Big preview of London Marathon and London Mini-Marathon

Runners go through the spray showers during last year's London Marathon. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Runners go through the spray showers during last year's London Marathon. Picture: GETTY IMAGES - Credit: Getty Images

Athletics correspondent Carl Marston casts his eye over some of the region’s runners taking part in tomorrow’s London Marathon and Mini Marathon

Runners in action during last year's London Marathon, with Canary Wharf as a backdrop. Picture: GETY

Runners in action during last year's London Marathon, with Canary Wharf as a backdrop. Picture: GETYY IMAGES - Credit: Getty Images

Runners from Suffolk and North-East Essex will once again converge on the Capital to take part in the 39th staging of the London Marathon tomorrow, although the best local results are likely to be posted even before the main field leaves Blackheath and Greenwich.

And that’s because several of Suffolk’s leading junior athletes are in action in the London Mini Marathon, which takes place over the final three miles of the London Marathon course, from Old Billingsgate to the Mall.

Ben Peck, Lewis Sullivan and Ruby Vinton are all set to represent the East in three different age-group races, and all are likely to be in contention towards the head of the field.

Brandon-based Peck, who runs for Thetford AC and trains once a week in Martin Brophy’s group at the West Suffolk Arena in Bury St Edmunds, is among the favourites in the under-13 boys’ race.

Suffolk's Ruby Vinton, on her way to winning the Inter-Counties Cross Country title, is set to run i

Suffolk's Ruby Vinton, on her way to winning the Inter-Counties Cross Country title, is set to run in the London Mini Marathon tomorrow - Credit: Archant

Peck won both the National Cross Country Championships (at Leeds) and Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships (at Loughborough) over the winter, and so will be the one to watch tomorrow.

However Peck, a pupil at Mildenhall College Academy, will face a stiff challenge from William Rabjohns, of the South-West, who was a runner-up to the Suffolk champion at both the Nationals and Inter-Counties.

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Woodbridge School pupil Vinton, a member of Ipswich Harriers, will be in action in the under-13 girls’ race. Vinton lifted the Inter-Counties Cross Country title in March, having also won the South of England crown in January.

She has had good tussles this winter with Scarlett Livingstone, the National Cross Country champion, and the two are set to meet again tomorrow, Livingstone running for the South West.

Ben Peck nears the finish to claim victory at the English National Cross Country Championships, at L

Ben Peck nears the finish to claim victory at the English National Cross Country Championships, at Leeds. He will be among the favourites in the under-13 boys' London Mini Marathon. - Credit: Archant

Sullivan is another to have had a terrific season, having been crowned England Schools Cross Country Championship in Leeds last month. He also won the Home Countries Schools International in Dublin a week later.

A member of Saint Edmund Pacers, Sullivan will be in the bottom half of the under-15 age group, so will be up against many runners who are older than him, but he should still figure highly.

“I’m really looking forward to the race. I’m very excited about it,” enthused Sullivan, who is a pupil at Sybil Andrews Academy, Moreton Hall. Sullivan finished fourth in the u-13 race last year.

Tomorrow’s London Mini Marathon, billed as the official British Athletics three-mile road championships for young athletes aged between 11 and 17, features 33 London Borooughs as well as 13 teams from 10 English regions, plus teams from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Lewis Sullivan with the England flag after his victory in Dublin. Sullivan will represent the East a

Lewis Sullivan with the England flag after his victory in Dublin. Sullivan will represent the East at tomorrow's London Mini Marathon. - Credit: Archant

The most high-profile previous winner of this event is four-time Olympic Games gold medallist Mo Farah, who of course will be the main focus of attention in the marathon, together with defending champion and world record holder Eliud Kipchoge (2:01:39 from Berlin last year).

The various London Mini Marathons begin at 8.40am, the course going out along Victoria Embankment, down Birdcage Walk and finishing on The Mall.

Meanwhile, hundreds of runners from the region will be tackling the 26.2 miles of the traditional marathon.

For COLCHESTER HARRIERS, Nate Filer will be among the championship (elite) field after recording a personal best of 2:44 at the Chelmsford Marathon. This will be Filer’s fifth marathon, and his second at London, and he is targeting a sub-2:40 time.

James Wright is another Harrier looking for a swift time, having posted a PB of 2:44 at London last year. On a more extreme scale, marathon machine Malcolm Statham has rattled up more than 200 marathons over his long career. This will be his 12th London, and he is aiming to beat his London best of 3:18.

Kate Gibson, also of the Harriers, will be tackling her second London and hoping for better luck than her first, which saw her suffer a fractured hip at the 16-mile mark in 2010.

FRAMLINGHAM FLYERS include some fine speed merchants within their ranks, spearheaded by Adam Howlett and Jim Last. Over-45 veteran Howlett has a PB of 2:45:19, and only two weeks ago ran his 35th marathon at Brighton, while 42-year-old Jim Last has a best of 2:42:22 and will be tackling his 16th marathon tomorrow.

Mac Speake, of Bildeston Bounders, is one of only 11 ‘Ever-Presents’ who have completed every London Marathon since the inaugural one in 1981.

Now aged 78, Speake had four operations last year and is planning to mainly fast walk the course this year.

Run-down on the local affiliated runners:


Mac Speake (ever-present, run all 38 London Marathons), Rachel Speake (50 this year, first marathon since birth of son Max 6 years ago).


