29 Apr London Marathon Weekend Roundup

The weekend was ‘a game of two halves’…..Storm Hannah wreaking havoc on Saturday, with several parkruns cancelled (including Barry Island), and then a thankfully calmer, coolish day for the Virgin London Marathon on Sunday. Anyone who was running again after last year’s hot one breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Runners who finish London will tell you it’s an amazing experience, but what got me buzzing this year was the P & D Club support both online and ‘on the ground’. There are some amazing tools to track participants these days, and some “sad” individuals  spent the entire morning glued to their tablets, computers and TV screens…..

Fortunately for our runners we had some (very vocal!) support around the course, as ever lead by Lisa Cleary and her famous triangle! I’m not absolutely sure about this, but I’m led to believe that some alcohol was imbibed too…..

And so to the marathon racers. Ben Butler-Madden was attempting to follow an extremely strong PB performance in Tokyo at the beginning of March with another full-on race…would he have had enough recovery? The emphatic answer was YES! Ben finished an incredible 132nd in the superb time of 2:32:23, which was something like 90 seconds faster than Tokyo. He went out fast, covering the first half in 74:39, and we all got very excited thinking he was going to go sub-2:30….but the return journey towards Big Ben had a bit of a headwind and even Ben’s legs get tired sometimes! Still a magnificent Club Record, well done that man!

Next home for P & D was our cheerful cover-boy Paul Morton, attempting even less recovery between marathons than Ben achieved, having run a PB 3:13 in Manchester just three weeks ago on 7th April! This was obviously good prep, as Paul stormed to another PB time of 3:12:15 (3601 finisher), which even included an unscheduled pit stop…though Paul being Paul, it was recorded as 1 minute and 40 seconds on Strava! Quite an ambitious start (halfway in 1:32:24), but sometimes this can reap dividends…getting closer to three, Paul, keep up the good progress.

Chris Nellins confided to me on last week’s ‘Malcolm Run’ that he’ll keep doing London as long as he can achieve a “Good For Age” time, but he was slightly concerned around some rule changes if you’re close to the cut-off times. Well, Chris I don’t think you need to worry this coming year…you finished 27th in the M65-69 category in a brilliant 3:37:11, and the GFA qualifying time is 4 hours! Bit of context here, too….5th place in this age category was around 3:22, so Chris was right up there with his performance.

Next we come to our two Club-designated runners, both making their debut marathons…Kit Lambert running for our charity partner Lymphoma Action, whilst Steven Barker chose to support Macmillan Cancer Support. It was a tough day at the office for both of them….Kit wasn’t far behind Chris at halfway (1:43:31), but suffered horribly after 17 miles. He still managed to finish in 3:51, which is a respectable time for a first attempt…certainly looks happy enough here!

Steven had the family down and questioned his own decision to schedule a nippy parkrun in Gunnersbury the day before….on marathon day he went through the half in 1:52:20 and finished in 4:15:06. Well done both of you!

And finally I can report some parkrun performances and nominate my three parkrun heroes!

Grangemoor: 1st Ian Southwell 18:00 (course PB by 4 secs), 51st James Buckingham 25:02, 69th Stephen Farmer 26:12, 80th Yvonne Williams 26:45 (76.95% Age Grade score), 84th Matt Webley 26:48, 88th Arabella Calder 26:58, 138th Paul Whitmarsh 30:43

Gunnersbury: 96th Cath Barker 23:08, 124th Steven Barker 23:50

Aberystwyth: 10th Laurie Smith 24:19, 12th Katie Clark 25:11 (1st Woman)

Springburn: 68th Janice Clement 26:26

So the three heroes are: Ian, for a great first past the post run at Grangemoor, Yvonne for a superb Age Grade score (also at Grangemoor) and Katie for being the first Woman to finish at Aberystwyth. However, anyone who ran in Storm Hannah’s gusts deserves a medal in my book!


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