London Marathon preview plus list of local runners

HUNDREDS of runners from across the region will compete in the London Marathon on Sunday - here’s Carl Marston’s preview of the big day.

HELEN Decker is hoping that four weeks of altitude training, in East Africa, will stand her in good stead for tomorrow’s 31st Virgin London Marathon.

The queen of East Anglian running is looking to make further inroads into her impressive personal best of 2hrs 36mins 56secs, which she set on her way to third British lady finisher at London last year.

Decker has enjoyed a whirlwind last 12 months, since her ground-breaking run in the Capital.

The 31-year-old member of Ipswich JAFFA competed for Great Britain at the European Championships in Barcelona last July, where she braved the heat to finish 21st in the women’s marathon. She was also a member of the GB team that clinched the bronze team medals in the European Cup, incorporated within the Championships.

Less than three months later and Decker was again conquering the heat of New Delhi, where she finished eighth at the Commonwealth Games.

After a well-earned rest, she was off to Kenya in February, along with her coach Clive Sparkes, for a month of altitude training, in preparation for today’s big race.

Most Read

“My build-up has gone very well. Fortunately, I have stayed healthy with no injuries,” explained Decker.

“The added bonus was having four weeks away training in Kenya, thanks to funding from UK Athletics, after I had competed for Great Britain last summer.

“The high altitude training camp in Iten, Kenya was amazing. It is run by Lorna Kilpligat (international marathon runner) and her husband.

“I was able to run so many miles, hard at altitude. It gave me a big training boost early on in my training for London.

“I was the only British marathon runner out there, because two others pulled out due to injury, but there were marathon runners from other countries like Latvia and Russia.

“The running was all off-road, on soft trails. You would take your life in your own hands to run on the roads.

“My coach, Clive (Sparkes), accompanied me on every run on his bike, so he got a cracking tan!

“It was also very, very hilly, so it was real strength running off-road, at altitude and up big hills,” added Decker, who resumed her intensive training on her return to Ipswich.

A personal best at last month’s Reading Half-Marathon confirmed that her training was paying dividends.

“I had my four biggest weeks back home at sea level,” continued Decker.

“I basically ran 100-110 miles for eight weeks, as opposed to last year when I just peaked at 100 miles for a couple of weeks.

“Three days after my return from Kenya, I ran the Tunbridge Wells Half-Marathon and took three minutes of last year’s time.

“Then at the Reading Half-Marathon (1.14.02) I shaved half-a-minute off my PB, even though I had a week’s 100 miles training in my legs.”

Meanwhile, a number of East Anglia’s top runners will be in action in the mass field.

Tom Kingsnorth, who last year ran a 100-mile ultra-distance race, will be leading the party from Saint Edmund Pacers. Kingsnorth was second at the Wymondham 20-miler, and third at the recent Joe Cox Half-Marathon.

The Ipswich JAFFA double act of Gavin Davies and Brad Jones should also run well, while for marathon machine Andy Wilmot, of Halstead Road Runners, tomorrow will be his 517th marathon!

- The EADT will publishing a comprehensive list of local runners’ results from the London Marathon in Tuesday’s newspaper.

Any unaffiliated runner wanting to be included, should e-mail their name and finishing time to before 5pm on Monday.

Affiliated runners will be included in the club section.

- We also want your pictures from the day - send them, along with their results - to


-Run-down of local runners at Sunday’s Virgin London Marathon:-


Annette Oakman (aiming for close to 3hrs, last year’s Essex 20 and 10-mile champion, 3.07.27 PB); Lyn Higgs (aiming for 3.20 after struggling with a foot injury); Arthur Whiston (build-up has included over-60 gold medals at the Essex 20 and Essex Half-Marathon, 1.27 at recent Colchester Half, aiming for 3.15); Chris Manby (aiming for 3.15); Claire Adams (aiming for 3.40); Jack Fryer & John Fryer (father-and-son); Chris Lee (aiming for sub-4hrs).

n Two of Colchester Harriers’ quicker runners, Sarah Stradling and Sarah Ivory, are running the Belfast Marathon.


Alan Bowles (aged 56, 30 ms, 3.45 PB); Michelle Gordon (aged 30, 1 m, 3.43 PB); Heidi Barnard (aged 44, 4 ms, 4.27 PB, ch MND Motor Neurone Disease); Dave Lampard (aged 47, fm, ch Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Foundation); Samantha Linassi (aged 34, fm, ch St Elizabeth Hospice).


