Spring Marathon round-up – April 2016

Fifteen ESM members completed marathons this Spring, all of them inside four hours. Half of them tackled the London Marathon on Sunday, where fortunately the snow predicted earlier in the week failed to materialise. Apart from a chilly wind, conditions were good for distance racing, as evidenced by the scintillating time of 2:03:05 clocked by winner Eliud Kipchoge.
The first to finish for the club was Simon Shaw, making his debut over the distance. Despite slowing slightly in the later stages, he finished in an impressive 2:41. Simon claims to prefer hilly courses, so expect to see him tackle the Bath Hilly Half next year. Next home was recent recruit Steve Plummer, whose thirteenth marathon was a lucky one. He achieved a timely PB, having recently learned that last year’s Manchester marathon PB was invalid due to the course being short. Lynn Wilson ran her second marathon 30 years after the first; back in 1986 she clocked 3:23 and this year she was less than 20 minutes slower, running at an admirably consistent pace throughout.

The remaining four were across the line within three minutes of each other. Triathlete Christine Meek has now run six marathons, two of them at the end of an Ironman race. She claims it feels easier running 26.2 miles after first swimming 2.4 miles and then cycling 112 miles. (I’m not convinced!) Jav Sondh was home in a similar time, though disappointed to be slower than on his first serious attempt last year. “I may have been a bit complacent this year”, he confessed. Experienced marathoner Steve Barrington struggled in the later stages of the race but it was still his third best time. Beverley Packwood achieved a significant improvement over her first two marathons and it was her first sub-four.

Eight other members travelled further afield for their marathons. Paul Tavener kicked things off with 3:39 in Paris, a very respectable debut for a relative novice at any distance. By contrast, Mark Delahunty has run marathons in nine different locations, this year in Manchester, where he achieved yet another sub-3 hour clocking.

Six club members headed off to Brighton the week before the London, almost all of them triathletes. Malcolm Woolsey ran a controlled debut race at sub-8 minutes per mile, while Keith Freegard was also delighted with his first marathon outing. Unlike many, he feels no urge to go out and do it all again in the near future. Sarah Percival and Alex Hewitt both defied a long injury lay-off to finish well inside four hours, Ironman veteran Sarah even achieving a PB in her third stand-alone marathon. The irrepressible Andy Leung was undertaking a marathon for the sixth consecutive year. He was trying new tactics and was disappointed to fall short of a PB, but it was his second best clocking. Dan Noraika returned to marathon running last year after a 25 year absence, and was rewarded with a PB.
Top left: Paul Tavener, Beverley Packwood, Keith Freegard, Sarah Percival, Malcolm Woolsey and Lynn Wilson.
Above right: Jav Sondh
Left: Mark Delahunty
Right: Malcolm Woolsey
ESM results summary 
Paris (3 April): Paul Tavener SM 3:39:22
Manchester (10 April): Mark Delahunty M40 2:59:21
Brighton (17 April): Malcolm Woolsey SM 3:25:15; Keith Freegard M55 3:44:36; Sarah Percival W50 3.44.44; Alex Hewett SW 3:51.22; Andy Leung M40 3:54:01; Dan Noraika M55 3:57
London (24 April): Simon Shaw M40 2:41:15; Steve Plummer M50 3:13:05; Lynn Wilson W55 3:42:10; Christine Meek W55 3:51:39; Jav Sondh SM 3:51:47; Steve Barrington M50 3:52:44; Beverley Packwood W40 3:55:13