Sunday, 28 April 2019

Virgin Money London Marathon

Nineteen members of Grantham Running Club joined the 40,000 other runners taking part in the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon, which took place on Sunday 28th April. After a scorching 2018 edition, the overcast and relatively cool conditions were favourable for marathon running; the light to moderate breeze not too much of an issue on the London streets well protected by buildings, runners and the near overwhelming volume of spectators lining the near entirety of the 26.2 mile course. 

Sub 3 for Tony

First of the fourteen first claim GRC finishers to cross the line was V50 runner Tony Johnson. In recent weeks Tony had raced himself into top form for London and he ran a superbly judged race to clock 2:59:42, breaking the magical three hour barrier for the first time since 2014. Andrew Pask, who was representing the RAF and had the privilege of starting from the Championship Start, harboured similar ambitions time wise but began to struggle shortly before halfway after a strong start. He suffered the ignominy of hitting the proverbial wall not long after 21 miles, finishing somewhat despondently in 3:12:44, but has already signed himself up for an autumn marathon
where ‘Project Sub3’ will be the target again.
There was frustration of a different sort for Catherine Payne who was very pleased with her performance given her lengthy layoff in 2018 with injury, but suffered a timing chip failure which means her efforts were not immediately recognised but were confirmed at 3:19:57 one week later. Her age grade of 83.68% is exceptional, particularly for the marathon which usually yields lower scores than races over a shorter distance.

Pasky Running for the RAF
There was nothing but joy for Sam Clark who simply loved the entire London Marathon experience, clocking a respectable 3:30:47, which was just a couple of minutes outside his best set at Manchester in 2018. He was followed by seasoned campaigner Rob McArdle (3:41:21) who has run numerous marathons all over Britain and Europe in recent years but had not run London since 2013. Liam Vincent came home next in 3:46:36, an impressive 22 minutes quicker than his previous best marathon time set at Brighton in 2017. Caroline Davis, who had smashed her PB at the Manchester Marathon three weeks prior, again run excellently to clock her second fastest ever marathon with 3:48:23.

"The right and proper way to do a London Marathon"
Gordon Geach, running at London for the first time since 2014, was pleased to achieve his target of breaking four hours, which he did with 24 seconds to spare (3:59:36). With nothing showing on his Power of 10 profile other than some parkrun efforts, Cameron Hoggan ran well in his first marathon to clock 4:01:21. Sarah High, who finished in 4:11:23, had a very fine run that saw her exceed 70% on age grade. She finished just ahead of Hannah San Jose who had an injury plagued build up to her debut marathon but was delighted to finish in 4:12:40. 

Having both run the Manchester Marathon earlier in the month Julie Gilbert (5:12:14) and Ros Sadler (5:12:15) ran London together raising funds for CLIC Sargent. This was a repeat of the feat Julie managed in 2018. Ros made her first appearance at London having run Manchester in 2018. They were closely followed by Kathleen Gray, who made her marathon debut raising funds for the RNIB. As someone who three years ago ‘couldn’t run to my local Post Office,’ Kathleen ranked the experience as one of the best days of her life. The final first claim GRC runner to finish was Julie Riggall, who returned to the capital a year on from making her marathon debut. She was disappointed with her time of 5:48:38 but had been hampered with injury issues in the build up to the race.
Four second claim members of Grantham Running Club also took part in the London Marathon. Jonny Palmer of Bourne Town Harriers had a sensational race to clock 2:37:43, bettering his old PB by over seven minutes and clocking the fastest marathon time by a member of GRC. Mark Wilson of Belvoir Tri Club ran well to clock 3:19:10, less than ten minutes outside his PB set in 2016. Fellow triathlete Sophie Davies was in the ‘decidedly disappointed’ camp coming home in 3:41:58 having set her eyes on breaking 3:30. 

Finally, a special mention to Paul Davidson of Grantham Athletics Club, who first ran the London Marathon in 1986, clocked his PB at the 1987 race (2:42:52) and last ran there in 1994. In recent years Paul has been a guide runner to several visually impaired athletes at many races and in 2019 Paul returned to London to guide his friend Netty Stevens around London in a time of 5:17:53. For the first time his and other guide’s efforts were recognised with an official finishing time and medal at the London Marathon.
As well as those taking part, several members of the club went down to spectate at various points along the route. Considered by some as nearly as arduous and stressful as taking part itself, their support was much appreciated by all.

The race was won by Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya in 2:02:37 with Brigid Kosgei, also of Kenya, the winning woman in 2:18:20.

Leicester’s Big 10K

Three members of Grantham Running Club took part in Leicester’s Big 10K on Sunday 28th April. Over 1000 runners finished the race which took place in Abbey Park.
First to finish for GRC and with a big PB was Henrietta McCabe, who finished in 55:53, bettering her previous 10K effort by over ten minutes. Paula Ebbins and Tracey Gell ran together, both clocking 1:03:43. This earned both new 10K personal bests.
The race was won by Scott Meadows of Bushfield Joggers in 35:14 with GB International runner Gemma Steele of Charnwood AC the winner of the women’s race in 35:24.             

