Grantham Running Club was well represented at the weekend’s Greater Manchester Marathon, despite three athletes having to withdraw due to injuries sustained in the gruelling training block leading up to it.
On a revised course designed to cope with the 15,000 field and with the weather perfect, first home for the club was a fit again Dean Riggall in a personal best of 3hr 9min 22sec, knocking almost five minutes off previous time.
Next in for GRC was the experienced Catherine Payne whose metronomic pacing saw her overtaken by 505 runners on the way to the halfway mark but then went on to pass more than that number as she secured not only a PB of 3.19.25 but the club’s first ever 80 per cent marathon age grading and a UKA ranking of fifth.
Despite a poor position on the starting grid, Holly Durham was able to force her way through the field with powerful final sector that saw her cruise past over 450 runners on the way to her first PB since the birth of her second child in a time of 3.20.07.
Capitalising on lessons learned last year, Nick Rossington managed to clip almost six minutes off his previous mark to finish in 3.21.12, finishing strongly, overtaking many in the run-in. Making his debut at the distancef Rob Howbrook had to dig deep as this race was twice as long as any he had ever ran before and despite the challenge of the final six miles, he was still able to come home in 3.21.42.
Next home was Robert McArdle, also securing a PB in a time of 3.22.38, followed by first timer Andrew Macallister in 3.54.26. Another debutante, Yvonne Buckley was delighted to finish well inside her target time with 5.03.28, setting a challenge for her husband Brendon who is also making his marathon debut in two weeks’ time in London.
Marc Tremain was going well until 14 miles when a thigh problem caused him to stop running; unable to give up, he decided to hobble for 12 miles and crossed the line in 5.43.46. Injuries to her toes meant Wendy Tremain had little chance of matching last year’s fantastic time on this route, but also unable to allow herself to pull out, Wendy finished in pain in a time 5.57.26
l A selection of Grantham Running Club members who weren’t taking part in marathons on Sunday were at the Belvoir Half Marathon at Hose.
The annual race starts and finishes at the village hall in the Vale of Belvoir and is often used as a preparation event for late-April marathon runners. The moderately hilly course is very exposed and is often affected by wind, even on a relatively calm day.
Tom Fowler was the first green vest home with a strong time of 1.30.17 in what was his sixth outing at this event. He was closely followed by Gavin Meadows in 1.30.36 and a PB run from Paul Davis with 1.35.47.
Gavin said: “This course was tougher than I remember from last year, although not quite as windy this time around. It was good to see a few from GRC running as I expected to be the only one from the club involved with everyone’s marathon commitments elsewhere. There were some top performances too.”
Other GRC results. Tom Fowler 1.30.17 (58th), Gav Meadows 1.31.36 (71st), Paul Davis 1.35.47 (111th), Nick Payne 1.39.29 (146th), Andrew Spencer 1.39.58 (149th), Ruth Dunstan 1.49.31 (255th).