Suffolk veterans run for England at Chester Marathon
- Credit: Archant
Suffolk veteran athletes relished the chance to run for their country at last weekend’s Chester Marathon.
A trio of Suffolk females ran for the England Masters team at the British Masters Marathon Championships, which were incorporated within the Chester Marathon, with Jo Stephenson, Val Jennings and Anita Bond all in action.
Likewise, Suffolk were well represented among the men, with the likes of Adam Howlett, Ian Coxall and John Scaife all recording swift times for the traditional 26.2-mile distance.
Proudly wearing their England vests, Stephenson and Jennings ran in the over-50 category, while Bond competed in the over-55 class.
A member of Stowmarket Striders, Stephenson clocked 3hrs 34mins 31secs to finish 111th female, and an outstanding fifth over-50. She recorded 10K splits of 49:35. 49:35, 50:59 and 52:41.
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The experienced Jennings, a stalwart of Ipswich JAFFA, registered 3:39:57 to finish 135th female, and 13th in the over-50s.
And Bond, who runs for Eastern Masters and lives in Ipswich, was 17th over-55 veteran in a personal best time of 4:32:11.
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Sarah Fitch, of Felixstowe Road Runners, was another Suffolk-based female veteran to impress at Chester. Fitch ran 3:37:08 to be 26th in the over-40 section.
Anita Bond explained: “We had been selected to run for England Masters, because we all finished in the top five in our age groups at the Brighton Marathon from earlier in the year.
“We all loved the experience of running for England, against teams from the Home Countries. The race started and finished on Chester race-course, and the course also went into Wales for a few miles en route.
“This was my fourth marathon in total, having started running 10 years ago. I had run the Athens and Barcelona Marathons a few years ago, and I ran Brighton this year to run with my daughter Rachel Robbie,” added Bond.
Meanwhile, an in-form Howlett, a member of Framlingham Flyers, clocked an impressive 2:45:19, finishing 55th overall and 12th in his over-45 age group.
Howlett ran consistently throughout, recording 10K splits of 38:22, 38:30, 39:05 and 40:15.
Coxall, from Woodbridge Shufflers, was 155th overall and 22nd in his over-45 section in 2:56:59, while Hadleigh Hares’ John Scaife stopped the clock at 3:08:27 to finish 70th in his over-40 age category.