Dragon’s Lair 10K, National Forest

While most runners’ eyes on Sunday 28th April were focused on the bright lights of the city and the epic struggle of the London Marathon, seven members of Grantham Running Club took on a different challenge and entered the Dragon’s Lair 10k.
Organised by JackRabbit Events, this is a new event taking place near Swadlincote, Derbyshire, in the heart of the National Forest. Combining open grassland with woodland trails, the two-lap course was described as “continually undulating” by the organisers and promised excellent views across the local countryside.
St George’s Day inspired the naming of the event and some runners entered in the spirit dressed in dragon suits and other fancy dress. One club, who were attired in stereotypical French shirts with garlic strings, confused many and may have missed the memo.
CJ enjoyed a downhill
With each 5k lap featuring over 90m of ascent the race certainly lived up to the billing of constantly undulating. Strava segments created for the race added to the theme with names such as ‘Cardiac Hill’ coming within the opening 250m and rising 30 meters before the end of the first km. ‘Beowulf’ was another stiff climb, while ‘Excalibur’ and ‘Smaug’ offered temporary gentle downhill relief.  Hard, uneven ground, damp grass and muddy sections added to the overall difficulty of the course, described by many runners as ‘brutal’ and led some runners to determine, even during the race, that they were never to return to face the beast.
Stuart Baty was first male home for GRC in a time of 00:55:31, despite suffering an ankle injury in the opening 500m.
Tracy Webb was first GRC female in 01:05:44, certainly the most enthusiastic among the club for the event, and promptly announced her plan to return next year.
Simon finished in 1:15:.3
Given the difficulty, severe hilliness, and off-road nature, this is likely to polarise runners, and might be better marketed after a leading brand of yeast extract spread; it is likely to become either a must-do or never-again on everyone’s calendar.
JackRabbit Events are renowned for their organisation, marshalling support, excellent medals, t-shirts and goodie bags.  The winners’ trophies were bespoke carved and etched, locally sourced tree logs.
The Dragon was tamed by James Farmer of South Derbyshire Road Runners in a time of just 00:39:00, and his club team-mate, Louise Insley took the women’s race in 00:45:30 and twelfth overall. There were 344 finishers.
Full GRC results:
Stuart Baty                          00:55:31
Tracy Webb                        01:05:44
Simon Hartley                    01:15:03
Amanda Mumby              01:21:06
Claire Fritz                           01:21:07
CJ Walker                            01:25:48
Claire Knowland               01:26:42

The Longhorn 2019

Another marathon for Nick

Thoresby Hall and the surrounding parkland was the venue for the 2019 Longhorn, a multi-terrain event incorporating a plethora of distances for runners, Canicross competitors and Nordic Walkers on Sunday 28th April. Grantham Running Club had representation in all of the events that didn’t require a dog harness or walking poles. Utilising old military roads, tracks through ancient woodland and grassed paths around the country estate, the mildly undulating courses are certainly scenic and the 2019 edition benefitted from good conditions for racing.
For Grantham Running Club Julia Hallam finished the 5K race 35th in the women’s race with a time of 0:33:03. In the 10K AM race (there was a second 10K race in the afternoon!) put on a fine showing to finish fourth in 30:45, just over a minute behind the winner and only 17 seconds behind the runner-up. He was followed by Tommy Napier, fourth in his age category with 00:53:28; Rick Dobbs, 122nd overall in 00:55:56; and Vicky Platts, 171st female finisher in 01:07:34.
In the Half Marathon Neil Emerson finished 102nd overall and ninth in his age category, clocking 2:08:41. Nick Payne was eighteenth overall and seventh in his age category in the Marathon, coming in just under four hours in 3:59:26.
Last, but by no means least, in the Ultra 60KM race Andrew MacAllister ran excellently to finish 26th overall and winner of the V60-64 age category, finishing in 7:29:29.   

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Belvoir Half Marathon and 7K Road Race

Peter, Tony, Sarah, Sam, Andy and Jack

Six members of Grantham Running Club made the short journey to Hose in the Vale of Belvoir on Sunday 14th April for the Belvoir Half Marathon and 7K Road Race. Despite its reputation as a haven of hills in otherwise fairly flat lands, the half marathon course takes competitors on just a mildly undulating route through Harby, Langar, Colston Bassett and Long Clawson before returning to Hose for the finish. Arrangements for the race were a little different from normal due to a fire at the Village Hall, but the marquee used for registration and the pop-up refreshments stand appeared to work well. Conditions were cool for April, but conducive to quick times thanks to being largely sheltered from the brisk easterly breeze that afflicted the races at Boston on the same day.

The winner of the women’s race was Grantham Running Club’s very own Sarah Chynoweth who put in a superb performance in her first serious attempt at a half marathon to come home 39 seconds ahead of second placed Kristie Matthiae of Barrow Runners in 1:28:24. This is the second fastest ever time by a female member of GRC – only club record holder Abi Schofield, who ran 1:25:21 at Peterborough in 2014 has run quicker and Sarah joins an exclusive club of GRC women who have broken ninety minutes for the half - Anna O’Hare, who ran 1:29:54 at Sleaford in 2015 is currently the club’s only other member. 

Finishing ahead of Sarah for GRC was Tony Johnson who used the Belvoir Half Marathon as his final race before the London Marathon and ran an excellent 1:24:16, less than a minute outside his PB set back in 2010. Peter Bonner ran well in his opening half marathon of 2019 to break 90 minutes, finishing in 1:29:45. Andy Atter put in a good showing to clock 1:33:11, just under a minute ahead of the fast improving Sam Jepson-Rivers (1:34:10) who bettered his half marathon debut time set at Retford in March by over four minutes.

Taking part in the supporting 7K race, which was a rebadged Fun Run that has taken place in previous years, Jack Dodwell showed few ill effects from the previous week’s Manchester Marathon being spurred on by the potential of a podium finish, ultimately placing fourth in 29:47.
The winner of the half marathon was Michael Coltherd of Barrow Runners in 1:13:27. In memory of Terry Graveney, who initiated the Belvoir Half Marathon in 1982 and who died earlier this year, Sylvia Graveney presented a cup to second placed Chris Southam (1:17:00) who was  the first runner home from the local parish of Harby Hose & Long Clawson. There were 295 finishers for the Half Marathon. 

The Belvoir 7K Road Race was won by Martin James in a time of 27:11, with Abbie Hunt first female finisher in 34:24. There were 34 finishers.