Three athletes from Grantham Running Club made the short trip to Rutland Water on Sunday to take part in the 2017 Rutland Marathon and Half Marathon.
Both races took place close to the water over undulating and mixed terrain courses including trails, paths and grass. The longer marathon course took in the scenic Hambleton Peninsula. The weather was mild, calm and dry with very little wind – ideal running conditions.
The duo of Matthew Williamson and Gav Meadows opted for the full 26.2-mile marathon distance with their main aim being to complete their final long run before they enter the final stages of their preparation for the Amsterdam Marathon in mid-October.
Gav said: “We didn’t go into this race looking to run particularly fast times. It was more about training than it was about racing. Even with a racing mentality, the tough course meant we had no chance of running personal bests.”
The pair set off together at a relaxed, steady pace of around 7min 45sec per mile before Matthew decided to adopt a slightly more aggressive approach and began to pull away around the five-mile mark. He crossed the finish line in 3:19:01, placing third overall to secure a surprising but well deserved podium finish.
He received an unusual horseshoe trophy – a traditional Rutland emblem. An incredible result and Matthew commented afterwards that it was his best performance in any race to date.
Gav’s pacing was a bit more up and down as he struggled on the tougher, hillier sections of the course. He averaged just under 8:15 per mile and finished in 3:35:01, placing eighth in the field of 137.
Gav said: “I could’ve felt fresher going into this race but I purposely didn’t taper beforehand as the objective at this stage is still training, volume and mileage. My result in the upcoming Amsterdam Marathon is far more important than this one.”
New recruit Matthew Atter opted for the 13.- mile half marathon course, taking on the distance for the first time in a race. Coming off the back of his impressive sub-40 minute performance in the East Coast Classic 10K the weekend before, he performed admirably.
After a slightly quick first few miles, Matthew settled into a pace of around seven minutes per mile. He maintained this until the finish line, posting a time of 1:30:23 to finish 14th in a field of 549.
There is no doubt that he is well capable of breaking the 90-minute barrier on a flatter and more forgiving course.