Ladies race to London Marathon success

THE ladies took centre stage as runners from East Anglia converged on the Capital for the 29th Flora London Marathon on Sunday.

Carl Marston

THE ladies took centre stage as runners from East Anglia converged on the Capital for the 29th Flora London Marathon on Sunday.

Helen Decker again blitzed her own Ipswich JAFFA club record, and was only beaten by five other British women, including runner-up Mara Yamauchi, as she rattled up a scorching 2hrs 42mins 08secs.

And over the border in Essex, an in-form Sarah Stradling re-wrote the Colchester Harriers record books by eclipsing her own previous landmark with 2.49.54.


You may also want to watch:


Although conditions were not perfect - it was a little too warm for competitive running - Decker was always on target to smash her personal best, which she eventually achieved by more than three minutes.

Decker has made giant strides over the last couple of years, and she shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, the 29-year-old will be gunning for a sub-2.40 marathon in the autumn.

Most Read

“I'm happy with my run, and the time. It means that I'm still going forward, still progressing,” said Decker, who represented England at an international marathon in Toronto last year.

“Based on my quick times leading up to the marathon, over 20 miles and the half-marathon, it was decided that I should have a braver pace-plan than normal, to try and just dip under 2.40.

“It wasn't that risky, because even if I did suffer later in the race, I could still hopefully finish in the low 2.40s and so get a PB.

“And that's what happened. I was on course with my target at half-way and also 20 miles, but I gradually slowed during the last six miles. That was probably due to the pace, and also the heat.

“It was just a bit too warm, and I was getting hot even before the start, which isn't ideal before running a marathon. I even got some sun-burn, but I'd rather run in these conditions than in the wind and rain.

“I'm delighted to get another personal best. I seem to keep knocking two or three minutes off my PB every six months, so it was a fair decision to go for a braver race strategy.

“I'm confident that I can go faster, and I'll be looking for a sub-2.40 marathon this autumn. I just need some longer paced runs to help with the last six miles,” added Decker, who is coached by Clive Sparkes at JAFFA.

Meanwhile, Stradling broke her own Colchester Harriers club record to finish as 10th British lady. Like Decker, she paced herself well towards the head of the mass field. She was the 26th female finisher.

Elsewhere, Mac Speake maintained his remarkable record of having run in every single London Marathon. The 67-year-old retired doctor, from Bildeston Bounders, chalked up No. 29 in a very respectable 4.20.38.

Before Sunday, there were just 22 runners who had completed every London Marathon. It is likely that this group will stay in tact to celebrate the 30th anniversary next year.

Paul Helliwell was first home in the green vests of Colchester Harriers with a superb time of 2.46.39, with club-mate Sean Ketteridge also beating the 2.50-barrier by 25 seconds. Mick Bond, aged 54, proved that age is no barrier with 2.53.24.

David Green, of Great Bentley RC, posted an impressive 2.42.50 to finish 233rd, and Mark Armitage (Halstead Road Runners), Wesley Benton (Sudbury Joggers) and Benjamin Blowes (Newmarket Joggers) were also well under three hours.

Jonathan Withey spearheaded a big party from Saint Edmund Pacers with an eye-catching 2.42.49. Club-mates Mike Greener and David Reed also beat three hours, with Reed having successfully overcome a bout of pleurisy just a few months earlier. Sunday was his 14th London Marathon.

In addition to Decker, JAFFA had some swift times. Gavin Davies stopped the clock at 2.38.01, with club-mate Thomas Jarrett also under three hours, and Stowmarket Striders were also well represented, led home by experienced runner Ian Keeble (2.54.25).

A little further down the field, many runners from the region were conquering the 26.2-mile distance for the first time, with many of them raising money for charity. They all have their stories to tell about a day that most will never forget.

