NORTH Devon Road Runner John Shapland has been selected to run for England in an international cross-country competition against Ireland next week. John, 56, from Pilton normally concentrates on road races, but this summer also made his mark on the track

NORTH Devon Road Runner John Shapland has been selected to run for England in an international cross-country competition against Ireland next week.

John, 56, from Pilton normally concentrates on road races, but this summer also made his mark on the track when he won the British Masters (over-55s) 10,000 metres.

Now he will be going off-road in Birmingham on Saturday, November 14, as part of a three-man England over-55s cross country team. They will tackle a four-lap 8k course.

It is not his favourite discipline, said John. But he is honoured to have been chosen to represent his country.

John, a BT worker for 40 years, only took up running seven years ago after having to give up football.

He played for Barnstaple Town, Barnstaple Ammies, Fremington and South Molton and was only stopped at the age of 48 by a knee injury. He has also run seven marathons, but had to give them up following a second knee operation.