Brighton/Boston: Bittersweet joy for Stowmarket Striders marathon runners

Jo Stephenson, of Stowmarket Striders, ran the Brighton Marathon at the weekend

Jo Stephenson, of Stowmarket Striders, ran the Brighton Marathon at the weekend - Credit: Contributed

ON SUNDAY they were celebrating their success in the Brighton Marathon but by last night there was a sense of shock amongst members of the Stowmarket Striders.

Last night they were praying their running mate Frank Moggan, who had opted to travel further afield and attempt the Boston Marathon, was safe. They heard late last night that he and his wife had escaped injury and were unharmed by the double explosions.

Jo Stephenson, a coach at the club and close friend of Frank’s, said: “I’m shocked and saddened by the events.

“My thoughts are with the families and friends of all the victims and feelings of celebrating personal achievements have been deflated by this tragedy. So much money is raised for so many good causes by people running and supporting marathons, it is unbelievable that anyone could think of doing something like this.

“So many more heroes were made yesterday.”

Jo, of Elmswell, was one of eight runners to complete the Brighton Marathon at the weekend and before hearing of the devastation in Boston, she said: “I got a PB (personal best) - by about four minutes, so managed to just get in under the four hours.

“We had hills going up from mile seven to 10 and then downhill for a couple of miles. I seemed to fly up the hills, but It was the down hills that were my undoing and around mile 13 I started to feel a tightness in my thighs caused, I assume, by the pounding of coming downhill.

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“Mile 20 onwards was really hard work, a little up hill again and out into a commercial estate, so the views weren’t good and cramp in both calves took a grip so I had to keep stopping to massage the cramp out. So in that way I’m disappointed.

“The training plan has made me realise the importance of cross training and leg strengthening, but I think I would add in some definite hill training and maybe an additional run.”

“I loved Brighton Marathon, really well organised and such a lovely atmosphere and of course fabulous views across the coast. The crowds, crew and marshals were superb.

“The route was great with a lot of out and backs so nearly all the way round there were runners coming in the opposite direction on the other side of the road. So I was able to look out for other team mates. It was amazing to see the elite runners fly past as well.

“The team of eight of us from Stowmarket Striders all finished, all with their own battle stories and all pleased with their efforts.”

Jo is now resting her very sore legs and will have a two-week break from attempting any serious running or exercise of any form. She will be travelling to London this weekend to cheer on fellow running club members, knowing her big race was out of the way but also on her guard after yesterday’s devastation.