Seven members of Grantham Running Club joined the 39,000-plus other runners taking part in the 2016 Virgin London Marathon on Sunday.
Fears of snows showers and arctic temperatures for the world famous 26.2-mile long race proved unfounded, as runners enjoyed cool, but near perfect conditions for long distance running.
Matthew Kingston-Lee was for the first time in the prestigious Championships start, just behind the Elite runners on Blackheath. He looked on target to break 2hr 40min in the opening half of the race before hitting the dreaded wall at 20 miles. He was passed in the final stages of the race by fellow GRC runner Chris Limmer, who showed no ill effects from the gruelling South Downs Way 50-mile Ultramarathon, coming home very pleased and just outside his PB in 2.53.14. Matthew trailed home a minute later in 2.54.50, disappointed to not be close to his best, but happy to break three hours for the ninth time at his 11th London Marathon.
Dean Riggall, who won a club ballot place for the London Marathon, came home in a superb 3.09.40, which was incredibly his second 3.09 marathon in as many weeks, having finished the Manchester Marathon in a near identical time.
“I really enjoyed it. I’m very grateful to the club for the opportunity to take part in one of the world’s greatest races. I was glad to see other club members in the start area and then seeing the GRC support team with their flags at 11 miles gave me a real lift. The last four miles were tough, but with the immense spectator support I managed a strong finish. London is something special,” commented Dean after the race.
Paul Rushworth was next home for Grantham Running Club, finishing in a highly creditable 3.17.41 in his 10th London Marathon appearance. Scott Jones represented his second claim club (Grantham Athletics Club) in his London Marathon debut, but was thankful for the GRC marathon specific training sessions over the winter months which earned him a much deserved new PB of 3.22.14
Arguably the performance of the day came from Helen Brown who, after the birth of her second child, only began running again shortly before Christmas, and was sidelined for weeks before the race with a serious foot injury, relying on cross training to maintain fitness. Her 3.55.30 was a courageous, inspiring performance.
“Couch to marathon in 16 weeks is possible but I wouldn’t recommend it!” joked Helen afterwards.
At 66 years young, Brendon Buckley made good use of a club entry to complete his first ever marathon. Raising money for St Barnabas and Macmillan Cancer Support, Brendon’s time of 5.10.00 produced a surge in donations to push his fundraising total to beyond his £1,000 target. Far from stating never again, Brendon is already looking forward to his next marathon.
l GRC’s Gav Meadows made the trip to Stratford-upon-Avon on Sunday to compete in the Shakespeare Marathon.
The annual charity race takes in the historic town and the surrounding countryside and whilst mostly flat, does have a couple of testing hills and some trail sections for runners to contend with. Gav completed the course five minutes outside his PB in a very respectable 3.12.19, finishing 37th in a field of 700.
This was Gav’s third marathon in as many months as he embarks on the challenge of running a marathon in each calendar month for 12 months.
He said: “If I make it as far as month 10, I plan to start raising money for Sport Relief. I don’t want to get ahead of myself though – I must take this challenge one race at a time.”