ATHLETICS: Grantham club runners take on Robin Hood races

Grantham Running Club members taking part in the Robin Hood Half and Full Marathon in Nottingham.
Photo: Stuart Cresswell
Grantham Running Club members taking part in the Robin Hood Half and Full Marathon in Nottingham. Photo: Stuart Cresswell
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Grantham Running Club’s band of merry men and women conquered the Robin Hood Marathon and Half Marathon in Nottingham on Sunday.

Retaining its title as host of the British Athletics Half Marathon Championships, the 13.1-mile race saw more than 6,100 finishers on a beautiful early autumn morning, which brought out great crowd support along the twisting, undulating course, beginning and ending on Victoria Embankment, and taking in such sights as the castle and Wollaton Hall.

First home for GRC was Matthew Kingston-Lee who clocked a season’s best 1hr 16min 43sec. This earned him an impressive 12th position overall and he was the second V40 finisher. Matthew was generally pleased with the way the race unfolded, but was a bit frustrated that a cold caught midweek had left him feeling a little sub-par.

Next home was Julie Braker who was making her race debut in a GRC vest. Julie ran superbly to clock 1:51:05, which saw her finish second in the V65 age category, albeit with a faster chip time than the age category winner, as positions are determined by gun position. Her performance earned an age grade of 87.71 per cent, which is an outright club record over any race distance, excluding parkruns. Husband Robert, also making his debut for the club, broke two hours with a fine 1:57:41.

Adrian Walker was competing in his second ever half marathon with wife CJ, who was making her debut over the distance. They were raising funds for the Hopewood specialist unit in Nottingham, in memory of their son Nathan.

Adrian finished in a highly creditable 1:51:44, and CJ completed the race in 3:14:14. CJ joked afterwards that she hadn’t been in such pain since giving birth, but thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere, especially being hosed down by the supporting firemen when the temperatures warmed up!

Stuart Baty was the first of eight GRC runners making their half marathon debut at Nottingham, many of whom had committed to run the race before they actually became members of the club. He ran excellently to finish in 1:54:21.

All with equally commendable efforts, Gav Skinner followed in 2:09:22 ahead of Lucinda Gamble who finished her first road half marathon in 2:22:10. Hayley Staff followed soon behind in 2:22:56; Julia Hallam came home in 2:33:38; Claire Fritz ran 2:39:15; and Chloe Amos finished in 2:51:28.

Taking part in the full marathon on a course renowned for its toughness, Neil Emerson ran a fine race to finish in 4:28:03, claiming a praiseworthy 13th in the M55 age category.