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A GREAT DAY FOR WACers IN LONDON – 13 April 2008

The day of reckoning was finally here. After all those months of training, today was the day it all had to be pulled together. With WACers having clocked up so many training miles, and with so many of you out there (we equalled last year’s record number), for sure it wasn’t going to be all plain sailing. Some WACers got in with qualifying times, others through the ballot or with charity places and yet more with club places. The WAC club places were, at one time looking like a poisoned chalice, with all three who qualified via that route suffering injury problems and interruptions late on in their training. Fortunately two of the three, Cathy and Wendy, made it on the day, but poor Andy Porter had a problem with his back and was unable to recover in time. Hopefully we will see Andy back on the road in the next month and we look forward to seeing him come steaming along Birdcage Walk using his deferred place in 12 months time.

Cathy, Claire, Michele and Nicki were our first time marathon runners. As mentioned Cathy had a few injury concerns late on, but the other three could stand on the start line knowing they had prepared as well as anyone, put the miles in, and avoided all but the most minor of injuries. It is hard to be confident when you are taking on such a big challenge for the first time, but knowing you have prepared properly will ease the nerves a little as the tension and nervous excitement starts to mount amongst the runners in the lead up to start time.

Adie Mead, who has done more London Marathon’s than any other WACer, would have been perhaps even more apprehensive than our marathon first-timers as he had been hampered by injury problems from the outset, and he had just not managed to get the training miles in. Adie, who we have seen run a series of sub-3hour Londons in the past, is a man for the big occasion though, and he would need his big heart and belligerence to get him to the finish this time. He was determined to finish even if it meant walking the last 10 miles!

Jeff Hinsley and Jerry Shield both had their own concerns in the last 10 days before race day, Jeff with some soreness in his hip and Jerry had been under the weather since coming back from a holiday. Simon, Pete, Richard, Craig, Peter and Becky, Robin and Wendy are old hands at marathon distance and all had a good idea of what they were in for.

The day itself was a stereotypical April day. Cold-ish, some patches of glorious sunshine (although the breeze stopped the temperature from rising too much), and some pretty heavy showers usually falling as rain, but once or twice turning to hale. There are worse conditions to run a marathon in, as Martin Lel proved in setting a new course record.

Around 9.30am a group of WACers, including Barb Frampton, Juliet Mellor, Guy Miller and assorted Billintons, Kennedys and Maddison/Meads, arrived at Birdcage Walk and hoisted our Standard from a nearby lamp post and draped our WAC banner over the barriers. We had our red and black balloons aloft all ready for when the runners went past. And of course we had the bells!!

In the next few hours we saw the last few junior runners go by in the support events, the wheelchair athletes, and the elite runners, ladies and men – well done Liz Yelling. We heard about a gas leak early on in the route which led to a last minute diversion which apparently added another 2 to 3 metres to the route. Does that make it an Ultra then! We were now awaiting our first WACer.

Our first expected WACer was Simon, with a projected time of 2:50. True to his word he was there or thereabouts and he looked as comfortable as any WACer we saw all day as he cruised past us on his way to the finish line. We wish him well with his next big goal a triathlon in Brazil in May.

Jerry was next WACer in - the bug he picked up 10 days before the race had little impact as he recorded another great time.

Pete Lemon was the next WACer through – although he wasn’t wearing a club vest so we failed to spot him. Pete aimed high, and scored higher. He set out for a target time of 3:15 which would have been a PB and beat it with minutes to spare – outstanding.

The next red vest that came into sight was Richard’s.  Another outstanding performance. Richard has been in and out of hospital over the last 3 years for numerous operations and had a couple of battles with MRSA and here he is, within touching distance of a PB – inspiring stuff.

Next up is the corkscrew mop of big Adie. How does he do it – with hardly any training this time around, he still bags a 3:21 - awesome.

Craig is next. His fantastic run at the Bournemouth Bay Half a few weeks ago suggested we could see something special. Our second PB of the day, an improvement of nearly 20 minutes!

Next across the finish line were Becky and Peter who cross the line together feeling pretty ragged. Peter got what, on the face of it, looked a great pen position at the start, but the runners around him swept him along a little too quickly, he was aiming for 7 min. mile pace and found he was running 20seconds a mile faster than that early on – and still being engulfed by those behind him.  Those early quick miles began to tell later in the race and eventually he and Becky met up. Becky was having her own dramas though and was suffering with a little cramp. They worked together through to the end despite feeling they had been running on empty for some miles. Despite all these traumas Becky managed to lop off a whopping 15 minutes off her PB, WAC’s third PB of the day, and managed to record the fastest time for a WAC lady - this century!

