Marathon roundup: When the going got so tough

Runners from Comet country pounded the streets on Sunday in what was the hottest London Marathon. After finishing the 26.2 mile course here are some of their stories THERE were some blistering performances from North Herts Road Runners on the blisteringl

Runners from Comet country pounded the streets on Sunday in what was the hottest London Marathon. After finishing the 26.2 mile course here are some of their stories

THERE were some blistering performances from North Herts Road Runners on the blisteringly hot streets of London on Sunday.

Twenty-two club members competed in the 27th Flora London Marathon which had the biggest field ever.

John Russell was the first home for the Squirrels in an awe-inspiring time of 2:59:48 which placed him 79th in his age group of Vet 45.

Another exceptional performance came from Jane Chappell who was the first woman back for the club in an outstanding time of 3:16:41, placing her 50th in her age group of Vet 35.

Five weeks after running the Rome Marathon, husband and wife Gary and Lindsay Cook took on the heat again to finish the London event in 3:12:53 and 5:28:46 respectively.

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Other North Herts Road Runner results include:

John Franklin 3:04:43, Steve Taplin 3:15:40, Richard Thackeray 3:16:00, Richard Harbon 3:17:33, Clive Adams 3:27:50, Jane Wotherspoon 3:29:48, Claire Messenger 3:30:11, James Brooke 3:32:47, Oliver Saville 3:42:11, Chris Walby 3:59:50, Harjit Singh 4:03:30, Faye Jowett 4:20:04, Andrew Kelly 4:24:06, David Duggan 4:37:24, Jon Hunt 04:39:21, Catherine Marsden-Jones 4:41:02, Sally Harkins 4:48:29, Danielle Peters 4:53:48.

* ED Corbett found the London Marathon a bit of a drag.

The member of FVS TRI, Stevenage, took five hours 25 minutes and 26 seconds to get round the course.

But he was chained to 16 people - and collectively they succeeded in breaking the world record for the highest number of people chained together to complete a marathon. Ed is circled bottom right.

Of the other seven FVS TRI members running on Sunday, Kevin Sambridge was first home in his debut marathon in 3:06:20.

Behind him were Andrew Forster in 3:26:50, Steve Chalk 3:35:53, Kev Smart 3:46:05, Simon Patenall 3:57:21, Chris Yuill 4:13:55 and Tony Shortland 5:02:05.

* TRANSPORT problems meant one mum-of-two had to cycle more than three miles to catch a train - before she ran the 26 mile marathon.

Amazingly Jo Laing, of Milestone Road, Knebworth, reckoned the cycle ride to Stevenage station was the worst part of her day.

The 38-year-old, who finished the marathon in three hours 34 minutes, said: "Apart from that I enjoyed every single mile!

"The best bit in particular was when I knew that I could give that little bit extra at the end of the race and really finish strongly. It was my dream to complete it in three and a half hours, I'm ecstatic."

She raised more than £1,600 for Mind, the mental health charity.

* WAYNE Bell completed his sixth London Marathon and for the fourth successive year he beat the three-hour barrier.

Wayne, 29, of Silverbirch Avenue, Stotfold, crossed the finishing line in 2:56:50 to finish in 664th place overall and 77th in his age group.

He was raising money for the North Herts and Stevenage Headway Group.

*ALISTAIR Burt completed the London Marathon in 5:18 blaming the hot weather for not finishing in his target time of four and a half hours.

The MP for North East Bedfordshire who is also a member of Biggleswade Athletic Club, said: "I was happy with my time considering the hot conditions."

* SAM Cutler was in great form in the mini marathon, which was staged before the major event on Sunday.

Sam (pictured centre), from Stotfold, who is a student at Samuel Whitbread Community College, was the youngest girl in the Bedfordshire squad at 15 but managed to finish 55th out of 268 girls.

She managed to slash 52 seconds off her personal best time completing the distance of 2.62 miles in 16m 47s.

* TWO members of staff from the Stevenage and North Herts Counselling Centre raised a whopping £3,280 by completing Sunday's London Marathon.

Gary and Sarah Nicholls finished an hour apart with Sarah crossing the line in four hours and three minutes and Gary exactly an hour later.

But for Gary it was a painful end as 200 yards from the finishing line his Achilles tendon snapped.

He said afterwards: "If I talk about doing this again, someone please talk me out of it."

* ALL 29 Fairlands Valley Spartans who started the London Marathon beat the record temperatures to cross the finish line.

Despite the heat, five of them achieved new personal bests.

The fastest Spartan was Simon Bell who was 322nd out of about 36,000 runners in a time of 2:48:52.

The slowest was Mark Sanders in 6:15:21 but he escorted a youngster with Down's Syndrome around the entire course.

Declan Clynes beat the three-hour barrier by clocking 2:57:37.

Jim Brown in his 13th consecutive London Marathon had a bit of a "heat wobble" less than three miles from the finish but completed the run in 3:08:54.

It was the 15th London Marathon for Roger Biggs (3:40:27) and Carol Paul (4:15:01).

Other Spartans who conquered the course were: Graham Blackburn 3:10:56, Chris King 3:16:59, Simon Jackson 3:21:38, Andrew Patterson 3:26:40, Michael Green 3:26:58, Jamie Laird 3:39:12, Frances Ridgway 3:43:06, Simon Owens 4:00:24, Gerry McCabe 4:02:02, Amanda Brook 4:03:54, Rob Shaw 4:05:55, Yvonne Jones 4:11:25, Christine Hardman 4:17:23, Steve Mills 4:18:49, Roger Hardman 4:23:34, Paul Holgate 4:28:39, Anna Bourne 4:44:52, Elisa Dunbar 4:47:14, Bev Harlow 4:47:27, Dave Paul 4:49:21, Victoria McCarthy 4:49:30, Dave Carter 5:31:07 and Craig Snowden 5:40:04.