Never before have Newmarket Joggers hosted such a huge and talented London Marathon squad. The months, and in some cases years, of yearning to compete in the prestigious event came to a head for 14 Joggers on Sunday who headed to the start line at Blackheath with over 36,000 other hopefuls to contest the 26.2 miles of London.
Everyone has a different reason for wanting to run the marathon: fundraising, to realise a lifetime dream, to set a personal best (PB) and some just because they love running and the club is immensely proud of all the marathoners whatever their reasons are.
It takes a lot to even make the start line of a marathon as training and injuries take their toil over the preceding months and some of this year’s supporters had fallen victim to these but did not let their own disappointment dampen their enthusiasm for their fellow club mates and with this year’s team having 3 running in the elite category – Matthew Harvey, Robin Clifford and Paul Holley, there was plenty to be cheerful about on the day itself.
Readers of the sports pages will be well acquainted with the men for their talent and successes over the years and as all 3 work in the racing industry – Matthew and Robin working for Darley Pre Training and Paul for David Elsworth, they were all hoping that they would be forgiven for not riding out first lot for the next few days after finishing in incredible times.
First home and running his 5th London Marathon in a PB of 2:36 and recording a place of 102nd overall was Matthew Harvey, this incredible achievement also sets a new club record for the Joggers and is the result of many months of hard work and dedication.
Robin Clifford ran a perfectly paced race and looked calm and collected throughout to finish in a PB of 2:43 (222nd) and was proudly cheered home by wife Tanya and daughter Molly who were poised on the finish line. Not only are these guys setting personal standards far and above most people’s wildest dreams but they have both taken over 4 minutes from their own previous PB time which as anyone who runs any distance will know is a tremendous achievement.
Paul Holley had set out to finish around the 2:40 mark however setting a quick pace early on paid its price at 18 miles when his hips and legs had other ideas, however he gamely galloped on to complete well under the 3 hour mark in 2:53 and although he was personally disappointed with his time he still managed to finish 602nd overall and aims to conquer another marathon in the Autumn.
Matthew Jack almost joined the Joggers elite team upon his first ever marathon attempt finishing in an outstanding 3:03, the fireman hopes to now trounce the sub 3hour at his next marathon attempt which will like Paul be in the Autumn. Greg Davis completed 2 marathons last year and lined up again in London this year with the Davis Darlings (his wife and 2 daughters) madly cheering him on as he finished brilliantly in 3:15.
Martin Gear also had a big support team with him and didn’t let them down finishing in 3:37 despite suffering from cramp 400yds from the finish. Keith Williams had put in most of his training whilst out in Dubai and came home in 3:55 with next over the line and in a great time of 4:01 was Stephen Symonds who looked confident and strong throughout the race.
Simon Archer left his Stig costume behind for his first attempt at the distance which was a good idea under the circumstances as temperatures were recorded at over 20 degrees in places and the first timer obviously found his top gear as he finished in 4.15 and just ahead of Vicky Snell who finished in 4:18.
Mike Sales was also running his first ever marathon; only 2 weeks ago his participation was in doubt due to injury however the determined Jogger did not let this stop him from recording the brilliant time of 4:20. Following closely behind was Fleur Halls who put in an great paced run and finished with a sprint in 4:34.
Lynda McCormack and Dave Price were also running their first marathons and almost crossed the line together with Lynda finishing in 5:01 and Dave in 5:04. Along with picking up a few blisters and chaffing along the way the Joggers now have a great sense of achievement having started and completing the gruelling feat that is a marathon.