How the local runners finished ………

BILDESTON BOUNDERS

Will Speake 2.38.02; Peter Speake 2.53.57; Mac Speake 4.20.38 (completed all 29 London Marathons)

BRANDON FERN HOPPERS

Nik Chapman 4.22.29; Bee Chapman 4.26.29; Chris Drury 4.33.19

BUNGAY BLACK DOG

Ian Taylor 3.13.03; Mark Fawbert 3.22.34; Ian Barber 3.39.21; Richard Dye 3.50.52; Christine Muttitt 4.22.07; Carol Maycock 4.23.43

COLCHESTER HARRIERS

Sarah Stradling 2.49.54 (PB, broke her own club record, 10th British lady, 26th female overall); Paul Helliwell 2.46.39 (332nd); Sean Ketteridge 2.49.35 (424th); Mick Bond 2.53.24 (538th, aged 54, 19th over-50 veteran); Lyn Higgs 3.27.17 (426th lady); Arthur Whiston 3.20.01 (2,474th); Pat Marsh 4.14.32; Bob Clarke 5.38; Wendy Clarke (Bob's wife) 5.28.30; Rob Lane 3.40.17 (fm); Craig Rought 3.54.27

COLCHESTER & TENDRING AC

Andy Wray 4.00.30

FELIXSTOWE ROAD RUNNERS

Vic Brooks 3.51.23; Daniel Case 4.16.63; Robert Case 4.36.55; Karl Penaluna 4.37.17; Mick Moore 4.51.24 (ran with his daughter Kirsty, also 4.51.24, who now lives in Surrey); Jacky Causon 5.45.28; Simon Wiggins 4.27.27

FRAMLINGHAM FLYERS

Kevin Short 3.16.40; Jayne Wright 5.03.59

GREAT BENTLEY RUNNING CLUB

David Green 2.42.50 (233rd); Kevin Jeffries 3.05.53; Andrew Cable 3.56.28; D Swindell 4.32.03; John Gwillim 4.38.05

HADLEIGH HARES

Brian Airlie 3.50.03; Joanne Baker 4.46.22; Marianne Aitken 5.01.28

HALSTEAD ROAD RUNNERS

Mark Armitage 2.52.45; Matthew Biggin 3.29.47; Mike Grealy 3.39.13; Ian Sutcliffe 3.42.36; Ian Stanhope 4.03.30; Mark Fribbens 4.17.26; Bob Parmenter 4.25.10; Michael Purkiss 4.53.12

HARWICH RUNNERS

Matthew Knowles 3.15.21 (PB by 22 mins); Nigel Buxton 3.33.46 (fm); Richard Newman 3.37.33 (fm); Gary Donoghue 3.36.48 ; Miranda Rayner 5.29.17 (ch Help for Heroes); Anna Leeds 5.58.03

IPSWICH HARRIERS

Glynn Thomas 3.06.34; Nicholas Minns 3.27.20; Chris Johnson 4.38.00

IPSWICH JAFFA

Helen Decker 2.42.08; Gavin Davies 2.38.01; Thomas Jarrett 2.56.10; Alistair Dick 3.04.38; Laurence Scarlett 3.07.37; Gary Thompson 3.11.28; Ray Hill 3.21.54; Nicola Ramsey 3.22.01; John Thorpe 3.25.33; Louise Staunton 3.34.55; Kate Wooldridge 3.39.39; Neil Dable 3.40.26; Gail Pryke 3.51.33; Brian Leach 4.17.05; Rebecca Staunton 4.17.54; Faye Woollard 4.48.08; John Lambert 5.08.45; Mark Avery 5.13.11

LOWESTOFT ROAD RUNNERS

Shaun Lark 3.06.13; Karen Archbold 3.41.04; Faye Barker 4.40.44; Simon Bunting 4.44.58; Sally-Ann Protheroe 5.05.44; Roger Mawer 5.20.41 (136th in over-60 category); Lisa Braat 5.24.54

NEWMARKET JOGGERS

Benjamin Blowes 2.50.41 (461st); Jeremy Zielinski 3.11.00; Keith Williams 3.13.52; Neville Clarke 3.34.11; Vincent Colby 3.41.38; Alan Shand 4.07.23; Miranda Paul 4.16.43; Paul Baxter 4.40.30; Margaret Taylor 4.52.16; Carolynn Anderson 5.11.28

