The fine weather and sunshine which broke out for the London Marathon on Sunday 22 April saw 11 BAC athletes competing, with some fine results, and a number of PBs. Spare a thought, though, for the three who were unable to run as a result of injury, namely Simon Way, Graeme Miller and Jacek Cieluszecki, who was particularly unfortunate in being bitten on his foot by an insect days before the race, and, even on the morning of the marathon, was hoping the swelling would recede sufficiently for him to go ahead, but, sadly, it wasn't to be.
Steve Way is now a nationally known marathon runner, not least because of his remarkable progression from 16 stone plodder to the athlete he is today, and visitors to the Marathon Exhibition were treated to a massive, much larger-than-life photo of Steve at the Garmin stand (where he is also displaying the vest of sponsor Xempo), and, in the marathon itself, Steve fully justified his fame by running yet another PB, finishing 25th overall, in 2.19.04. Steve has been the architect of BAC's winter training, from whom so many, not just BAC members, have benefitted, and we are truly fortunate in having such a talented and affable athlete in our midst.
Also achieving a PB on Sunday was the second BAC runner home, namely Ian Habgood. Ian was 46th finisher and ran 2.27.57, a PB by almost a minute. Ian lives some distance from Bournemouth, and does much of his training on his own, with the benefit of a coach, so he is to be congratulated on his excellent runs and continued progression.
By dint of the rules, Club Captain Simon Munro counted as the third BAC team member, although he was the fourth finisher of the squad (Peter Thompson, of whom more below, hadn't qualified for a Championship start). This was Simon's first marathon, and his training had been interrupted at a crucial time by an annoying knee injury, which prevented him from running at all for a while. Simon's target was 2.42/43, and at half way he was spot-on. However, things began to tell in the latter stages, and Simon's finishing time was 2.54.28, in all the circumstances, and for a first time, a great run. If he wishes it, Simon has many more years ahead of marathon running and will have numerous opportunities to see this time tumble. Simon will be marrying his fiancÚ, Sam Lednor, on the Saturday after the marathon (was the date fixed with an eye to the marathon?!), and we wish them both well for the day, and the years ahead.
Peter Thompson is a recent, and very welcome, recruit to BAC, but, unfortunately, had a previous marathon just outside the time required to qualify for the Championship start. Only 'Championship' starters qualify for inclusion in teams. Peter ran a superb 2.44.31 (so he's qualified for a Championship start next year!), a PB by about five minutes. Had Peter counted, with Steve and Ian, he have been a Bronze medallist.
Paul Chapman, next BAC home, also had a run of which he can be pleased, having not only broken three hours, but also having achieved a PB. Paul's time of 2.57.34 was a PB by some two minutes.
Next was Andy Jennings, in 3.01.54. Anyone wanting to know how to run a marathon should look at Andy's splits. Every 5k split was run at between 4.17 and 4.23 minutes per kilometre (the last two kilometres at 4.13!) and Andy's half-way time was 1.31.29. How consistent is that?!
The determination of Steph Slade, our only lady competitor, to achieve her sub 3 hour target was evident at half-way, reached in 1.29.58, but, as happens to so many in this gruelling event, the time began to slip in the second half. Nevertheless, Steph's time of 3.08.42 was a PB by some 17 seconds, and she is to be congratulated on finishing 116th lady overall, leaving, quite literally, thousands of ladies (and men!) in her wake.
Duncan Wells also was aiming at sub 3 hours, and Duncan, too, was on course at half-way, run in 1.28.14. Duncan, also, couldn't quite hang on to the pace, but his finishing time of 3.12.16, in what is believed to have been his first marathon, is an achievement of which many, many would be proud. Duncan felt a bit disappointed after the finish, but really is entitled to be satisfied, and there's always next year!
Two very substantial PBs followed. Paul Consani's 3.17.44 was a PB by some 17 minutes, and Laurence Plant's 3.29.01 by some 15 minutes! Such is the value of BAC training! Paul also felt after the race that he might have been able to do better, but how can you argue with a 17 minute PB? With progression like this the next one will be sub 3! Laurence described his marathon as "an excruciating morning", with the pace all wrong, and cramp intervening, but nevertheless "a mix of happy emotions and being distraught" at a substantial PB, but not in the manner hoped for. How many feel like this after a marathon?!
One more BAC athlete completed the squad. Normally seen in the field throwing the discus and shotput, with the build which gives him the talent for this, Simon Fricker crossed the finish line of the London Marathon in 4.35.55. It is believed this is the first time Simon has run a marathon, and he is to be congratulated on the determination and will-power on which he must have called on to complete an event which is so far removed from his normal athletic activities.
So, another year and another London Marathon. The atmosphere and the organisation were up to the now expected standard, and all the BAC athletes who took part can be proud of their contribution to this, and hopefully are looking back with well-deserved satisfaction at their efforts.
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