London Marathon, Madrid Marathon & Plymouth Half Marathon

Ten ORCs took part in the London Marathon this year and they all did the club and themselves proud. Several were seasoned marathoners, having secured Good For Age places by running qualifying times at other marathons, while others had places through the club ballot or had charity entries, with only one member getting in through the official London ballot. All of them had trained very hard, putting in really tough schedules since the beginning of the year, and all had set some sort of goal, whether it was just to complete or to run a certain time or to raise money for a chosen charity. Although London is 26.2 miles, the same as any other marathon, it is a very special race because of the atmosphere, the crowds, the iconic landmarks you pass on throughout the course and on a beautiful sunny spring morning London does look its best. Our runners put in some tremendous performances, with three coming in under the hard to attain 3hrs.

Matt Pitson was the first home with a stunning run to finish in 2.42.51. to not only set a new club record for the distance, but also to secure a start with the elite runners next year. The previous holder of the club record, Andy Vallance, came in next, who ran a brilliant race, despite not doing any training in the last three weeks due to a niggling injury, finishing in 2.55.10. Rob Kelly fulfilled all the promise of his recent good form to finally attain a sub-3hr marathon an get a Good For Age qualifying time finishing in 2.58.24. Rob had achieved a GFA time previously, but soon after, Virgin London Marathon changed the standards needed and this meant his time would not count. The whole club breathed a sigh of relief when he finished as everyone knew how difficult his training had been with work and a young family making it necessary for him to run late at night with a head torch, or very early mornings, doing the same sessions as his fellow Coe group runners on his own.

Seasoned London marathon veteran Roger Voaden was the next home in 3.07.02. with Jeremy Tandy next, running his first ever road marathon and finishing in 3.14.12, which was 48 seconds inside his GFA time. His run was all the more impressive for the fact he’d run the tough Exmoor Marathon only two weeks before. Paul Carter was very close behind Jeremy coming home in 3.15.32. Anne Binns was the first lady ORC home with a time of 4.07.19, not her best marathon time but she was happy with it, although not with the huge blister on one of her big toes! Anne also raised £550 for Coeliac Uk, to give back something to a charity that has helped her since she was diagnosed with the illness 18 months ago. It was Heidi Wills’ second marathon, and sadly the end of her training was marred by a family bereavement, but she decided to run anyway and not only completed in a great time of 4.10.44, a massive PB, but she also raised an incredible £2,600 for Force Cancer charity.

Mike Baker was one of the runners who got their place through the club ballot, and had only just got back to running after having Plantar Fasciitis for some time, when his name was drawn. At 49, this was his first marathon, and with his training going very well Mike was hoping for a finish time of around 3.45.00. He was running at the pace to achieve this when he got clipped by another runner which resulted in a pain firstly in his Achilles, then eventually his whole leg. He struggled on with the pain so bad he nearly pulled out with six miles to go, but did continue, finishing in 4.21.00, somewhat disappointed that it had all gone so wrong after a good start. Vicki Hayer had a charity place, running for Hospice UK, a charity to which she felt close having had family members being cared for by in hospices. This was her first marathon, and she really enjoyed the experience that London is, finishing in 4.47.04, pleased to have raised £2,300 for charity but not keen to run another one!

Many miles away another ORC was representing the club at the Madrid Marathon. After completing and thoroughly enjoying the Barcelona marathon a few weeks ago, Mark Hawkins immediately entered the Madrid one and plunged straight back into more training. Unfortunately, while we have had glorious sunshine here lately it has not been accompanied by the sort of heat Mark encountered on Sunday in Spain. In temperature in excess of 26 degrees Mark struggled in the last 4 miles, suffering badly with cramp from dehydration, but still completed in 3.59.16, considerably slower than Barcelona, but with some consolation in the fact he had raised £750 for Devon Air Ambulance.

While everyone’s attention was on what was going on in London, a lone ORC was taking part in the Plymouth Half marathon. George Haskell hadn’t really set himself a goal here, having been pleased with his recent PB at Bideford, but on what would normally be regarded as a much tougher course, George ran nearly 5mins faster to finish in 1.30.48. showing how much he has improved since moving up to Coe.

Many thanks to Jane for the run report.