SAINT EDMUND PACERS

Jonathan Withey 2.42.49; Michael Greener 2.58.16; David Reed 2.59.49; Wayne Fairhurst 3.04.29; Alan Dawson 3.07.14 (80th in over-50 category); John Greener 3.18.19; Kim Swan 3.33.14; Christine Anthony 3.37.59 (100th in over-45 category); Roger Brand 3.41.38; Ken Williamson 3.51.10; Dave Overman 4.24.22; Karen Hatton 4.24.22; Robert Tillyard 4.50.26; Darren Baker 5.00.29; Tracey Shorter 5.17.07

STOWMARKET STRIDERS

Ian Keeble 2.54.25; Robert Grainger 3.23.09; David Wood 3.49.49; Jonathon Levett 4.02.30; Kim Levett 4.02.30; Frank Moggan 4.03.50; Jo Stephenson 4.08.34; Richard Day 4.22.23; Louise Miller 4.30.52 (fm); Allen Mayhew 4.32.43; Leslie King 4.46.54; Elaine Wright 4.59.41; Tracey Lee 4.59.41; Liza Helps 5.36.08

SUDBURY JOGGERS

Wesley Benton 2.55.39; Paul Preston 3.08.40; Amanda Henry 3.14.10 (183rd lady); Andy Glass 3.14.21; Marie Shirley 3.17.41; Christine Gillibrand 3.27.09; Elizabeth Sandford 3.46.28; Mark Clark 3.47.06; Kellie Barrett-Seward 4.41.28; Barry Curtis 5.24.13

TIPTREE ROAD RUNNERS

Alex Jamieson 3.17.08 (fm); Martin Avent 3.27.01 (fm); Simon Morgan 3.33.59 (first London Marathon for more than 20 years); Francesca Haque 4.24.18 (PB)

THE SAXONS

Lee Phillips 3.31.03 (PB); Sarah Vick 3.46.56; Mark Wright 4.48.22; Alison Bills 5.13.14 (fm)

WEST SUFFOLK AC

Paul Mayes 3.48 (fm, aged 18); Dawn Mason 4.18 (only 2 mins off 1998 PB)

WITHAM RUNNING CLUB

Ian McLaughlin 3.43.23; Peter Gold 4.09.01; Mike Struthers 4.38.38; Jonny Kempster 4.52.26; Angela Hore 5.00.55; Sue Bellis 5.14.25; Sue Shippey 5.18.08; Karen Hopegood 4.38.55; Karen Hopegood 4.38.55 (PB, ch Rivenhall Primary School �600 for new assembly table, done most of her training with two-year-old daughter in a racing pushchair); Penelope Clarke 4.55.42

WOODBRIDGE SHUFFLERS

Douglas Hutton-Squire 3.23.47; Geoff Buchanan 3.43.11; Kim Smith 3.54.42; Carina Sewell 4.00.21; Stephen Cole 4.11.17; Alok Ruia 4.30.35; James Reed 4.39.07; Andrew Covell 4.41.01; Jon Dawson 4.45.14

UNAFFILIATED RUNNERS

Lucy Lennard 5.25.22 (fm, from Woodbridge, Children with Leukaemia); Nikki Vince 6.24 (fm, from Hadleigh, ch Children with Leukaemia); Debbie Taylor 5.17.43 (from Woodbridge, ch Leukaemia Research, �1,100); Will Clark 4.05 (ch Phab for disabled children and adults); Geoffrey Wakeling 4.30.36; (finished 18,204th)

Marion Jinks 4.49 (fm, from Ipswich, ch Cancer Research); Mark Shemming 5.02.55 (manager of Shotley Rose FC); Nathan Cook 4.34.10 (from Ipswich, ch PDSA); James Samkin 4.40.39 (from Reydon); Beverley Padget 4.54.26 (fm, from Great Cornard); David Goldsmith 3.49.26 (fm, from St Osyth, ch Children with Leukaemia)

Craig Robinson 4.20.22 (fm, from Ipswich, ch St Elizabeth Hospice); Neil Wade 3.49.22 (from Ipswich, ch St Elizabeth Hospice); Sean Davidson 5.12.59 (from Ipswich, ch St Elizabeth Hospice)

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter