THE final finishing line has arrived at the age of 89, for a remarkable Hebden athlete, Gordon Booth.

Gordon had hitherto set the country alight in veterans’ competitions.

A native of Almondbury, Huddersfield, Gordon grew up near the former world one-mile record holder and Olympic Games 5,000 metres medalist, Derek Ibbotson.

But whereas the latter athlete had already become a world-wide legend in the 1950s era, Gordon only took to the sport when he was fifty-four.

However, he certainly made up for lost time, and, with similar fashion to what Ibbotson had done in open age competition, Gordon- likewise a member of Longwood Harriers- promptly proceeded to scoop veterans awards in endurance races over track, road, fell and cross-country.

Indeed on numerable occasions, falling not too far short of him wining the open age event for good measure.

And, like old wine, he seemed to mature with age, not least of all since he moved, twenty-nine years ago, to Hebden after befriending Shelia Ely, and also befriending the glorious scenic surroundings.

Thus, in the mould of the Scandinavian long-haired loners who dominated the world distance running scene in the 1970s, Gordon became a familiar figure pounding the roads and fells around his Hebden home, but, comparatively few people ever knew who he was.

A likeable personality though, for those people -particularly his rivals - who did acquaint with his identity, and just a few of his truly phenomenal chest of achievements, tell much of an amazing chapter in his life.

Twice under three hours for a marathon when already eligible age-wise for a free bus pass, Gordon, recording 2 hours 53. 04 seconds in 1995 won the over 60s award in the London Marathon which attracted rivals from all over the world.

Meanwhile, on the fells he was three times winner of the over 60s award in the Three Peaks Race and in 2004 he was the Fell Runners Association, over 70s British champion.

Not done yet amongst winning top national honours, in 2007 Gordon also won British titles in the over 75s category, including him setting new records in the 800 metres, 5000 metres and 10,000 metres on the track and also added the 10 miles British title for good measure.

What a man, what a star.

The photograph, chosen by his partner, Sheila, is of Gordon standing in front of the bridge, in Burnsall.