Suffolk and Essex club runners dazzle at London Marathon
- Credit: Archant
The sweltering conditions and the 26.2 miles of roads ahead of them failed to deter a huge number of local runners, from Suffolk and North-East Essex, from conquering the 38th staging of the London Marathon on Sunday.
Many were running the marathon for the first time, while others were back for more in the way of fun, punishment, adrenaline, accomplishment (take your pick, though it’s usually a mixture of all the above).
Mac Speake duly completed his 38th successive London Marathon, to remain a member of the exclusive ‘Ever-Presents’ club.
The 76-year-old from Kettlebaston had been forced to follow a run/walk approach (7:10:31), after breaking his shoulder last autumn, but he remains one of just 11 runners to have completed every London Marathon since the inaugural event in 1981.
Around the clubs, Jason Duff flew the Felixstowe Road Runners flag with a swift 2:46:49, while Dave Solomon was 89th in his over-50 age group (3:08:32).
Marion Walker, a stalwart of Framlingham Flyers, was a terrific 26th in her 60-64 year-old section, following a 4:19:20 effort on Sunday.
Likewise, Great Bentley Running Club had a couple of veterans featuring high up in their categories.
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Eileen Shadford was 29th in the female 50-54 section with 3:35:03, while club-mate Vicky Presland recorded 3:26:17 on her way to 63rd in the female over-40 age group.
Matthew Hunt put two years of niggling injuries behind him to register 2:42:12, finishing 22nd in his over-40 age group. The Woodbridge Shuffler has a personal best of 2:38:30 from the Valencia Marathon in 2014.
For Ipswich JAFFA, Will Law was first home in 2:44:59 (276th overall). Tim Newton (26th over-65 in 3:57:28) and Warren Birch (47th over-50 in 3:00:53) were other highlights.
Kieran Hayles was Sudbury Joggers’ leading light in 2:56:46. Club-mate Lewis Todd finished 69th over-55 veteran with 3:21:17.
There were also fine runs from Haverhill RC’s Joan Nevin, who was 60th in the female 65-69 class with 5:35:01, and Lowestoft RR’s Karen Archbold, who took 58th among the 50-54 year-olds (3:46:03).
In the male 65-69 equivalent, Bungay Black Dog’s Peter Edmunds finished 61st in 4:21:58.
Colchester Harriers’ first finisher was new over-50 veteran Allen Smalls, a former international ultra-distance runner. Smalls reached The Mall in 2:47:49, to finish fifth in an over-50 section which he joined following his 50th birthday earlier in the month.
Smalls only ran the second 13.1 miles six minutes slower than the first, a notable achievement given the warm weather.
Fellow Harrier Colin Ridley was 14th in the 55-59 year-old age category, thanks to a 3:05:29 clocking, and there were sub-three hour efforts from Darren Farrugia (2:49:27), Nate Filer (2:56:56) and Ged McMillan (2:58:13).
Halstead Road Runners’ marathon machine, Andy Wilmot, chalked up his 744th marathon on his way to 29th in the over-70 age group in a consistent 4:35:03. It was the 73-year-old’s 27th London.
The Gooderham family, raising money from East Anglian Air Ambulance, were out in force in the colours of Saint Edmund Pacers, with Dad Ian and daughters Jessie and Emily all completing the course. Jessie ran a fine 3:30:04, while club-mate Philip Hymers was 78th in the 65-69 age group with 4:31:47.
There was a scorching run from Waveney Valley AC’s Sam Lines. She was the 97th female finisher overall, in 3:09:12. Likewise, Witham RC’s Rachel Sweatt was 39th female in a cracking 3:00:34.
Orwell Panthers had been awarded their first London Marathon club place for this year, and Oliver Minns did the honours with an excellent time of 3:59:39.
A couple of Suffolk-based runners were raising funds for the Animal Health Trust. Jess Warren, a 23-year-old vet from Bury St Edmunds, finished in 5:30:06, while Polstead-based gardener Liam Mcleod, 36, ran 5:46:38.
The warm conditions posed an extra challenge for those running in fancy-dress.
Dale Mason, a firefighter, was one of these. He ran in full fire kit, the Ipswich Tri Club member reaching the finish in 6:56:12.
Meanwhile, Ipswich Harriers had three young runners representing the East Region in the Mini Marathon, staged over three miles of the marathon course between Billingsgate and The Mall,
Ruby Vinton finished 16th in the under-13 girls’ race, in 18mins 26secs, while Holly Fisher was 42nd in the under-15 girls’ group with 18:35, and Nathan Goddard clocked 15:56 on his to 58th in the under-17 men’s event.