Bus with athletes

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As we start a new era now as ‘Dacorum Athletics Club’ this month, what better way to kick off with the biggest group of Dacorum roadrunners we have ever had taking part in the return of probably the greatest mass participation marathon on the planet.

Of course, it’s the return of the London Marathon. The full event was last held 889 days ago back in April 2019. Thanks to Covid 19, there has been three cancellations, a lot of heartache and disappointments along the way but eventually the big day arrived.

Getting to this point has been a marathon in itself for the participants of this race with the majority training for the race over 2 years ago and then having to maintain their marathon fitness for subsequent dates only for them to be postponed as well. Thankfully, mainly due the scientists whose brilliant work to develop the vaccines means we are not still stuck in our homes, all the training was put to good use today on the streets of our capital city.The race, which is celebrating its 40th mass participation event, promised to be the biggest London Marathon with about 50,000 runners and a further 40,000 completing a virtual London marathon on the same day. As mentioned before, Dacorum had a record entry for the race, which is notoriously difficult to get into, with 32 runners completing in the race itself and others running the virtual race.

The London Marathon is such an inspirational event and is undoubtedly the biggest fund raising event in the UK for our hard pressed charities and many of our runners were indeed raising money for a whole host of very worthy causes. Congratulations are due to all our runners who completed the 26.2 miles and raised large amounts for their chosen charity.

After Saturday, which saw London inundated with rain, the day started dry if a little chilly as the city prepared for an inundation of Lycra and colour. The Dacorum ‘party bus’ left early morning and the supporters set off a little later to claim a good viewing point on the route.

Virginia Woolf once wrote of London: ‘The streets of London have their map, but our passions are uncharted. What are you going to meet when you turn this corner.’ As I read it, the route may be mapped out but it was your passion, grit and determination that got you round this lovely city and every corner. So with the lateral flow tests done and the weather dry – soon to become sunny and warm – it was time for the very staggered start to unroll.

Ania Gabb was amongst the first to start and was defiantly the first Dacorum runner to finish in a scintillating 2;49;48. Our first male finisher was the ever youthful Jamie Marlow with a sub 3hour run in 2;59;56. Carole Pitts ran her first road marathon in 4;41;32 Penny Wallduck ran her 3rd London marathon in 4;41;56.Lucy Wallduck was running her first marathon and finished in 3;43;10 Pat Hayball was running her 3rd marathon and finished in 4;26;33 Samantha Gomm ran her 15th marathon in 5;20;19 Katie Le Blond followed her Brighton marathon a couple of weeks ago with a 4;01;04 Celia Findlay with over 100 marathons behind her ran in 3;48;14 Lucia Jelly ran her first marathon in 5;22;21 Jane Barnett completed just under the 5h mark in 4;59;05 Robyn Shuck running her first marathon finished in 4;55;45 Kerry Ardley followed up her Berlin marathon last weekend with a 3;10;45 Claudia Selina overcome injuries and difficult training conditions to run 4;53;49 Hannah Bennett who revealed this week that she is 16 weeks pregnant and gave a lift to the coming baby in 3;29;55 Kelly Du Buisson overcame a lack of training and finished in 4;09;45It was Samantha Sullivan,s 3rd marathon and with a target of sub 4h finished in 3;55;41 Tom Mack overcame shin splints to finish in 3;14;45 which he dedicated to his Mum. Andy Wass was ran his 3rd marathon in 3;16;58 Steve Russell completed his 7th marathon in 3;54;31 Ben Kenny set a marathon PB in 3;05;42 Bill Wylie followed up his Brighton marathon a couple of weeks ago with a 4;04;45 Ian Wolstencroft ran his first marathon and hoped to be the clubs oldest virgin London marathon runner and a sub 5h run finished in 4;;48;24. Robert Peche running his first marathon in 5;08;25 he ran with Chris Keen who was another first timer and overcame injuries to get to the race and finished in 5;08;25. Robert Davies was running his third marathon after Brighton in 2019 and the london virtual last year and completed in 4;41;29. Phil Joslin running his 3rd marathon overcame injury and despite having to walk the last few miles finished in 5;51;32.Andy Moody who was defiantly ready to run this race 18 months ago took his chance in 3;46;39. Martin Kerr ran a PB in 3;34;32 and described it as emotional. Matt Williams ran the virtual last year and finished in 3;42;58 Darren Wymer was also running his first marathon and finished in 5;24;36 and last but very much not least was Andy Cracknell in 3;19;22.

Most of us are happy to get a medal at the end of running the marathon but some like to get their hands on two medals after all their efforts. Such was the case with our runners who ran the Dorney Lake Marathon today combined with the virtual London race. While the London marathon may be the greatest road marathon, surely Dorney must be the greatest marathon that goes 5 times round a lake in the Thames Valley. Whatever the event, the fact is that both marathons are exactly 26.2 miles and in many ways the Dorney Lake marathon was a harder proposition without the excitement and support of the crowds of the larger event.We had another 6 runners at Dorney with most going for the 2 medals on offer.Chris Marriott ran a super quick 3;00;22 James Duvall ran in 3;20;27 and set a PB.Andy Mitchell was happy with a 4;09;53 Sophie Routledge had a marathon 10min PB in 4;05;42 Robert Notton completing his first and I’m reliably told his last marathon finished in 5;18;33 and Mandy Jackson also set a 11 minutes PB in 4;33;38. after setting of to fast and a struggle at the end.

There was one more marathon which involved Dacorum and that was the Lock Ness Marathon.Kate Crossland made the long journey north to complete in this totally different marathon to the crowded streets of London. Kate had a fantastic run and set a new PB of 4;34;19.

Running a marathon is always a very physical experience but it is also as many have found today a very emotional one with everything from excited , anxious ,relief , joy, occasionally disappointment , passionate , stirring , uplifting and back to excited. I hope that when you are at home you all feel the emotion of satisfaction of a job well done.

A shout out to all the supporters who were on the course encouraging and cheering everyone on,it really gives a massive lift when you past some cheering family and friends. All the runners appreciate your support.

While Kate was running the Lock Ness marathon Chris Gibbs was running the 10k race in which he set a PB of 52;24Thats all for this marathon report.

Fantastic running from everyone wether you were in London , Dorney or Scotland, wether you were sub 3 h or sub 6h its an awesome achievement running a marathon. Put your feet up relax and start planning the next emotional rollercoaster.

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