Hot on their heels was Cathy, in her first marathon. An excellent debut. Cathy’s story can be found elsewhere on the website – see ‘My first London Marathon’. Mark had joined us at Birdcage Walk in time to see Cathy speed past us totally in the zone – fantastic!  I am looking forward to seeing Cathy and Becky back out there pushing each other next year, I feel confident both can go even quicker. They turn their attention next to leading the charge with Wimborne Wildcats (WAC’s ladies team over the Ridgeway).

Next in was Robin – although unfortunately the WAC supporters failed to spot him. Robin was another who had a fight on his hands, as the ex-MDSer struggled with cramp from 15 miles onwards, he still managed to record a sub-4hour time – a battling stuff!

Jeff had perhaps the toughest race of any of the WACers. A few days before the race he developed a sore hip. I don’t think he thought it was likely to cause too many problems, but 26 miles of tarmac is an unforgiving surface. The hip threw out Jeff’s knee and also caused problems in his upper leg. The latter stages of the race became a relay from one first aid station to the next. He still managed a smile when he went past us on Birdcage Walk somehow – a brave, brave run.

Nicki was next, in her debut marathon. An outstanding run, she trained conscientiously with Claire as her training partner, they both benefited enormously from the support they offered each other. She looked really strong at the finish, clearly there is more to come from here – superb.

Claire is a great example of someone who can set herself a goal and then go out and nail it. It’s hard to believe she has been running for little over a year. April 2007 she did the 4 mile time trial for the first time, the following month she was plunged into the Ridgeway team and it has just snowballed from there. Claire has the satisfaction of knowing that her debut marathon time was faster than Craig’s debut. On that basis I am looking forward to seeing her third marathon!

Michele was the next debutant home and she ran most of the race alongside Wendy. They had clocked up quite a few training miles together. Michele took her preparation very seriously and this paid dividends on the day. The one thing you can’t train for is how the occasion and the adrenaline and euphoria of London Marathon day might effect you. Michele passed all those tests with flying colours too. An excellent debut with a strong finish, well done.

Wendy was the next one home, this was her second London Marathon. On the positive side the experience from last year stood her in good stead, but on the down side she had suffered quite a few interruptions to her training schedule, firstly with an achilles problem, which thankfully appears to have cleared up, but in more recent times with a shin problem that persists. The shin was a real cause for concern on race day. Bearing these trials in mind Wendy’s run, which was a PB by around 13 minutes, was a very impressive result. Now it’s time to go and get that shin sorted properly so as to maintain that bid for Fidelity in the Dorset Road Race League.

So WACers saw the usual range of highs and lows that a marathon will throw up, fortunately with more of the former. Well done to all of you, although we have seen faster individual WAC times before, I think this year’s was the best collective performance we have seen from the club. 15 runners, 4 PBs, and 4 great debuts, a good day’s work. See you next year on Birdcage Walk.

Full results are below along with splits.

Ian

LONDON MARATHON RESULTS

                                                  Splits at                                                                                 Finishing
Place                                          10k               20k          13.1m             30k             40k           time

    519  Simon Mortimer            39:21         1:19:03         1:23:21        1:59:07        2:41:23        2:51:00

  1728  Jerry Shield                  43:26         1:26:38         1:31:12        2:10:03        2:57:34        3:08:38

  2059  Pete Lemon                  43:15         1:28:52         1:33:50        2:15:04        3:01:46        3:11:52    

  2646  Richard Atkins               43:24         1:29:01         1:33:59        2:15:39        3:05:50        3:16:32

  3276  Adie Mead                     43:13         1:28:46         1:33:44        2:16:01        3:09:57        3:21:52

  3553  Craig Dixon                   49:14         1:35:57         1:40:52        2:22:07        3:12:25        3:23:51

  5746  Becky Wood                  50:21         1:39:24         1:44:48        2:28:57        3:22:08        3:36:27

  5896  Pete Wood                    42:36         1:25:14         1:29:51        2:10:39        3:22:58        3:37:14

  6213  Cathy Hartle                  49:16         1:38:45         1:44:14        2:29:38        3:25:56        3:38:54

10329  Robin Hughes                49:33         1:40:19         1:45:57        2:36:25        3:41:46        3:56:16

16784  Jeff Hinsley                    55:42         1:48:33         1:54:07        2:45:49        4:04:52        4:20:29

18026  Nicki Roe                     1:01:07        2:02:39         2:09:18        3:05:37        4:10:45        4:25:01

19809  Claire Newby               1:01:07        2:03:40         2:10:33        3:09:37        4:17:03        4:31:37 

22124  Michele Whitehurst      1:02:01        2:11:51         2:18:56        3:22:14        4:27:55        4:40:47

22500  Wendy Kennedy          1:02:01        2:11:50         2:18:57        3:22:14        4:27:56        4:42:18 

 

 
 
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