Virgin Money London Marathon: The Form Guide

Newmarket Joggers running in the VMLM

Giles Macrow MV50: Succeeded in the initial ballot. One previous marathon in the VLM last year (4:50), when he ran for a Slimmer’s World cancer charity after losing over 11 stone in the previous two years, during which he took up running and joined our club. He was hoping for about 4 hours in last year’s VLM but the heat got to him, like most others. Giles is an air-conditioning consultant engineer serving clients over a wide area of the UK, so he should have known how to keep cool! He hopes to get nearer 4 hours this year.

Ruth Eberhardt FV45: Winner in the club draw. This is her first ever marathon. She took up running about 6 years ago and went on a couch to 5K course. Her best half marathon to date is 1:43 in 2017 and last month she clocked 2:58 in the Wymondham 20 miler, suggesting just under 4 hours in a marathon, though she was no doubt holding something in reserve in that preparatory race. Ruth has every chance of beating 4 hours by a decent margin if all goes well. She has been utterly dedicated in her training and deserves success. In addition, Ruth is raising funds on for Unique, a charity supporting those with rare genetic disorders. She is a scientific researcher at the Sanger Institute near Great Chesterford.

Jeremy Reader MV45: Winner in the club draw. Jeremy is the much valued social secretary for our club and, with his wife Emma, organises regular social get-togethers, including one after the London Marathon and Newmarket Heath Race to celebrate or commiserate. He’s run in 3 marathons with a PB of 4:01 in the London Marathon back in 2011. More recently, he did 4 half marathons in 2018, all around 1:50, which suggests he has a sporting chance of getting within shooting distance of his PB, but he is not overconfident due to limited training time and will be happy just to finish. As a career, Jeremy runs his own bespoke memorial design company, JK Memorials.

Gráinne Brennan FS: Good For Age. Gráinne picks and chooses her races very carefully and has been the fastest female runner in the club for most of her membership over the last 5 years. She has done just one marathon in Edinburgh 2017 (3:16) and 10 half marathons, with a PB of 1:25 in Peterborough last October, suggesting a sub 3 hour marathon may be within her reach, given optimal conditions.

Chris Gay MS:  Good For Age. Chris Gay has run in 8 marathons and pulled a PB of 2:52 out of the hat in last year’s VLM, while most runners were wilting in the heat. He bettered that time a month later by clocking 2:48 in Edinburgh. Then in March this year he PB’d in the Cambridge Half Marathon with 1:15, so he’s bang in form and can cope with the heat. He could just be on for another PB and is aiming for as close as he can get to 2:40.

Mark Hayward MV35: Good For Age. Mark has been a top club runner since 2011 and clocked 2:55 in his first marathon at Limassol, Cyprus in 2017. This gained him automatic entry into the VLM last year but he was affected by the heat in the later stages and was disappointed to finish in 3:21. Over the last year he has thrown himself into dedicated training, including running, cycling and swimming, with ambitions to develop his skills as a triathlete. Mark recorded 1:18 in the Cambridge Half Marathon last month, so is in top form and he is aiming for 2:45 in London. He is a bank manager as a career.

Robin Clifford MV50: Good For Age. Robin is a top class veteran runner. With Good For Age entry every year, he’s run in 8 VLMs out of the last 9 years, with a PB of 2:43 in 2011. Only in last year’s 2018 heatwave did he finally succumb and go over 3 hours to clock 3:07, aged 49. Over the last few years he has done very few other races apart from the London Marathon and didn’t race at all in 2017. However, he retains an enviable running  talent and will be determined to go under 3 hours if he can.

Neil Pollard MV40: Good For Age. Neil was the quickest runner in the club in 2018 at every distance from 5K to half marathon, with Chris Gay holding a slight edge in marathons. Neil has run in 4 marathons with a PB of 2:50 in York last year. His one VLM last year, at 3:01, disappointed him but he hopes to make up for that this year. The main problem is a calf injury sustained in the Haverhill XC league fixture in March which has badly interrupted his final month of training and he is still uncertain whether he will be fit enough to run. Fingers and toes crossed! Neil works in horseracing at Newmarket, as a jockey coach and riding out racehorses.

Sarah Boneham FV45: Good For Age. Sarah created quite an impression last year by ticking off the Berlin Marathon, the last of her 6 World Major Marathons of London, Boston, New York City, Tokyo, Chicago, and Berlin. This earned her membership of the exclusive 6 Star Marathon Club and a very attractive medal.  She has also completed 4 VLMs with a PB of 3:32 in 2013. Her most recent 2018 Berlin Marathon time of 4:07 may be a guide to her likely time in London this year. However, she did clock 3:43 in the 2017 VLM, so we can hope for a nice sub 4 hour surprise.

Francesca Laughton FS:  Francesca is a brand new club member this month and a bit of a dark horse. She was in Bungay Black Dog RC back in 2013 and has a half marathon PB of 1:54 while there. More recently, only parkruns show on her unattached record on Runbritain, which she completes in around 27 minutes.  This will be her first marathon and it’s impossible to predict the outcome, which depends on her level of endurance training. Perhaps 4:30 to 5 hours could be a reasonable target.

Apologies for any errors or omissions. The London Marathon live tracker app does not appear to be searchable, at least in advance, by club this year; only by name. If you’re running but not shown, please email: to be included.