Sunday 24th April 2016.
Seven members of Grantham Running Club joined the 39,000 plus other runners taking part in the 2016 Virgin London Marathon. Fears of snows showers and arctic temperatures for the world famous 26.2 mile long race proved unfounded; runners enjoyed cool, but near perfect conditions for long distance running.Matthew Kingston-Lee, started for the first time in the prestigious Championships start just behind the Elite runners on Blackheath. He looked on target to break 2:40 in the opening half of the race before hitting the dreaded wall at twenty miles. He was passed in the final stages of the race by fellow GRC runner Chris Limmer, who showed no ill effects from his recent tackling of 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 eleventh 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 eleven milesgave 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 a highly creditable 3:17:41 in his tenth 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 3:22:14Arguably 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 £1000 target. Far from stating never again! Brendon is already looking forward to his next marathon.Photo: Paul Rushworth in good spirits at mile 11.