The London Marathon is the same 26.2 mile distance as any other, but it is hard to compare in many other respects – the number participating (35,000 this year), the first-class organisation, the millions raised for charity over the years, the crazy outfits, the bands, the noise, the atmosphere and the sheer volume of spectators.
The glorious weather was a bonus for those jam packed on the sidelines cheering on the field this year, but perhaps not for those pounding the tarmac who dislike the heat or who had chosen to don fancy dress.
Jersey’s own ‘Superman’ Bryce Alford was one of whose who had to adjust his target during the race. He was aiming to beat the ‘Superhero’ marathon record of 2 hr 49 min 50sec and was pretty much on target up to 17 miles.
‘I am normally ok in the heat, but dressed in the costume, I did find it hot and it affected me. With all the training that I’d been doing, I was on track up to 17 miles, but I’d had a hectic day on Saturday and began to feel really tired. I knew I wasn’t going to get the record so I decided to make it more of an enjoyable event.
‘There was so much support from the crowd, I made the most of it and even stopped to have a chat with Sarah (Corcoran) who was in the crowd, and then picked up the pace a bit for the last three miles.’
A member of the Jersey Spartan Athletic Club, Bryce finished in 3.10.20 and hopes to have another attempt at the record at next year’s Berlin Marathon.
Mark Hucker was one of the fastest Jersey runners across the line, finishing in 3hr 01 min 02 sec.
Although he was hoping to get under the three hours for his third attempt at the 26.2-mile distance, he was delighted to have improved by eight minutes on last year and enjoyed the whole day.
The 47-year-old managing director of Key Trust Company Ltd, who raised £600 for Phab Kids (a charity which promotes greater integration between those with and without physical disabilities), had been running between 30 and 40 miles per week in training. And, although, like others, he found the heat affected his performance, he thoroughly enjoyed the day.
‘It was a fantastic event to have done, a brilliant day and a wonderful experience – I’d recommend it to anyone,’ he said.
Georgina Cottini’s preparations for her first marathon involved getting married in the Caribbean the week before.
But the vice-chairman of the Lady Taverners, who raised £3,000 for the organisation, was not put off. ‘After agreeing to do the marathon my fiancé and I decided to go to the Caribbean to get married, only returning the week before,’ she said. ‘So even though I didn’t train as much as I should have, the heat didn’t bother me as I was already acclimatised. I finished in 4hr 25min 37secs. I can’t wait till next year and with the proper training would like to be inside four hours.’
Jersey Spartan athlete and experienced marathon runner Rob Douglas (46), was also aiming for sub-three hours, but finished in 3.05.04.
‘I was reasonably happy with the time,’ he said. ‘I was hoping to do under three hours and was on course for that up to about 15, but it was very hot. And when I knew I wasn’t going to make it, I wasn’t too bothered whether it was three, four or five minutes over.’
Rob, who has completed over 30 marathons, including 12 in London, and has a best time of 2.29, said that although very warm, a bonus was that conditions were perfect for the crowds of spectators lining the route. ‘The crowds were sensational,’ he said. ‘The biggest I have ever seen and they were deafening.’ Rob, a senior manager, at Stonehage Trust (Holdings) Limited was among 12 employees of the firm who completed the marathon, most of whom had never run at all before January of this year.
The other times were Adrian Osborne 4:24.14; Peter Unwin 4:59.57; Vicky Golder 5:17.01; Zek Lappin 5:04.55; Robbie Whittaker, one week after winning the Upton Trophy with St Paul’s FC, 5:18.42; Kerrie-anne Bizouarn and Nathan Petty 5:57.19: Camilla Stoneman 6:19.06; Pam Watson 7:53.58 (all running their first marathon; Louise Banks 5:20.46, (second marathon); Ian Crosby 4:39.08.ROB DOUGLAS and team from Stonehage Trust
Although he collapsed at 16 miles, 32-year-old Simon Moloney picked himself up to finish in 4.29, raising £2,200 for the Make a Wish Foundation. ‘After 16 miles, I blacked out,’ he said. ‘I had no idea what happened. One minute I was running, the next I was on the ground, out cold! In the end, I jjust picked myself up and carried on going.’
Married with a daughter and another child on the way, the associate vice-president of hedge fund company Ermitage (Jersey) said that he was especially drawn to a charity which grants make-a-wish grants to seriously ill children.
Despite struggling with a virus and being knocked down by another runner at five miles, Vicky Barratt finished the race in 3.27.02, just five seconds quicker than her previous best which was in Jersey last year.
‘At about five miles, I got knocked down by a male runner and suffered fairly bad bruising to my shoulder, hip and elbow and my hand swelled up,’ said Vicky, who was raising money for a children’s charity.
‘However, with the help of someone dressed up as a cat in the hat, I got back up and carried on running. Unfortunately when I fell many of the jelly babies I was carrying for fuel fell out of my pocket and I was left to run the next 21 miles allowing myself one per two miles!
‘The last eight miles took their toll as the midday heat made conditions a lot more challenging and the St John ambulance team were dealing with casualties en route.
