Bounty hunter Chris Gay went in search of ‘real race’ paradise and found it in the beautiful (though rainswept) surroundings of Dorney Lake, near Windsor, on Sunday Oct 4th. There, he took 25 seconds off his all-time marathon PB and went sub 2:40 for the first time, clocking 2:39:42. He finished 28th of 523 runners in a high class field; not many fun runners in this race. Gay had qualified on time (along with Neil Pollard, Mark Hayward and Jimmy Smith) for the Virgin Money London Marathon (VLM) 2020 in April, with a championship entry from his 2:40:07 time in the 2019 event. That qualification will still hold good for the VLM in October 2021. He was no doubt keen to put his hundreds of miles of training over the Cambridgeshire Fen droves to good use in a real marathon race this year. The Dorney Lake Marathon route was composed of 4 quarter marathon segments, going out & back on the causeway along the middle of the lake and then out & back along the northern lakeside. This has been a good running year for Chris Gay despite the pandemic, with PBs set at 10K (Milton Keynes in March 35:21), Half Marathon (Cambridge in March 1:14:05) and now in the Marathon.
Above left: Chris Gay; above right Jimmy Smith, both seen in the Cambridge Half Marathon this year.
VVLM: Four Joggers took part in the Virtual VLM 2020 on Sunday. Jimmy Smith put in a great effort to clock 2:49:41 over a rainy, local road route, finishing 221st overall out of 36,397 participants and 55th of 3,432 in his M40-44 category. He had excellent crew support from his wife Nicole on her bike. Richard Jones ran a hilly local route in a very respectable 3:56:34, joined and supported over the last 10 miles by Jon Brooker. He came 5,094th overall and 228th of 1,373 in his M55-59 category. Jeremy Reader clocked a very competent 4:33:21, finishing 10,137th overall and 1,375th of 3,485 in M45-49, no doubt enthusiastically supported by his wife Emma and the kids. Giles Macrow, who has concentrated almost entirely on strength training this year, put in a very game and determined effort, mainly walking the distance in 9:06:45.
Above left: Jeremy Reader seen with members of his bubble group recently; Above right: Giles Macrow at Bedford Autodrome in 2019 after running in the 20 mile race. No current photo of Richard Jones unfortunately.
MK: Two Joggers ran well at Milton Keynes on Sunday. Andrew Taylor finished 23rd of 137 in the MK Autumn 10K in a time of 45:52, coming 4th of 13 in his M40 category. He would have been even quicker but for taking a wrong turning near the finish. Clive Purbrook had a great run in the MK Autumn Half Marathon, clocking 1:43:44 and finishing 46th of 176 overall, 2nd of 6 in the M60+ category. That was Purbrook’s best known half marathon time since 2017, giving him a platinum age grade of 72.20%, his best age grade for Newmarket Joggers since records began in 2018.
SRC: Over at the Suffolk Running Centre in Barrow on Saturday, Lisa Jennings did very well to clock 2:47:50 over the Ousden Owl circular half marathon trail loop, in atrocious ground conditions of soggy mud and with two ploughed fields to cross. Well done indeed.
NJ 5K Handicap: This coming week is your opportunity to run in the virtual October NJ 5K Handicap on any day up to Sunday 11th Oct on any 5km route of your choice. The link for entering times is below:
Track Sessions: Don’t forget that Mick Graham is now giving coaching sessions at Bury St Edmunds athletics track on Mondays and Wednesdays. Mondays are reserved for slower runners who take 24+ minutes for 5km, and Wednesdays for quicker runners below 24 minutes. The sessions are free for Newmarket Joggers, with the £3.00 fee being paid for out of our club funds. You cannot turn up on the evening without pre-registration. The link for registration and advance booking is below: