DESCRIBED as the second toughest UK marathon, six of Stratford AC’s finest athletes took on the challenge of the Snowdonia Marathon on a warm but misty morning.
The race winner was Russell Bentley in 2:35.05 – some 12 minutes slower than his previous marathon – demonstrating how tough a course it is.
First Stratford runner to finish was Sam Nicholson who, in his first marathon for 25 years, put in an amazing performance after a busy racing period. Sam completed the course in 3.48.58.
Next to come in was Paul Saunders who ran an incredible race, even if the last six miles were extremely painful, to finish in 4.10.14.
Tim Tandy was next and he said he had underestimated the scale of the hills after finishing in 4.17.17.
Next in was Sarah Odell who in the last fortnight had developed Sciatica in her left leg. Off she went in her usual determined way and she slowly caught up with Lisa Dallison at mile 15, then Andy Brown at mile 19 before finally finishing in 4.25.03.
Lisa, who struggled due to a lack of training, finished in 4.38.37. Then followed Andy in his first marathon, although he has completed many ultras, in 5.03.36.
All agreed Snowdonia is a great race and well organised with the most amazing views on a clear day.
JAMES CUSACK returned home to race in the Dublin Marathon, his third marathon of the year.
Conditions were ideal – sunny and warm – and he set off at an ambitious pace, going through the first ten miles at 6:30-a-mile pace and then exactly 90 minutes at the halfway stage.
James then settled into a steady pace until the final four miles which are very hilly, slowing him a little to finish in an excellent time of 3:19.04 in 1,428th place.
The race winner was Ethiopian Dereje Debele Tulu in 2:12.18.
THE SECOND fixture in the Midland Race Walking Winter League was held at Alexander Stadium in Birmingham.
The 10km race consisted of 11 laps on a technically difficult circuit with sharp turns and steep, short climbs on each lap.
The race was dominated by walkers from Leicester and Birchfield but Stratford’s Paul Hawkins was pleased to finish in a strong fifth place in a time of 63:50, improving his personal best and club record by more than two minutes.