Enjoying life in London fast lane

PUBLISHED: 10:00 29 April 2009 | UPDATED: 23:26 15 June 2010

London Marathon weekend is always a highlight of the running year.

HONITON RUNNING CLUBLondon Marathon weekend is always a highlight of the running year as athletes congregate from all over the world to celebrate this annual festival which unites the worlds of serious running with spectacular charity fundraising. The 29th running of the event was the culmination of winter training of 10 Honiton Running Club members with some excellent times being witnessed by the Honiton supporters who had travelled on the day to add their voices to the thousands on the route at Tower Bridge. Fran Bond has only been running competitively for a few years so was a little daunted when she got a club ticket to run the marathon. The low-key New Forest marathon last summer was her first run at this distance but the London was going to be a whole different ball game. Fran had set a target of 3 hours 30 minutes, based her training on this time and had run some promising races on the build up. After the initial crowded start, Fran settled into a good rhythm and steadily knocked off each 5k split at 24 minutes to finish in an excellent new personal best of 3.24.34. While Fran ran a consistent pace Richard Harris, another relative marathon novice, had set off a little speedier and soon settled to a sustainable pace but still led the Honiton pack until 25k. Richard, who has only been running for 18 months, completed last year's London in about 4.30 and the New York Marathon last November in about 3.50. Although he slowed a little towards the end of the run he came home overjoyed at smashing his best time by 20 minutes to finish in 3.30.15. Judy Davey has been a racer for a couple of years and has been consistently chipping away at her finish times since she started. After a slow start Judy also settled to a steady pace which she managed to maintain throughout the 26 miles to also finish with a best time of 3.38.35. Marie Wadey has had a turbulent year but the birth of a baby last summer didn't stop her entering London. After steadily coming back to form recently Marie had a good race to finish in an excellent 3.45.00. John Burgess was a little disappointed with his run after some good results in recent racing and training but felt better than on any of his previous marathons. His pacing was better, although the section through Canary Wharf was difficult and he lost his sub-9 min/mile pace at about 17-18 miles and thought he was not going to break four hours. But at 20 miles he realised that a sub-4 was still on so he kept plugging away. The last mile seemed to go on for ever but John was very pleased to see the clock on 4.01 at the finish as he knew then that his personal time must be under four hours after several attempts to break that barrier. Sarah Lowman also got a club place in the marathon and trained steadily through the spring to get to the start line in good shape. Sarah started at a good pace but steadily slowed throughout the race to finish in a respectable time of 4.20.13. Nikki Campbell set off at a sensible pace and maintained it throughout the race with about a 30 second difference for each 5k split. This is the most economic way to run a marathon and Nikki was rewarded with a time of 4.19.57. Tracey Dingle and Tina Stevens have been training steadily throughout the winter for their first ever marathon. They managed a gentle pace throughout the run but slowed slightly towards the finish in 5.18.46 for Tracey and 5.24.44 for Tina. Mickie Dicks was another marathon virgin who, like many of the other Honiton ladies, came to running via the Race For Life training. Three years ago Mickie would have thought it impossible to even consider running a marathon but there she was on Sunday morning lining up with 36,000 others to see if she could realise the dream. After a steady start Mickie had to wait 15 minutes in a queue for the loo but wasn't worried about a finish time so just enjoyed the run and soaked up the atmosphere. She finished with sore feet but with lots of lovely memories in a time of 5.49.36.AXE VALLEY RUNNERSAnyone looking at the times for Graham Vere (4:27:26) and Dave Mutter (4:39:07) in the London Marathon may think their sponsor money was easily earned. Nothing could be further from the truth. Both Graham, in his first marathon and Dave, his 12th London, found that from very early on they were unable to breathe very easily, with only a slight amount of effort producing a sickly feeling in the pit of their stomachs. This was very strange as both had run much better in their long training runs and had tapered correctly for the event, maybe it was the heat. Dave's legs even began to hurt at seven miles and by the eight mile mark he would have pulled out were it not for being sponsored. There was much walking by both, but at the end Graham had perked up and managed a "sprint" to cross the line. Dave however struggled over the line and immediately emptied his stomach over a barrier. Graham was very pleased to have finished, but Dave was very disappointed as this was by far his slowest marathon - nothing to do with age though! So Graham's "Julia's House" and Dave's Beer Scouts will now hopefully benefit from their arduous endeavours. Dawn Potter, running her first London but second marathon thought that it was a fantastic experience which she thoroughly enjoyed, with the exception of the middle third when she thinks the heat had really got to her. Up to about 17 miles Dawn was on course for a PB (possibly about 4 hours 40 minutes). At that stage though she really lost the plot as, while searching for the water station, became convinced that they must have forgotten to put one out at that mile. Dawn started to hyperventilate and was on the verge of a panic attack! Just as she was about to find someone official to plead to, the water station miraculously appeared around the corner. Things got a bit better after 20 miles with the realisation that she was on the home straight and was helped by a lovely lady (Mary) from Jersey Spartans. Together they encouraged each other right to the finish line, even having enough energy for a sprint finish. Unfortunately the pacey finish wasn't quite good enough to break five hours, being just 26 seconds over - Dawn shouldn't have stopped to kiss husband Steve at seven and 23 miles - costly error!! Nonetheless given the heat, she was quite happy with her time, but did ask that for next year please can it be cooler, with a few showers! This was the last year for Flora to sponsor the London Marathon having successfully sponsored the event for the last 14 years. Virgin are sponsoring the 2010 event and entry is now open online at www.virginlondonmarathon.com l Away from London, Harry Moore completed the Bristol Pensford 10k in 83:55, finishing second over 70 runner category.

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