On an unseasonably warm and sunny morning, fourteen ESM members lined up for the start of the 2017 Brighton marathon (writes Fiona Kennedy). We’re not sure if this is a record turnout for the club in a single marathon, but it’s certainly the largest number for several decades, and half of them were debutants at the distance.
First across the line for the club was Andy Price, whose run set the pattern for others further back: a good start in line with his current form, which then became a battle for survival as the sun rose higher in the sky. Andy’s time was 45 minutes quicker than his previous marathon in London in 2012, which is testimony to the dedication and improvement he has shown since joining the club.
Steve Curd ran Brighton two years ago, and was only four minutes outside the time he ran then. Clive Richardson was third ESM man to finish, and nipped under the four hour mark in his first marathon, as so many club runners hope to do. Sean Hill, another debutant, was only four minutes behind. Perhaps Jav Sondh was not taking things quite as seriously as he did when setting his 3:39 PB in Dublin in 2015, but he seemed to be soaking up the atmosphere well when spotted around the course. Steve Cliff completed his first marathon, and we learn he is about to tackle the London Marathon too; good luck, Steve, you clearly don’t like to do things by halves!
Sarah Gerrie led the women home, (and was actually the club’s third finisher), completing the course despite not coping well with the conditions. Like many others, she was on form to run much quicker than the debut time of 3:48 she ran in London in 2014, but it was not to be. Olivia Howes Smith was another to get inside the four hour mark on her debut, so congratulations to her. Kate Fraser and Cath Gunnewicht were third and fourth women for the club; both were running their first marathon, but Kate seemed to manage the conditions slightly better than Cath. Aneta Neumann ran her PB in Frankfurt in 2016, but Annette Galloway was another beginner at this distance. Well done to everyone; those of us lining the route to support know you all went through tough moments.
Despite all the months of preparation, it’s all too easy for the body to fall apart on the day, so commiserations to the two who did not make it to the finish. Experienced marathon runner Steve Barrington broke his run of completing a marathon every year for seven consecutive years, while Andy Neary dropped out with groin strain. Hopefully the training along the way will have delivered PBs at other races.
Congratulations also to Bob Densley’s son-in-law Paul Gibson – more often seen throwing or jumping for ESM at an athletics track – who ran 3:23:06 in Paris the same day. This knocked an impressive 25 minutes off his previous effort in London in 2011.
ESM results summary
Men: Andy Price (V35) 3:26:37; Steve Curd (V35) 3:49:04; Clive Richardson (V40) 3:59:22; Sean Hill 4:04:48; Jav Sondh 4:17:43; Stephen Cliff (V40) 4:41:50
Women: Sarah Gerrie 3:54:09; Olivia Howes Smith (V35) 3:57:51; Kate Fraser (V35) 4:08:55; Catherine Gunnewicht (V45) 4:13:28; Aneta Neumann (V40) 4:25:52; Annette Galloway (V45) 4:34:53
Full results on runbritain