Gallery: Personal bests are order of the day for runners from Ipswich JAFFA, Harwich Runners, Great Bentley RC and Chelmsford AC who took on 2014 London Marathon
- Credit: Gregg Brown
There were some scorching times set by many of our local runners, from across Suffolk and North Essex, at Sunday’s Virgin London Marathon.
While Kenyan world record holder Wilson Kipsang was busy setting a new course record of 2hrs 04mins 29secs, and Mo Farah was debuting at the distance in 2.08.21, East Anglian runners were having their own personal battles with the testing 26.2-mile distance through the streets of the capital.
Ipswich JAFFA could boast no fewer than six runners beating the three-hour barrier, most of them shattering their personal best times.
Will Law led the way for the Ipswich club. The 26-year-old hacked more than seven minutes off his previous best, set at Amsterdam just six months ago, thanks to a rip-roaring 2.36.58.
It was Law’s sixth marathon, but his first attempt at London. Certainly his punishing weekly average of 90 miles in training paid off.
“My race plan was to start gently and not too fast and record consistent paced miles,” explained Law.
“My main goal was to PB, but if the race was going well and I felt good, it was to run a negative split in sub 2.40.
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“The race had a fantastic atmosphere and the weather was perfect, I hadn’t experienced a crowd where the whole course was packed out with support from start to finish.
“My favourite part of the race was approaching Big Ben and I knew then I had to hold on to my pace to reach a big PB.”
Law will now turn his attention to the Berlin Marathon on September 28, where he hopes to go even quicker on a flatter course.
Club-mate Brad Jones set an equally impressive PB of 2.38.50, which secured him 23rd spot in his over-40 age group.
Other JAFFA members to break three hours were Matt Hunt (2.46.39), Tom Fairbrother (2.47.30), Warren Birch (PB of 2.49.21) and Ian Coxall (PB of 2.58.02). It was a particularly strong run from Birch, who broke the club’s over-45 veteran marathon record.
In addition, Rick Weston, a second claim member of JAFFA, stopped the clock at 2.36.38, slightly below his best of 2.36.01 from last year’s London event. Weston runs first claim for Serpentine.
Elsewhere, Robert Reason celebrated his own personal landmark. The 34-year-old member of Harwich Runners registered a satisfying PB of 2.34.32, slicing nearly two minutes off his time of 2.36.16 from 12 months ago.
Harwich club-mate Brian Herrington was another to feature highly. The 45-year-old set a PB of 2.52.44 to finish 75th in his age group.
Ben Ficken flew the flag for Great Bentley RC, with a time of 3.07.56, which eclipsed his previous best of 3.25.14 from Milton Keynes last year.
Another of the blue vests, Great Bentley ladies’ team captain Vicky Presland, recorded 3.20.52, beating her previous best from London two years ago.
Marie Shirley, of Colchester Harriers, was just a whisker away from beating her PB of 3.02.03, set at the Berlin Marthon in 2012. Shirley, 34, beat her London time from last year, but was just outside her best in 3.02.31.
Other Essex runners to the fore included Chelmsford AC’s speed merchant David Fewell (2.37.06), and the Springfield Striders trio of Mark Newton (2.32.02), Tom Cammack (2.45.25) and Gavin Allen (2.48.18). Newton finished 50th overall.
Nikki Brockbank, also of Springfield, broke three hours for the first time. The over-35 veteran reached the finish in 2.59.03.
Bungay Black Dog had some notable displays from their veteran runners. Robin Farrar was 61st in his over-70 age group, while Bobbie Sauerzapf was 99th in the female over-55 category.
Mac Speake, of Bildeston Bounders, remains one of only 14 runners to have completed every London Marathon. Speake extended his unbeaten record to 34 Londons – his 4.54.40 placed him 67th in the over-70 age group. His eldest son, William Speake, ran 2.47.05.
Michael Greener was the quickest from Saint Edmund Pacers in 3.12.32.