Suffolk and North-Essex runners: Conquering the 26.2 miles of the London Marathon

Bill Speake, left, and his father Mac Speake with their medals after completing Sunday's London Mara

Bill Speake, left, and his father Mac Speake with their medals after completing Sunday's London Marathon. Mac is one of only 11 runners to have completed all 37 London Marathons, while Bill ran a swift 2:50.37 on Sunday. - Credit: Archant

Runners from all over Suffolk and Essex converged on the capital to take part in the London Marathon on Sunday, young and old, male and female, elite and novice, club runner and charity raiser.

Mac Speake, of Bildeston Bounders, extended his proud record of completing every London Marathon as one of the ever-dwindling number of “Ever Presents.”

Speake, a former doctor from Kettlebaston, is one of 11 runners to have finished all 37 events, spanning all the back to the inaugural race in 1981. The 75-year-old stopped the clock at a very respectable 5hrs 37mins for the 26.2-mile course from Greenwich to The Mall.

His oldest son, Bill Speake, a 2:26 marathon runner in his heyday, featured highly in his over-45 age group in 2:50.37.

Ipswich JAFFA had a number of well-placed runners across the age categories, not least Maureen Wright finishing sixth over-70 lady in 4:34.24, and club-mate Tim Newton, who was an impressive seventh fastest in the male over-65 ranks with 3:20.35.


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Georgia Garvin was 148th lady in 3:08.31, and there were sub-three-hour efforts from top club runners Will Law (2:40.30), Craig Fiddaman (2:43.14), Adam Wade (2:57.30) and Steve Fraser-Lim (2:57.33).

Elsewhere, leading Suffolk runner Victoria Kenny, of Hadleigh Hares, had a fine run to finish 40th lady, and 35th in her age group, thanks to a time of 2:55.37.

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Danny Rock led the way for Felixstowe Road Runners, as 14 of their red vests crossed the finish-line on the Mall. Rock ran a sparkling 2:39.21 to finish 293rd overall, a terrific achievement.

Likewise, his Felixstowe club-mate Jason Taylor timed it just right to beat three hours by a mere 27 seconds in 2:59.33.

Ultra distance running machine Allen Smalls, of Colchester Harriers, produced another of his eye-catching performances to finish a superb 18th in his over-45 age category.

Smalls stopped the clock at 2:38.17, which brought him home in 249th position, a fine display seeing as though he is at the top end of his age bracket at 49.

There were personal best performances from the Harriers double act of Ged Mcmillan (2:43.49) and Mark Harrod (2:53.11), while among the Essex club’s strong female contingent, Laura Shewbridge enjoyed a huge PB of 3:08.50. Marie Shirley continues to pepper that three-hour barrier with a solid 3:06.24.

Jim Last, another veteran, was bang in form on Sunday. The consistent Last, of Framlingham Flyers, celebrated a time of 2:42.22 which earned him 68th spot amongst the over-40 section. He also ducked into the top 400 male runners, in 399th spot.

Furthermore, Last’s effort was also a new Framlingham Flyers club record for the marathon.

Quantity rather than quality has always been the key for Halstead Road Runners’ stalwart Andy Wilmot, but the over-70 marathon machine delivered both in the capital. Wilmot duly completed his 711th marathon in a very respectable time of 4:20.35, which saw him in 37th in the over-70 age group.

Six members of Tiptree Road Runners enjoyed the good running conditions, with Lorraine Baker leading the club home. Baker took 14 minutes off her personal best (PB) to record 4:19:21.

Lee Kerrison, despite only getting a place at the last minute, ran 4:20:20 with club chairman Anthony Knight coming home in 4:33:50 and Tina Clarke an even-paced 4:38:34.

Charlotte Steele ran 4:40:24 on her marathon debut, with fellow debutant Ann-Marie Bearne crossing the line in 5:44:57.

A dozen Newmarket Joggers also mastered the 26.2 miles to ensure that all their long, hard training paid off in the Spring sunshine.

Denys Olefir, hot on the heels of some of the elite runners, recorded a cracking time of 2:34.27, while Alex Cairns celebrated a PB of over six minutes in 3:03.45.

Chris Gay (3:09.37) and Martyn Taylor (3:24.48) were also well up the field, while Nicky Chapman was the first female Newmarket Jogger home in 3:28.08, so achieving her sub 3-30 target.

Matthew Hunt, of Woodbridge Shufflers, was among the top 100 male over-40 veterans. He was 98th in his age group with 2:44.37.

A couple of over-65 veterans were to the fore for Saint Edmund Pacers. Phil Hymers was 38th in this age group (3:47.27) and marathon stalwart Roger Brand 86th in 4:16.19.

Springfield Striders had top-50 men in Paul Molyneux (26th in 2:25.39) and Mark Newton (43rd in 2:29.08).

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