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86-year-old Mary Rose Aquilina to take part in La Valette Marathon walkathon

Mary Rose Aquilina with her son Joe prior to the walkathon. Photo: Jonathan Borg

It’s not a common sight to see an 86-year-old taking part in a long-distance running event but Mary Rose Aquilina is set to defy her age when on Sunday morning she will be on the starting line of walkathon at the La Valette Marathon.

It has been less than a year since Mary Rose started walking every day but never considered participating in marathon events organised in Malta.

However, that all changed last November when her son Joe registered her to take part in the Żurrieq 10K walkathon, and since then she has never looked back.

“My mum has always been a very active person,” her son Joe told the Times of Malta.

“She has always been a hard-worker but when the COVID pandemic passed she stopped working and we looked at something to keep her healthy.

“Six months ago we started going out for one-hour walks everyday. We used to walk in her locality in Swieqi but I felt it was not very safe for her and we started to go for a walk along the Sliema coastline.

“Last November, we took part in the Żurrieq 10K walk and she managed to complete the distance. Now, we are going t take a step further and we registered to take part in the La Valette Marathon Walkathon. It’s a 21.1km walk but we are looking forward to it.

“Having a hearing problem, it makes it difficult for her to communicate with others so if she is not out walking, she would be at home either watching mass on TV or cooking in the kitchen. At least, walking is a way for her to relax.”

Mary Rose says that she enjoys walking and emphasised that apart from her routine exercise, she gives a lot of importance to her nutrition.

“I do enjoy walking a lot and I am looking forward to take part in the walkathon,” Mary Rose said.

“I have been an active person all my life and this new hobby keeps me going. I am a person who is always looking to eat healthy. I don’t have sugar in my tea and I rarely eat sweets, I eat a lot of vegetables and I don’t have much of bread and pasta while I never put salt in my food.

“I feel healthy and hopefully after Sunday’s walkathon I will have the energy to compete in others.”

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