‘I was delighted to see Richard (Watts) with his Jersey Variety Club shirt ahead of me and to hear Sarah Corcoran in the crowd cheering me on.
‘As always with a marathon, the fatigue you feel post-20 miles is forgotten as you cross the line and receive your medal, and for me I hadn’t even reached the meeting point before I said One more London!’
Natasha Stone likened the experience to the round-the-Island Itex Walk, and was another who was affected by the heat.
‘It was so hot, particularly from about mile 11. The heat was incredible and slowed me down. And also, there were so many people around me – I wasn’t prepared for that.’
She was pleased to keep running the whole way, however, and finished in 4.57.32.
Natasha was running in aid of the Hope for John charity, set up in aid of her friend Alice Morgan’s son, John Sharp (19), who suffers from a very rare condition, known as Lafora disease. Alice, holidng a picture of her son, is pictured with Natasha.
Airport fire fighter Sam Horsfall was delighted with her time of 3.35.32, especially as she had only done two long training runs. It was ten minutes outside her best, but her main target was to raise money for Jersey Hospice in memory of her father.
‘The atmosphere in London was amazing and the crowds were unbelievable, sometimes deafening,’ she said. ‘It was extremely warm running, I think the temperature reached 23c with no breeze, so the showers they provided along the course were a very welcome relief.’
Sam is engaged to Bomber Lee and the couple are planning to run the Marathon again next year for their honeymoon.
ANNA MESSERVY-JONES AND JEREMY JOHNSON
Anna Messervy-Jones and Jeremy Johnson ran in aid of the RNLI, raising over £6,500 between them.
Jeremy ran his first marathon last year at the age of 60 and thoroughly enjoyed his second effort, finishing in 4.45.14. He raised £2,230, including sponsorship from his employers Hawksford International.Jeremy Johnson and Anna Messervy-Evans, pictured in training Anna Messervy-Evans
Anna, whose husband is a member of both the Chiswick and Jersey lifeboat crews, was running her third marathon and said that this was definitely the best in terms of atmosphere and enjoyment, so much so that she has already signed up for next year. She finished the 26.2 miles in 4.42. 51 and has raised £4.500 so far, with donations still coming in.
Angela Raimbault, who won her place in the Jersey Spartan Athletic Club draw, also ran in aid of the RNLI and, despite injury during training, finished in 5.13. ‘It was almost an hour slower than my only other marathon 16 years ago,’ she said. ‘My training was hampered by injury, but I decided to run anyway, enjoy the atmosphere and raise as much money as I could for Lifeboats without worrying about my time. The whole day was great, terrific atmosphere and great organisation.’
Ana Goncalves (pictured), who was raising money for Headway, finished in 5.01.42, having recently recovered from injury. She ran and finished with Cathy Piper, who knocked a massive 35 minutes off her previous best time.
HEADWAY JERSEYA team of 20 runners raised over £20,000 for Headway Jersey and were thanked by their chief executive Ray Cooper. ‘This is great news for Island brain injury survivors,’ he said. ‘The money will be used to help us to implement and continue with our rehabilitation programmes for each of our members. ‘
Several of the team were running in memory of friends or relatives affected by brain injuries, including Lisa Jeune who finished what was her first marathon in 4.47.31. ‘I chose Headway to support because it is of a personal meaning to me.
Three friends and one family member passed away due to head injuries, I ran with their pictures on the back of my vest,’ she said. She, like others, also enjoyed the whole experience and atmosphere and hope to take part in future marathons.
The others in the Headway team were as follows: Bryce Alford, in Superman costume, 3:10:20; brothers Gerard and Julian Le Mière (first marathon) 3:35:33; Spencer Wells 3:46:50; John Montgomery 3:49:36; Adrian Gordon 3:49:53; Simon Lester 4:10:37; Joanne Lloyd 4:37:25; Diane Zachariou 4:38:31; Rinaldo Marcoz 4:40:25; Lyndon Farnham 4:41:37; Brian Smith 4:49:23; David Troy 4:49:36; Giles and Ian Johnstone-Scott 4:51:54; Ana Goncalves 5:01:42; Iain George 5:03:13; Peter Blampied 5:09:10; Alister Gallichan, 3.56.
Other Islanders who completed the marathon included Robert Brown, 3.22.28 (Stop the Traffik charity): Judith Russell, 4.08.36; Victor Gonsalves, 4.28.15; Allison McGrath, 4.37.26 (Eve Appeal for ovarian cancer); Ben Campbelton, 5.01.42 (Sense charity for the deaf and blind); and another Jersey Spartan member whose training was marred by injury, Mary McGrath, 5.07.05.
• VARIETY CLUB of JERSEY team: Click here
• Next year’s London Marathon will be sponsored by Virgin, after Flora ended their long association with the race this year.
The ballot entry for places has already closed, but you can, of course, enter the Standard Chartered Jersey Marathon, relay and JEP 3km fun on 27 September. Details can be found on the Jersey Marathon website: Click here