Marion Walker (aged 56, 6 ms, 3.55 PB); Stewart Hambling (aged 44, 2 ms, 3.46 PB).


Jonny Kempster (1 lm, aiming for sub 4hrs, running fancy-dress as Robin from Batman, ch United Response), Wayne Kern (4 lms, aiming for sub-4hrs), Dan Smith (fm, ch Marie Curie), Selina Hull (1 lm), Neil Murfitt (1 lm, aiming for sub 3.55), Alan Clack (fm), Hazel Buist (fm), Andy Wilmot (517ms, including 21 lms), Keith Thorogood (club chairman, 12ms, 5 lms, 3.43 PB), Mick Purkiss, Bob Parmenter, Terry Rivers, Diane Ashdown.


Lisa Ford (aged 28, fm, ch �2,500 for Phabkids); Stephen Burbidge (aged 27, 2 ms, 1 lm, 3.58.36 PB from New York); Louise Papworth (aged 36, 1 m, 1 lm, 5.53.18 PB, ch Diabetes UK); Dale Housler (aged 29, fm, South African, ch The Stroke Foundation); Jeff Higgon (aged 58, fm, ran Essex 20 in 2.52); Robert Reason (aged 31, fm, has qualified for the Championship start, ran Essex 20 in 1.56.49, regular winner on local circuit but struggling with injury).


John Adams (fm, 4.30 target); Kate Wooldridge (4 ms, 3.40 target); Fiona Hunt (fm, 4.00 target); Ruth Ward (2ms, 3.45 target); Tim Higgins (fm, 4.00 target); Ray Hill (15 ms, 10 lms, 3.25 target); John Thorpe (2 ms, aiming for sub-3hrs); Lee Rudland (4 ms, aiming for sub-3hrs); Steve Fraser-Lim (5ms, 2.55 target); Hazel Spalding (fm, 4.00 target); Gary Thompson (3 ms, aiming for sub-3hrs).

Gavin Davies (6 ms, 2.35 target); Julie Brown (3 ms); Ian Coxall (1 m, 3.15 target); Marcus Catling (1 m, 3.10 target); Alistair Dick (9 ms, aiming for sub-3hrs); Tom Jarrett (6 ms, aiming for sub-3hrs); Sarah Wood (3 ms, 4.30 target); Reuben Bolton (1 m, 3.45 target); Julie Abernethy (fm, 5.30 target); Brad Jones (1 m, 2.50 target); Helen Decker (aged 31, elite start, 2.36.56 PB).


Tom Kingsnorth (second in Wymondham 20), Rebecca Jennings, Chloe Jennings, Kim Swan, Tracey Shorter, Dave Garnham, Tim Fox, David Reed, Al Macpherson (ran Bungay Marathon last weekend in 3.41, cycling to and from event from Bury), Paul Goldman and Alan Dawson.

Matthew Le Poidevin (aged 13) is running in the Mini Marathon for the East Region.


Denise Wright (fm, ch Breakthrough Breast Cancer); Angela Burdett (fm, ch Breakthrough Breast Cancer); Sandra Mayhew (fm); Katy Nash (1 m, ch Motor Neurone Disease Association); Paul Heeks (3 lms, ch Asthma UK); David Loads; Debbie Ghant (5 ms, 1 lm); Sue Lewis; Lisa Nobles; Keith Borrett; David Daniels; Charmaine Geraghty; Neil Martin (1 m); Anna Smith (ch Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Norwich Hospital); John Rednall (2 ms, 1 lm, ch Ectopic Pregnancies); Alison Leech; Sarah Spink; Tina Monaghan (fm, ch Cancer Research), Ian “Buster” Keeble (aged 37, from Debenham, 6 lms, 2.44.10 PB, ch NSPCC).


Alex Wilson, Marie Shirley, Dee St Ledger.


Matt Kett (fm, ch Ron Pickering Foundation); Dawn Shilling (1 lm), Paul Dellar (first London, but finished the Marathon de Medoc last year); Martin Avent (2 lms, 3.27.01 PB, also ran the Barcelona Marathon in March); Greg McDowell (ultra-distance runner, 3.12.56 PB, completed a trail marathon in February).


Penny Clarke (13 ms, inc Hastings, Galway, Abingdon, Halstead & London, ch Macmillan Nurses); Jason Dicks, Hayley Ellen (fm, ch Overseas Educational); Kristian Fulljames (fm, ran Essex 20 and Great Bentley Half); Claire Gordon (4 ms, 1 lm, also ran Brighton, Halstead and Hastings); Adam Hocken (fm); Dave Jobling (13ms, ran his first at New York in 1989 and last in 2005, ch Helen Rollason Cancer); Sarah Khan (2 ms, 2 lms, ch Alzheimers & a children’s hospice); Diane Knights (5 ms, 4 lms, also ran Langford off-road marathon, ch TS Society); Gary Levey (fm).

