GLORIOUS weather greeted runners in this year’s Rotary Shakespeare Marathon and Half Marathon – an event which was, as ever, superbly well organised with numerous supportive marshals.
As ever, Stratford Athletic Club was very well represented in the races as five members took on the really difficult challenge of the marathon, with 33 members competing in the half marathon.
Competing in his first marathon and first to finish for the club was Ivan Sarti (45th – 3:11.29). This really was a fabulous performance by Ivan who was very pleased to complete his first road marathon, which went pretty much to plan throughout, apart from hamstring cramps at mile 23.
Next to finish for the club was Sam Nicholson (118th – 3:34.34). This was another great performance from Sam in only his second full marathon. He was 14 minutes quicker than in his first, albeit that was the Snowdonia Marathon.
Cadie Hibberd (484th – 4:43.09) was someone else who was competing in her second full marathon and someone else who bettered her time in the first.
Cadie found it very, very hot and from mile 16 she ran/walked for intervals. She was very happy with her time, as well she might be and loved the event.
Tara Lambert (492nd – 4:47.14) is a competitor who seemingly could run for days and can be very proud of her performance.
The final SAC runner to finish was Rebecca Flower (557th – 5:08.47) as 612 finished the race, which was won by Noel Kindon in a time of 2:46.56. First lady to finish in 44th place was Melissa Venables.
Of the 33 SAC members who completed the half marathon, there were many notable achievements and some impressive age group performances.
The times shown are chip times, i.e. the actual times the individual runners completed the race in, as opposed to gun times, which are taken from the time the race starts.
First home for the club and hot on the heels of his superb run in the recent London Marathon was Tim Hutchinson (9th – 1:19.56). Tim also won his age group by four minutes.
First lady to finish for the club and third lady overall, also first in her age group, was almost inevitably Kate Wright (24th – 1:25.24).
Another club member who ran the London Marathon was Henry Morrison (30th – 1:26.31) whilst James Cusack (35th – 1:27.52) is in training for the KMD Ironman in Copenhagen in August and this fabulous result shows he is well on track to do well there.
Malcolm Bowyer (42nd – 1:28.37), another London Marathon runner from a couple of weeks ago, was second in his age group. Seventeen-year-old Seb Hopper (52nd – 1:28.45) was comfortably the youngest club member in the race and was competing in his first half marathon. To run that time in any half marathon would be a superb achievement but to run it in your first really is very special.
Andrew Cox (55th – 1:29.33) was yet another London Marathon runner and his time was just 12 seconds quicker than his time in the Bath Half in March and almost three minutes quicker than his time last year.
Drew Sambridge (62nd – 1:27.55) is in fabulous form and he has a challenging running programme in the next few weeks. This great run follows on from his run of 3:07 in the recent Manchester Marathon. Drew is shown as coming behind a few runners who were not as quick as him, because, as explained above, the times shown are chip times.
Only four seconds separated the next two SAC runners as they crossed the finishing line – David Smyth (65th – 1:30.38) and James Coy (66th – 1:30.29).
Tim Tandy (100th – 1:33.41) can be very satisfied with his performance, a statement that certainly applies to the next SAC runner to finish – Martyn Austin (112th – 1:34.31) – who has been plagued with injury for sometime but, despite this, his time was almost five minutes quicker than last year.
Second lady to finish for SAC was Lucy Kershaw (114th – 1:34.04) who was 13th lady to finish out of 830 and just 26 seconds slower than her time in the recent Fleet Half Marathon.
Tom Murray (164th – 1:37.23) was followed by the third SAC lady to finish – Alison Bagnall (175th – 1:39.18). Alison was 22nd lady to finish and third in her age group despite, by her own admission, not having done many long runs of late.
David Jones (242nd – 1:42.37) was delighted to win his age group by just over four minutes. David and Lynne Hinson (267th – 1:42.56) are always evenly matched in local races and this was no exception, with just 19 seconds separating them.
Lynne was pleased to have run a PB and be more than ten minutes quicker than in the Coventry Half Marathon in March. She was also third in her age group.
Phil Brennan (405th – 1:49.11) comfortably won his age group by three minutes, despite having run a tough seven-mile club race just four days previous.
Other SAC runners who completed the race were: Karl Harris – 461st – 1:50.27
Gavin Lambert – 541st – 1:51.35; Matt Lyness – 542nd – 1:52.31; Alan Coldicott – 745th – 1:54.44; Ryan Bakewell – 860th – 2:00.35; Jan McClure – 910th – 2:02.35; Alan Wright – 983rd – 2:04.19; Christine Pastrak – 1219th – 2:09.01; Gemma Smith – 1257th – 2:10.07; Kate Sergent – 1353rd – 2:13.03 – 2nd in age group; Eva Lowe – 1399th – 2:12.43; Martyn Sergent – 1541st – 2:20.18; Paul Hawkins- 1589th – 2:22.32; John Butler – 1729th – 2:31.22; Richard Eden – 1772nd – 2:35.54.
Worthy of special mention from the above list, all of whom did tremendously well to complete a tough race on a hot day, is SAC club chairman Paul Hawkins.
Paul has been training all winter at race walking for the forthcoming season. This being the case, he decided to race walk the half marathon!
Paul would like to compete in a 20k race walk later in the year and this seemed ideal preparation. He had targeted a time of somewhere near 2:20, which is pretty much what he achieved.
Paul was ranked tenth in the UK for his age group last year in the 2000m racewalk – a position he is keen to improve on this year.
The race was won by Toby Spencer in a time of 1:08.30, more than five minutes ahead of the second placed finisher. First lady to finish in sixth place was Nic Sykes in 1:19 as 1909 runners completed the race.
Report compiled by David Jones.