Nate Filer (PB 2:44, 4 ms, 1 lm), James Wright (PB 2:44, 22 ms), Kate Gibson (1 lm), Paul Dellar (PB 3:14, 10 ms, 2 lms), Louise Yates (4:38 PB, 1 lm), Daniel Summersgill (PB 3:37, 4 ms), Adam Gerrish (PB 3:30, 1 ms at Nottingham), Paul Rodgers (4 ms, clocked 2:58 at his fourth at Chester).

Samantha Hart (fm), Jay Waite (PB 3:16 at Manchester just a few weeks ago, 7 ms), Gary Licence (fm), Michael Stych (fm), Malcolm Statham (200+ ms, 11 lms).


Will Aldred (aged 49, 4 ms, 1 lm, PB 3:09:26), Lee Barber (aged 38, 3 ms, PB 3:29, won a club place), Adam Howlett (aged 47, 35 ms, 8 lms, PB 2:45:19), Jim Last (aged 42, 15 ms, 5 lms, PB 2:42:22), Chris Leek (aged 43, 3 ms, 1 lm, PB 3:00:57), Mandi Moyse (aged 51, 2 ms, ch - Gt. Ormond Street Hospital, PB 3:51:44), Ashley Smy (aged 37, 15 ms, 1 lm, PB 2:51:51, ran Boston Marathon two weeks ago), Tom Haslam (aged 47, 8 ms, 2 lms, PB 3:14:21).


Warren Birch (PB 2:49, 12 ms & ultras), Derek Hood (fm), Will Law (PB 2:36, 8 ms), Dave Lumby (PB 2:56, 7 ms), Tim Newton (PB 3:20, run all 6 Majors), Rob Page (PB 3:34, 1 ms), Mark Rose (fm), Daryl Simpson (debut at Brighton 2 weeks ago, PB 3:59), Laura Thomas (fm), Adam Wade (PB 2:53, 4 ms), Jen Wright (PB 3:58, 7 ms, ch Ipswich & Colchester Children’s Wards), Maureen Wright (9 ms, has 10 grandchildren so needs one more medal!)


Kevin Scutcher (fm, ch MACS), Karl Feagan.


Adrian Gasser (aged 58, fm, ch BackCare), Sarah Frost (aged 33, PB 4:33 in Brighton 2017, 6 ms, ch London’s Air Ambulance in memory of her cousin Bernard), Tom Porter (aged 40, 5 ms, PB 3:09 in Berlin 2018), Charlotte May (aged 36, fm, ch for local boy called Harvey, aged 9, Harvey’s wish Tree of Hope), Sam Wolton (PB 3:35, 15 ms, 5 lms),


Stephen Peck (aged 42, current Essex County champion for the Marathon after 2:44 at Halstead last year, 2 ms, first London), Robert Reason (aged 39, 6 ms, 5 lms, PB 2:34:32 set in 2014), Muriel Lovering (aged 41, PB 4:55, 2 ms, 1 lm, ch Shooting Star Children’s Hospice), Simon Day (aged 41, PB 2:57:33 set at Brighton in 2017, 5 ms), Robin Brookes (aged 50, PB 3:01:53, 2 lms), Zoe Orr (aged 44, fm, ch The Royal Marsden Cancer), Lian Meachen (aged 45, fm, ch British Heart Foundation)


Giles Macrow (over-50, PB 4:50, 1 ms, 1 lm when ran for a Slimmer’s World cancer charity after losing over 11 stone in the previous two years), Ruth Eberhardt (over-45, fm, club place, Couch to 5K, 2:58 at the Wymondham-20 last month), Jeremy Reader (over-45, PB 4:01, 3 ms), Grainne Brennan (PB 3:16, 1 ms at Edinburgh in 2017), Chris Gay (PB 2:48 at Edinburgh, ran 2:52 at London), Mark Hayward (PB 2:55 at Limassol in Cyprus).

Robin Clifford (over-50, PB 2:43 from 2011, 8 lms), Neil Pollard (over-40, PB 2:50 from York last year, 4 ms, 1 lm), Sarah Boneham (over-45, PB 3:32 in 2013, ran all 6 Majors after running Berlin Marathon, 4 lms), Franscesa Laughton (new member, former Bungay Black Dog), Paul Holley (over-50, 3 lms, ran 2:55 at Leicester Marathon last October).


Ollie Peacock, Denys Olefir, Sandra Webb, Vince Webb, Mark Watts, John Greener, Michael Grenner, Andy Pearce, Michael Rushton, Kelvin Johnson, Tristan Powter, Phil Hyam, Hayley Coates.


Ann Granger, Rochelle Grimmer, Mandy Jordan, Keelan Smith.


Mary Narey, Louise Goddard, Bill Besley, James Cooper, Donna Cooper, Karen Hamilton, Dan Belcher-Hackett, Phil Green, Gemma Porch, Amanda Brewster, Mark Skoulding, Richard Leader, Dianne Hughes, Steve Hughes, Chris Seymour.


Alison Peace (PB 4:54:29, over-40, 2 ms at Brighton), Stuart Peace (PB 3.59:35, over-40, 6 ms, 2 lms), Tina Clarke (PB 4:04:43, over-50, 11 ms, target of 4:30), Larina Marsh (PB 5:09:46, over-50, 1 ms, at Brighton, ch Farleigh Hospice, target 4:45)


Heather Noone (aged 35, 2 ms, ran 2:49:32 at Kent Spring Marathon this year, winning by 14 minutes), Matthew Hunt (aged 42, PB 2:38 in Valencia 2014, first marathon at Edinburgh in 2012, 12 ms, 5 lms), Dr Ben Solway (aged 53, 14 ms, ch MINDA, target sub-4 hrs)


PB – personal best; ms – number of marathons run; lms – number of London Marathons run; fm – first marathon.

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