Two personal bests, two debutantes and a DNF were the order of the day for Heanor Running Club at the London Marathon on Sunday as Rose Leivers, Carl Hughes, Lee Perkins, Marie Mann and Dale Annable tackled the 26.2 mile distance.
In perfect sunshine and rising temperatures, the five in yellow and blue followed in double-world and Olympic champion Mo Farah’s footsteps for the marathon at 10:00am to take in all the sights of the capital, including the Cutty Sark, Canary Wharf, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace in what was the 34th running of the mass-participation event.
Rose Leivers and Carl Hughes ensured the long months of winter training paid off handsomely as they were both rewarded with huge new personal bests.
Under the guidance of Heanor RC’s UKA-qualified coach Rob Rainsford, the hours of preparation were put to good use as Rose and Carl slashed 18 and 14 minutes off their previous best times respectively.
Rose set her previous best of 4:06:33 on her marathon debut in Manchester two years ago and said before the race that she hoped to dip inside the four-hour mark for the first time.
Hitting that target never looked in doubt and it instead became a question of by how much as the 22-year-old went through halfway in 1:51:23 and remained on course throughout the second half to smash her target time.
Crossing the line in 3:48:48 Rose said afterwards that she “loved the experience” and that “it was worth all the training.”
Carl was equally ecstatic with his personal best after running a well-judged race in only his second marathon appearance. Following a 3:20:09 debut in Blackpool 12 months ago, Carl wanted to be in and around the three-hour mark and the 37-year-old old duly delivered. Going through halfway in 1:30:08, Carl admitted he was “ready to celebrate” as he finished in 3:06:16.
Making his delayed marathon debut, Lee Perkins showed relaxation and enjoyment are just as key to a good performance as all the hard miles as he breezed his way round to a time of 3:10:03.
An interrupted 16-week marathon build-up, including a recurring knee problem and pulled calf muscle, Lee’s highest weekly mileage ahead of the race was a touch over 30 miles at weeks four and 12.
Considering he ran five-sixths of that weekly total in one go on Sunday – and with a smile on his face – Lee’s run was impressive, leading him to comment afterwards, “marathon running – I don’t know what all the fuss is about.”
Dale Annable unfortunately found the opposite to be the case as he was forced to pull out of the race at the 20-mile mark.
In what was his first marathon, Dale became a member of the not-much-coveted DNF club and admitted that, after going through halfway in 71:15, he set off too fast, “started dying at 16 miles and dropped out at 20-mile marker.”
One of Heanor RC’s newest recruits, Marie Mann, made her marathon debut on Sunday and was also raising money for the charity Epilepsy Action in the process.
One of the reasons Marie ran the marathon was to raise awareness of the condition after her husband was diagnosed with epilepsy 12 months ago. After crossing the line in 4:50:25, seven minutes in front of Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, Marie is within touching distance of her £1,750 target. To find out more details about Marie’s marathon debut, reasons for running and to make a donation see https://www.justgiving.com/marie-mann/