Great efforts by Newmarket Joggers in TCS London Marathon 2024

Amongst a record, huge field of over 53,000 participants, eleven Joggers lined up for the TCS London Marathon on Sunday April 21st.

 

Above: Joggers just arrived by coach at the starting area near Greenwich Park on Sunday morning. Mark Hayward is 3rd from left at back; just in front of him and partly hidden looks like Neil Pollard; Jan Holmes is waving at the front in her special outfit, with Jimmy Smith behind her; Paul Holley next on the right, then Ellie Bithell, Angela Brennan and Angela Drury. Many thanks for the team photo.

 

For the men, Mark Hayward (2:32:33 PB, 265th of 53,745 overall, 29th of 4,737 in M40-44) and Neil Pollard (2:32:58, 281st, 10th of 4,093 in M45-49) both had fast qualifying times and were able to take their places close behind the elite male runners for a 10:00 am start. Both set quick paces of around 5:45/mi (3:42/km), with Mark having an advantage of 55 seconds by the halfway point. At the finish, Neil was just 25 seconds behind; such a close match of ability and such a massive effort by each of them.

 

Above: Jimmy Smith, Paul Holley and Mark Hayward collecting their bib numbers at the London Marathon Expo. Many thanks for the photo.

 

Jimmy Smith (2:52:39, 2,112th, 369th in M40-44) put in a great run too, somehow managing to conserve his 100% sub 3-hour record for all 10 of his London Marathons, just 8 days after completing the first of four planned 50-mile Centurion trail races, which he is doing in support of Alzheimer’s Society. As always, Paul Holley (3:10:55, 5,442nd, 156th of 2,112 in M55-59) did very well in his age group, though has had some injury setbacks in his training over the last few months; he is vowing to come back to earn his usual sub 3-hours time next year.

 

Above: Jimmy Smith during the race. I think he’s trying to say “sub 3 hours!”. Thanks for photos.

 

Concentrating on the female Joggers now, Ellie Bithell (3:45:09 PB, 3,651st F of 22,753, 503rd of 3,072 in F45-49) put in a superb and flawless run in only her second official marathon, which is ample reward for all the effort she has put into her training and preparation. Astonishing that she managed to complete the last half of the race 6m:43s quicker than the first, gradually increasing her speed at will; for most marathon runners that would be in the domain of dreams. She also commented that she enjoyed every minute of the race, which is easy to understand. Not far behind was talented new club member Helen Hilario (3:54:23, 4,853rd F, 692nd in F45-49), who is a close friend of Ellie Bithell and trained alongside her for this race. She kept very even splits throughout and showed no signs of weakening.

 

Approaching Tower Bridge; taken by Jan Holmes, with thanks.

 

Then came Angela Drury (4:40:40, 11,126th F, 1,706th of 3,413 in F40-44), who won the club ballot for entry into this race. Chasing her PB of 4:17:31 in Paris 2023, she put in a great first half marathon split of 2:09:27. Though tiring in the end, she managed her pace well to limit any major damage and record a sound overall performance. Next came Jan Holmes (5:28:04 PB, 16,794th F, 426th of 702 in F60-64), who did well to take 11 minutes off her PB set in Leeds last year, despite suffering cramps in the closing stages. She was followed by Angela Brennan (5:31:26, 16,794th F, 8,784th of 11,347 in F18-39) who ran a great first half of 2:28:40 and showed a lot of determination and courage when tiring towards the finish.

 

 

Above left: Jan Holmes in her special running outfit, waving to the camera; above right: Angela Brennan after the race, enjoying some refreshment. Thanks for photos.

 

The final Jogger to finish was Caroline Mcintosh (5:33:10, 17,311th F, 55th of 101 in F70-74) and what a splendid performance it was. Her PB of 5:24:01 was set in Berlin 2018, when she was a mere 65-year-old, and for a while it looked like she might actually snatch a PB in London 2024 with a first half split of 2:36:44. In the end she tired in the closing stages, like most others, but was only about 9 minutes above her PB and it was her best marathon time for 6 years.  Caroline has planned two more marathons this year, in Helsinki and Athens, so we will follow her progress with interest.

In the virtual London Marathon, termed ‘My Way’ by the organisers, Suzanne Bailey (8:13:03, 952nd F of 1,381, 60th of 92 in F60-64) specifically set out to walk all of the distance, with a starting time of 07:00. She kept a very constant pace of around 19 min/mi with no sign of tiring. Apart from being a talented runner, with an age grade of over 70%, Suzanne does a lot of recreational walking and must have walked through and around nearly every village in East Anglia. She also has developed a keen interest in racewalking and competes at the Enfield Racewalking League in Essex, as well as helping to train Junior Newmarket Joggers in racewalking technique on club training nights.

 

Nice Half Marathon, Nice, French Riviera, France, Sunday, 21st April: Two Joggers completed this race in bright, sunny weather, with an early 8:00 am start to keep cool. Andy Fryatt (1:36:08, 755th of 5,259 overall, 32nd of 236 in M55-59) ran well in a time just slightly slower than his Cambridge Half Marathon earlier this year. Then came Francine Dasseville (2:20:53, 1,628th F of 2,009, 118th of 160 in F50-54), who did well to clock her best time in this race, though she managed 6 minutes quicker in Cambridge earlier this year. They both very much enjoyed the trip and the experience, in a city where Francine’s parents have lived for many years and which she knows well.

 

Above left: Andy and Francine in Nice after the race; above right: The race T-shirt…not sure about the design…looks like somebody put their foot in it :-) Thanks for photos.

 

Little Lifts Trail Run 10k/20k/30k, Barningham Estate, North Norfolk, Sunday 21st April: This race was in aid of ‘Little Lifts’ breast cancer charity and held in the beautiful grounds of Barningham Hall. Jogger Ruth Eberhardt (1:04:41, 97th of 189 overall, 46th F of 113, 7th of 17 in F50-59) entered the 10k one-lap option, along with her husband Ed. Both enjoyed a relaxing run in the beautiful setting and scenery.

 

Above: Ruth & Ed in front of Barningham Hall. Many thanks for photo.