For his winter marathon offering, Matt Brown headed for warmer climes with Málaga being his chosen race location. His training had been going well for it and that became evident when he put in a strong performance to finish 3rd at the Round the Lakes 10k in September. He kept going strong that day whilst others were floundering to finish in 33:56.
It wasn’t his best ever 10k effort but it showed that he was back on track and building his fitness up after some time out over the Spring and early part of the summer through illness. A week after the Round the Lakes 10k he went to Wales to take on the Cardiff Half Marathon, completing the course in 1:15:28. It was a solid effort but again, not up there with his PB sort of level. He cranked the pace up well in the last 5k though, as he often tends to do, and looked strong.
The weekend before the Málaga Marathon, Matt finished first at Poole parkrun, equalling his best ever time of 16:03. The performance must have given him great confidence that he was now in superb shape and ready to deliver in southern Spain.
The Málaga Marathon route begins with quite a testing incline that goes on throughout the first two miles. It wasn’t until the third mile that Matt would be able to find his rhythm and start moving along at his intended pace. Reaching the 5k point in 19:49, Matt was in 170th position at that stage.
For the next 5k he was going at around 6:10 pace or just under and that saw him make it to 10k in 39:03. He’d now moved up to 140th place in the rankings. Over the next 10k he put in a couple of splits that were around 6:10, a couple that were slightly over and a couple that were a little faster at just over six minute mile page.
Getting to half way in 1:22:06, Matt was now in 121st place overall and was still working his way up the field. For the next four miles he was just over 6:10 before cranking it up a notch to 6:08 for his 18th mile. He then went through his 19th in 6:06 and his 20th mile in 6:04.
That saw him reach the 30k point in 1:56:32, putting him in 105th place overall. For a lot of marathon runners, the hard work would be yet to come and they would be facing a real battle over the last 10k. Not Matt though. That’s when he comes alive!
Putting in a 5:58 for his 21st mile, he then registered a 6:03 and a 6:04 for his next couple of miles. That left him with just over 5k left to go. He went through 38k in 2:26:38 which put him in 76th place. He was steadily working his way up the field.
Clocking a 5:57 for his 24th mile, he then followed it up with two 5:44 splits for miles 25 and 26. It really was an outstanding finish from Matt. Most marathon runners seem to slow down in the last 5k, either due to fatigue, or they start to experience problems. Not Matt though. He just gets faster and faster.
Reaching the finish in a mightily impressive time of 2 hours 41 minutes and 26 seconds, it was a tremendous PB for Matt, eclipsing his London Marathon time of 2021 by almost three minutes.
Gaining a further 14 places over the last 4k, Matt had climbed to the lofty heights of 60th position overall, which was fantastic in such a big race. There were 3,553 finishers in total. His average pace for the run was a highly impressive 6:07.
There was also Bournemouth AC involvement in the Málaga Half Marathon, with Ryan Pegoraro in action. He was coming back to fitness after spending quite a lot of the summer on the side-lines due to a sciatica issue.
A good run out at the Wimborne 10 three weeks prior saw Ryan seal a top ten place registering a time of 58:16. He’d also ran well in a couple of the Hampshire Cross Country League fixtures before that.
Even though the first two miles were uphill, Ryan still manged to get through them in 5:44 and 5:48 before cranking it up to a 5:22 on the third mile as he headed back down the hill. Going through the 5k point in 17:37, Ryan was in 61st place at that stage.
For the fourth mile he was still going slightly downhill, registering a 5:35 before putting in a 5:42 for his fifth mile and a 5:47 for his sixth mile. By the 10k marker, he’d moved up to 58th place, arriving in 35:25.
His next few mile splits were really even, at around 5:45 or just over before going through the 10th mile in 5:52. That left him with just 5k left to go. Unfortunately for Ryan though, it was 5k too far and he began to fall away.
There was a little incline on the 10th mile which may have impacted it but his pace dropped to 6:27. After that it became a real battle to keep the momentum going. A 6:46 for his 12th mile was followed up by a 6:21 for his 13th and not long after that he made it to the finish.
Clocking a time of 1:17:51, he’d come in in 79th place. That was still pretty good in a field of 3,939. It was some way off his best though, having recorded a 1:13 at Farnborough in January 2022. Considering where he’d come from though, having to build his fitness back from nothing since October, that was a great result for Ryan. If he can stay fit, he’ll no doubt continue to push on and work his way back to his best form and when he does, he’ll be one to watch for sure.
The 2023 Málaga Marathon was won by Charles Mneria of Kenya in 2:08:50, with Abdelilah El Maimouni of Martinique taking second in 2:09:47. Carl Avery of Morpeth Harriers flew round in 2:21:35 to finish as highest placed Brit and he was 9th.
Pamela Jepkosgei Rotish of Kenya was first female, crossing the line in 2:33:52. Lilia Fiskovici of Moldova was 2nd lady in 2:34:11.
The Medio Maratón was won by Spanish athlete Francisco Javier De León Rodriguez in 1:05:41. Pablo Salcedo Castol finished runner up in 1:06:08. Matthew Sunderland of Central AC was the first Brit over the line. He sealed 7th place in 1:09:20.
British woman Hattie Freeman of Candy Racing was first lady in the Half Marathon race by quite some margin. She registered a time of 1:13:40. That put her over two and a half minutes ahead of Angelica Karlsen of Norway who was second in 1:16:14.
Both Matt and Ryan are still quite new into their Bournemouth AC allegiance and there is a feeling in the camp that they can both go on to accomplish great things. It will certainly be exciting to follow their progress and see what they can produce in the coming year.