Ian Maclaughlin (1 lm, missed last year to snowboarding injury); Marion May (3 ms, Bungay twice and Halstead, ch Marie Curie Cancer); Matt North (8 ms, 3 lms, also ran Dublin, Chicago, Amsterdam, Shakespeare & Halstead, ch Macmillan Nurses); Lee Pembroke (fm, ch NSPCC); Annabelle Reed (4 ms, 3 lms, ch Breakthrough Breast Cancer); Ross Silverton (22 lms, first one in 1984, ch Bobby Moore Cancer); David Smith (7 ms, 1 lm in 1984, also Swindon, Canterbury, Cyprus, Devizes, Hong Kong & Halstead); Brigid Wallen (13 ms, 5 lms, also Dublin, Hastings, Brighton, Boston & Halstead, automatic entry via qualifying time); Stewart Waller (5 ms, 4 lms, first one in 1983, ch Farleigh Hospice); Abbey Weaver (fm, ch Help the Heroes); Shelley Wray (7 ms, 3 lms, automatic entry via qualifying standardl ch CLIC Sargent).


Mark Vince (aged 39, 5 ms – Paris, Stockholm, Amsterdam, London & Berlin, 3.48 PB, ch St Elizabeth Hospice); Stephen Cole (aged 58, 19 lms all run consecutively, 3.28 PB, ch Eve Appeal, raised more than �100,000 over last 20 years); Ian Lightfoot (aged 29, 4 ms, 5.23 PB, ch Ipswich Hospital); Paul Nickells (aged 47, 7 ms, 2.56 PB); Doug Hutton-Squire (aged 31, 2 ms, 3.23 PB); Geoff Buchanan (aged 41, 3 ms, 3.43 PB, ch Independent Parental Special Educational Advice); Carina Sewell (aged 51, 10 ms, 3.37 PB, ch East Anglia’s Children Hospices).


Sharon Cross (aged 31, from Bury St Edmunds, fm, ch St Nicholas Hospice).

Tony Fitch (aged 43, from Great Blakenham, fm, member of Building Control Team at Mid-Suffolk District Council, ch Prostrate Cancer Research & Diabetes UK).

Kirsty Turner (aged 19, from Waldringfield, fm, nursery school worker at Melton Day Nursery, ch CLIC Sargent, hoping to raise �1,800)

Phil Green (aged 30, from Stowmarket, fm, works at West Suffolk College, ch Tommy’s research into pregnancy problems, his identical twin died at birth).

Will Dykes (aged 35, from Elmsett, physiotherapist clinic based at Martlesham Leisure, ch Ipswich Hospital Neonatal Unit, after this special care baby unit saved the life of his daughter Arabella).

Graham Cross (aged 31, from Bury St Edmunds, fm, ch St Nicholas Hospice).

Jason Clench (aged 37, from Grundisburgh, fm, aiming for sub-5hrs, ch British Heart Foundation).

Hayley Harper (aged 35, from Ipswich, fm) and best friend Sarahjane Murphy (aged 39, from Ipswich, fm) are both running for ch Cystic Fibrosis Trust. Both have family members with the disease.

Tamsin Passmore (aged 47, from Woodbridge, 3 ms, 1 lm, 3.59.02 PB, ch EACH); Neil Sawyer (aged 40, from Sudbury, fm, aiming for 4.30, ch National Autistic Society)

Ellen Wilton (aged 19, so one of the competitors, ex-Woodbridge School pupil, ch Whizz Kidz, currently in her gap year before going to Durham University, just two weeks ago she was in London picking up her Gold Duke of Edinburgh award, and then five days later she was competing against Zara Phillips at Gatcombe Horse Trials).

Anna Steward (aged 29, language teacher, ch Alzheimer’s Research UK, after her Dad Roger, from Capel St Mary, was diagnosed with the early-onset of Alzheimer’s at the age of 60).

Stephen Parker (aged 45, from Grundisburgh, 4.46 PB from Bungay last year, ch EACH); Matthew Stead (aged 30, Thurston, fm, ch Rockinghorse Appeal, children’s charity in Brighton); Steve Bissett (aged 30, Barningham, fm, ch Rockinghorse Appeal).


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

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