KENT AC RUNNERS SHINE AS TEMPERATURES SOAR
Despite the arduous conditions, the 2018 London Marathon was another when the club’s runners, in particular, but also supporters did everyone proud. As most people are aware, Sunday’s race was the hottest London Marathon on record, with runners enduring temperatures that reached over 23 degrees. And we had plenty of runners stepping up to the challenge – not quite the biggest for any club this year, but not far off it.
Unsurprisingly, in the brutal heat (Stuart’s apt description) a lot of Kent AC runners were affected by the temperatures and perhaps didn’t register the times they had hoped for. Nevertheless, there were still some very fine performances from both our men and women.
On the men’s side, John Gilbert, coming off the back of a magnificent winter, was less than 20 seconds away from breaking 2.20 again. Judging by recent performances, if conditions had been better there looked a strong possibility that John might have been able to match or possibly better his 2.15.49 PB. However, it seems that as with so many, the heat took a bit of a toll. Typically though, John gave it a real go. His first half was completed in 67.38 whereas the second half was quite a bit down on that. Nevertheless, John was on for being first in the non-elite race, but was passed late on by Belgrave’s new Kiwi acquisition.
John was less than three minutes behind Liverpool’s Johnny Mellor who had started on the elite start. Despite all this, John for some reason didn’t rate a mention on the BBC commentary or the top finishers caption they have at the end of the broadcast. Our next man home is developing into a bit of a marathon specialist- sporting his familiar cap throughout, Pete Lighting. Incredibly in the blazing heat he was only a few seconds down on his marathon PB. Not many people could claim that on such a tough day for running. Perhaps’ Pete’s specially adapted for hot weather. We had an American visitor, Daniel Glaz, coming in before Russell Bentley. People were puzzled who he was at the start and during the race. Clearly a fine runner, at the moment we’re not sure how much more we’ll see of him. In any event it was an impressive first appearance for the club. Russell has been very close to breaking 2.20 and his relay leg at the 12 stage had suggested he was in good shape. Unfortunately the heat clearly had an impact on Russell’s race. If you’ve kept up to date with his excellent blog you’ll know how much hard graft and effort had gone into his preparation. But although disappointed, he’ll know that that he fared better that a lot of quality runners who were way down on their target times. In terms of the club competition we have to exclude our American friend so it was John Gilbert, Pete and Russell. As things stand I can’t give you a definitive answer where we came in the team stakes. We were possibly second, but that is by no means certain. There are various factors at play, including the eligibility of certain of the runners belonging to other clubs. However, James Bowler has examined things closely and come up with a stat that demonstrates just how strong we are as a club. With a host or runners under 3 hours, and a good number under 2.40 we might have two other teams inside the top 10 clubs. The second team (possibly coming fifth) consisting of Lawrence Avery, James himself and then Gareth Anderson. Then a team consisting of Phil Sanders, Che Compton, and Joe Hartley also making the top ten teams. We’ll have to wait and see to be precise about it. In terms of those just mentioned, all who did incredibly well, perhaps a word about two in particular. In spite of the heat both Gareth Anderson and Joe Hartley achieved PB’s – Gareth’s was by some margin as well. On the subject of Gareth, I think many of you will have heard he’s shortly off to Washington for three years. He’s been a great servant of the club and I know we all wish him well. Hopefully on trips back home he might make a cameo appearance for us. As reported last week, Joe Hartley caused a bit of concern at the 12 stage when he clearly suffered during his leg. However, over the marathon distance he held things together and was rewarded with a PB.
Whilst it’s already received coverage, Stuart Beaney’s liaison with the man who received so much publicity, Rob Pope, deserves a mention here. Stuart (2.42.25) was another who put in a strong performance considering the weather. However, his other claim to fame on the day was his association with the aforementioned Rob Pope. Pope is the man who got a lot of TV coverage. He’s the guy who broke the record of the fastest marathon in film character costume. He was dressed head to foot as Forrest Gump. He’s also became something of a celebrity as in 2016 he set out to emulate the epic run across America carried out by Gump in the Oscar winning movie. Anyway, with a similar length beard, Stuart has recounted how he was getting constantly shouted at during the race as people were mistaking him for Pope (Gump!). The story gets better though. During the race, Pope, who was initially behind Stuart stopped for a chat before moving on. Then, through sheer coincidence, Pope chose The Chandos for his post -race refreshment stop. With Stuart sporting his name on his back, Cope’s voice boomed out “Beaney” and a meeting of the two celebrities took place. All the other men’s excellent performances will be listed, but before moving on just one more name check – that of Tom Webb. I know Tom has been really determined to break 3 hours. I also know his pre marathon running indicated that he was definitely on to break the barrier. But I see he is listed as 3.00.09. Oh, the pain, we feel for you Tom.
Contained within the women’s race is a story, courtesy of Stuart, that you’d probably only get from Kent AC. Adrian Lowther (PB 2:27) was warming up (in his distinctive gear) for his designated role of pacer for Victoria Buck. You might be wondering why Adrian needed to warm up quite so thoroughly, but that’s another story.
The aim was to try and get Victoria to a sub three-hour clocking. However, it seems that in his delight at seeing John Gibert in the warm up area, Adrian yelled out an enthusiastic greeting and in so doing he managed to trip on the curb and do some serious damage to his foot. Not wishing to scupper the plan, Adrian apparently sought to conceal his pain and carry out his pacer role. Along the way, Vic reports that she was very much aware that something was up, despite Adrian trying to conceal his agony.
Remarkably, Adrian managed to get well past half way before he had to call it a day. After calling a halt in some considerable pain, he was tended by paramedics and taken to hospital. Although a break wasn’t revealed, severe ligament damage was identified and Adrian was suitably bandaged and kitted out with crutches. Of course, being true to the Kent AC spirt such a mishap wasn’t going to prevent him getting to the pub: Adrian eventually made it to The Chandos, fashionably late and replete with crutches. In terms of Victoria’s race, after Adrian dropped out she continued to run strongly, but on the day the 3 hour target proved a big ask. However, her time of 3.12 was more than respectable – especially as she is in the V40 category. Also now in the V40 category was our first runner home, Teresa Murphy. Teresa was just over a minute ahead of Victoria, but again pretty high up in her age category. Our third runner in terms of the team competition was concerned was Alison Thompson. She came in less than 3 minutes behind Victoria. Whilst they were good times, perhaps not quite what they had hoped for. But of course, the target times didn’t bargain for the weather being quite so hot. A look at our women’s results will show there were lots of highly creditable runs – perhaps all the more so as they were achieved in such testing conditions. It’s a bit invidious to pick out names, so take a look at the results and see how well the rest of our women performed. Nevertheless, I will give a brief note of congratulation to Val Fairbrass, for getting round the course in some style – not that far I noted behind Adrian Musson. Val, is of course the wife of Dennis, who I believe at one time held the marathon record for a Kent AC runner. However, I think it is a safe bet to say that Dennis won’t be running a marathon any time soon.
|James||Savage||1530||Chorlton||2nd Claim, ex KAC||1:14:44||2:31:51||40||40||34||18-39||M||1:17:07||02:23|
|James||Bowler||1323||2:27:30||02:26||KAC||although the weather may put the boot in on that!||1:14:22||2:34:24||64||64||55||18-39||M||behind||1:20:02||05:40|
Some Photos here: