The big London Marathon preview – run-down of Suffolk club runners
- Credit: Archant
Suffolk’s Mac Speake will be one of only 11 runners toeing the line at Greenwich and Blackheath today who have completed all previous 36 London Marathons. See here for all the latest travel news and build-up for the mass race.
Speake, of Kettlebaston, was the seventh fastest among the dozen “Ever Presents” who finished last year’s event to continue that amazing perfect record.
And the 75-year-old former doctor shows no signs of giving up, although naturally he is slowing down a little. He clocked 5hrs 18mins 04secs last year.
Steve Wherle, who was the paper manager at the BBC for many years, is the “Ever Present” runner to have dropped out from last year’s remaining dozen.
Mac’s oldest son, Bill Speake, who has a cracking PB of 2:26.48, from 15 years ago, is also scheduled to run tomorrow.
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He was 111th in his over-45 age group with 2:53.47 in 2016.
Elsewhere, 20 members of Ipswich JAFFA will be treading the streets of the Capital, including several sub-three-hour runners.
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Will Law (personal best of 2:36.58), Danny Rock (2:44.38), Ryan Ostler (2:46.50), Craig Fiddaman (2:47.07), Scott MacSephney (2:55.03) and Alistair Dick (2:58.48, now an over-50 veteran) have all shattered the magic three-hour barrier in the past, and gone quicker still.
By contrast, young Emma Mortimer will be making her marathon debut, while Lisa Bond and Mark Briggs both ran the Brighton Marathon only a fortnight ago.
Over-70 veteran Maureen Wright, who was second in her age category at last year’s New York Marathon (in 4:33.37), will also be running London.
Ipswich Harriers will be well represented in the London Mini-Marathon, which takes place over a three-mile course from Old Billingsgate for junior athletes.
The following have been selected to represent the East of England: Tilly Aldis (under-13 girls), Holly Fisher (u-15 girls), George Wharam (u-13 boys), Charlie Turner (u-13 boys), Nathan Goddard (u-15 boys) and Thomas Adams (u-17 men).
A big squad of 13 runners will be donning Felixstowe Road Runners vests this weekend, to tackle the 26.2-mile test, including the experienced Roger Stone, who has totalled 14 marathons and has a PB of 2:55.52, Darren Cook (26 marathons) and Dave Solomon (2:54 PB), who will be attempting his eighth marathon despite breaking his ankle only 11 weeks ago.
Both 50-year-old Kev Whelan (3:29.08) and 56-year-old Jo Whelan (4:45.25) ran the Manchester Marathon only three weeks ago, and Steve King (recovering from cancer) completed the Paris Marathon a mere fortnight ago.
Stowmarket Striders have a dozen runners bound for London, including first-timers Gemma Porch, Emily Vigor and Charlotte Hawes.
By contrast, 67-year-old Frank Moggan will be tackling his 27th marathon, and the Stowmarket-based duo of Phil Green and Tucker Larke have both reached double figures for marathons completed.
Looking further afield, a total of 41 Stowmarket Striders are targeting a marathon this year, in various destinations other than London. These include Edinburgh and Boston, as well as the recent Paris and Brighton Marathons.
The quartet of Will Aldred, Michelle Hewitt, Darren Sands and Barry Wilton will all be running their first marathons in the colours of Framlingham Flyers, while in-form club-mate Adam Howlett, who has a PB of 2:50.13, should go well again in what will be his 27th marathon.
Fellow Framlingham Flyer Jim Last, aged 40, is another experienced 26.2-miler with a fine personal best of 2:46.51.
Newmarket Joggers will also be well represented, spearheaded by Robin Clifford, who is aiming for a sub-2:50 time in his 12th marathon, and by Chris Gay, of Burwell, who has a PB of 2:55.52 and is also hoping to beat 2:50.
Alex Cairns, with over 500 miles of training under his belt, is targeting a sub three-hour marathon in his fourth outing. The over-45 veteran has a PB of 3:09.
Nicky Champion will be lining up for her ninth marathon, and her third London, after which she will be focusing on next month’s Edinburgh event. Newmarket Joggers’ club-mate Gillie Greene, an over-55 veteran, is a marathon debutante, as is 52-year-old Sally Nicholson.
On of the Joggers’ oldest entrants is 64-year-old Carol McIntosh, who can number New York and Rome amongst her former marathons.
Tom Kingsnorth is set to lead the charge of Saint Edmund Pacers. If all goes well, he could eclipse his 2:52.09 PB from 2011.