Spring Marathons part 1

Spring Marathons Part 1

One incentive to push club runners through the bleak early months of the year is a strong marathon training plan, aimed at one of the many options that are available in the spring. Opportunities present themselves in the UK and abroad, with London and Manchester being the main April options and Edinburgh following on in May. Big mileage training blocks can prepare the runners for the rigours of the marathon distance, and many will take this on in January targeting the big 26.2 mile race!

Manchester is the first big marathon of the year and took place on Sunday 16th April. Seven harriers signed up originally for the race, but as is the case with these things, injuries and life in general can get in the way. Only three made it to the start line! This race has become more and more popular with Glenparkers recently, with the relatively flat route and strong field providing a PB opportunity. The race starts and finishes at Old Trafford Cricket Ground, and loops through the busy streets of Deansgate before heading south to Sale and Altrincham, with brilliant support along the whole route.

Cheryl Thomas had followed her training plan to the letter and was targeting sub 4 hours for the first time. With a half marathon PB in the weeks leading up to the race, Cheryl kept the form going and finished in 3.57! Cheryl’s previous best was 4.11, so a great 14 minute improvement. David Thomson was tackling his second marathon, but first in Glenpark Harriers colours, which makes all the difference and ensured he finished with a big PB in 3.44. David had previously ran Edinburgh in 3.58, so it was brilliant 14 minute progression to exceed his expectations.

Stephen Hanley was attempting his first marathon, but limped onto the start line having picked up a knee injury the week before. However, the adrenaline got him going, and he finished in 3.17, a pretty good debut all things considered! The three runners, cheered on by some tourists harriers down to support, had a great night celebrating the achievements with fellow runners from Newton Road Runners who all had a similarly great experience.

The UK’s biggest marathon is London, and those lucky enough through the ballot, charity or championship places always rave about the experience that comes with it. We were lucky to have five runners in the field this year among the approx. 48,000 runners! Some amazing scenes were witnessed at the elite level for those watching on TV, with Kiptum and Hassan putting on a show for the viewers. But the eagle eyed viewer might have spotted some of the famous Glenpark vests with Oliver Reilly, Liza Brydon and Fiona MacFarlane all getting their few seconds of fame on the BBC.

First back for the club was Wes Pattison in 2.44, taking a minute off his PB from Berlin last year. This was Wes’s 8th marathon, and first time at London, and keeps improving each time! Wes’s Bute counterpart Alan Poole also beat his PB from Berlin with a great run of 3.11, two minutes faster than previous in his third marathon.

Oliver Reilly has already bagged three of the six major marathons in his short but impressive marathon journey, and this was his second London. With a disrupted build up, Oliver really impressed in 2.50, with a very steady and even run. He will be hoping to have a real go at his 2.44 PB in Berlin later in the year. Liza Brydon followed the same plan as Stephen Hanley and Fiona MacFarlane, and broke the four hour mark at London in 3.55. An excellent run from Liza, who was caught on TV passing the famous Cutty Sark.

Fiona MacFarlane was raising money for Alzheimers Scotland after the sad passing of her father during her marathon build up. Getting to the start line after such events can be difficult, but seeing the money raised and messages of support flooding in must have been really inspirational. Fiona raised over £4,000 through the JustGiving page, an incredible total. As for the run itself, a lot like messers McColgan and Hanley, knees were troublesome in the buildup and particularly during the race. Nevertheless, Fiona got round in an amazing time of 3 hours 41!

Further afield, Liz Gemmell ran the Krakow marathon in 4.07. Liz regularly travels up to Greenock from Merseyside to run our club races, so a quick hop on the plane to Poland is nothing! This is only part one of the spring marathon reporting, and we look forward to seeing how our runners get on in Scotland’s biggest marathon in Edinburgh in four weeks’ time. May is a busy month, with runners competing at the Babcock series 10ks, the Scottish 5k champs, Masters 10k track champs and our own Willie Jukes Road race in Dunoon this Saturday. En Avant.