Image: Supplied)

Brian, alongside his race partner Janey - who also attends the keep fit classes - is doing the race to raise money for Cancer Research - a charity close to his heart having lost a brother to cancer.

Group members said Brian is “91 but not 91” and nicknamed him “the magic man” – for both Brian’s love of magic tricks and also his magic perseverance and drive.

Originally from Leeds and one of seven siblings, Brian moved to Poppleton with his sister at the age of seven as a war-time evacuee. After developing a love of the countryside and finding his feet in York, he made the decision to stay after the war – first training as a dental technician then joining the Army as part of the Dental Core.

Brian in his training clothes ahead of the Race for LifeBrian in his training clothes ahead of the Race for Life (Image: Alice Kavanagh)

After leaving the Army, he joined the RAC where he worked as one of the company's top salesmen for 35 years - travelling an average of 35,000 miles per year. A keen cyclist in his youth, Brian travelled from York to London and back at the age of 14 and competed in time trials in his spare time.

After a heart attack at 58, Brian had quadruple bypass surgery that impacted on his ability to travel for work and forced him to take early retirement. Since then, he’s kept himself busy: making wooden planters, teaching himself plumbing, and altering all of his own windows.

As Brian says: “Nothing bothers me. If I start something, I want to achieve it.”

So far, Brian has raised £230 in offline donations but has a fundraising page online. His keep fit group is held at 10am every Monday at New Earswick Bowls Club.