Allen Smalls records big win to claim Bungay Black Dog Marathon crown
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Allen Smalls led for virtually the whole 26.2-mile race to claim a comfortable victory at the 32nd staging of the Bungay Black Dog Marathon, held last Sunday.
Smalls, of Colchester Harriers, had already taken the lead by the time the field of over 200 had reached Mettingham, a mile-and-a-half out, and it was a lead he never relinquished.
Unaffiliated runner, Richard Watkinson, did try and stay in contention with Smalls around the Waveney Valley course, but by the finish the Colchester athlete had opened up a gap of more two minutes.
Smalls registered a winning time of 2hrs, 47mins 10secs, in a race run partly in light rain and with a strong head breeze on the homeward leg of the two-lap event.
It was the first time he had run the Bungay event for nine years, since he had triumphed in 2005 in 2.47.11 (only a second slower than on Sunday). He has a personal best of 2.33.23, set at the London Marathon in 2010.
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“I think I went off too quickly and I tightened up on the second lap,” explained Smalls, 46, an ultra distance specialist.
“I was trying for 2.42 but I finished in 2.47. It was tough.”
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Wilkinson finished a creditable runner-up in 2.49.38 while Mark Sands, another unattached runner from Boston, was third in 2.51.52.
One of Smalls’ Harriers club-mates, Malcolm Statham, finished his second marathon of the week in 3.54, having covered the Daffodil Dash Marathon in 4.24 the previous Sunday.
The ladies also found it a tough race. Courtney Thornberry, from Kenilworth, led for the first half, but was gradually caught by Tiptree Road Runners’ Tracey Harrington as the leader faded over the second lap.
Harrington eventually won by well over four minutes in a time of 3.42.31. The over-45 veteran has a PB of 3.37.50 from the Great Yarmouth East Coast Marathon of two years ago.
Unaffiliated runner Lisa Symonds moved up to finish second in 3.47.36, with Thornberry third in 3.59.40.
The supporting Bungay Half-Marathon attracted 600 entries, with many runners using it as a training exercise for this weekend’s London Marathon.
The men’s race was won by City of Norwich AC’s Dominic Oliver, still a junior, in 1.18.55. Oliver was 36 seconds ahead of club-mate Neil Davison, who clocked 1.19.31. Unattached Ipswich runner Adam Howlett was third in 1.20.03.
To the delight of the home crowds, Bungay Black Dog RC’s Justine Fawcett won the ladies’ half-marathon title in 1.34.25, more than six minutes ahead of Anneka Charters, of Mornington Chasers (1.40.36). Joanne Cox, also of the host club, took third position in 1.42.08.
Bungay Black Dog’s trio of Fawcett, Joanne Cox and Sophie Bell won the ladies’ half-marathon team title.
Proceeds from this year’s event, which included a family fun run, will again go to the NSPCC.