So the autumn marathon season has come to end and marathoners are looking forward to spring, when the likes of London open up their streets for the annual 26.2mile race.
This year, Elswick was able to offer one London Marathon place to a recipient who did not have to prove that he or she had been rejected from the ballot process for the 2018 race. The club ballot for this place was open to all members and was held at the AGM on 20 October 2017. The fortunate recipient on that occasion was Rob Lambert, our newly appointed club cross-country captain.
Rob has got his marathon training off to flying start by completing the recent Brampton to Carlisle 10 mile race in 1.13.42, knocking 66 seconds off his previous time.
There is one further Elswick place available via a ballot, but to enter the ballot, you must be able to provide proof of your rejection from the Virgin London Marathon application process. You should pass your proof of rejection to club secretary Tom Hanson, or any other committee member immediately. The draw will take place on Monday 4 December.
The autumn saw nine Elswick members taking on the marathon distance, all on 8 October at three events in York, Kielder and Chicago.
In York, the quartet of Rob Emson, Simon Lynch, Penny Ward and Emma Fraser enjoyed great success, all finishing in very pleasing times. Rob Emson was first home in 3.37.17, 55th position in the M50 category and 662nd overall. Rob sliced off 3 minutes from his London marathon in 2016. Rob was followed by Simon Lynch, making his marathon debut in 3.55.19. Penny Ward finished in 4.06.37 and Emma Fraser in 4.16.21. A rewarding trip to York for all.
Joanne Brown put in a superb run at Kielder – a marathon not for the faint hearted. Whilst “undulating” is putting it mildly, Kielder does provide breathtaking Northumberland scenery, which apparently can ease the pain of those many steep inclines. She finished the race in a brilliant time of 3 hours 47 which claimed her 1st position in the 45-50 category and 7th female overall.
Joanne at Kielder running with training partner Jane
In Chicago, the club was represented by Richard Houghton, Scott Brady, Andrea Banner and Mike Russell. As the pre-race picture of Richard and Scott demonstrates, the race starts early, 7.30 for the first wave of runners. Contrary to popular belief, the city does not suffer from chilly gusts blowing off Lake Michigan, along whose shores the race begins and ends. The nick name, the “Windy City” derives from the city’s political past when its boastful politicians and citizens were derided for blowing a lot of hot air.
It turned out to be a very hot day with temperatures in the mid 20C. This did not deter Richard from smashing the 3 hour barrier yet again with a finishing time of 2.57.50, 704th position. Scott suffered in the heat and perhaps did not achieve the time that he is truly capable of. However, he finished in a very respectable 3.28.21 and should be pleased with that and learn from the experience of running in hotter climes. Andrea finished in 3.19.36, 18th in her age category, and Mike finished in in 3.50.58, having suffered in the second half of the race when the absence of training took its toll.
An early start before the sun was up
Scott mid race through down town Chicago
Chicago certainly rates as one of the best city marathons – it’s flat, fast and takes in lots of the city’s bold architecture. There are lots of supporters along the course, better in many respects to New York where the support is sporadic in parts owing to the course crossing over several road bridges.
On the return journey, Sophie Raworth (BBC News) was spotted at the airport sporting her Marathon Majors medal. Clearly her participation in Chicago completed her series of the six marathon majors. In a quest to achieve the same accolade, Mike and Andrea are off to Tokyo in February and Richard is off to Boston in April 2018. Scott is having a well earned rest, but aims to be back in the autumn of 2018 at Berlin.
So who’s up for London? If you’re eligible to enter the club ballot, get your proof of rejection to Tom Hanson or any other committee member in advance of the draw on Monday 4 December.