2015 London, Farnham Pilgrim and Brighton Marathons

London Marathon

2015 London Marathon, Rob Gilchrist, Elaine Ashby and Shirley Perrett running and group of runners with their medals after the race

A beaming band of Farnham Runners returned to Farnham, tired but elated after a good day at the 35th staging of the London Marathon. Conditions were ideal for the runners, once they got going, if a little chilly before the race and for spectators. Some personal best times were smashed and others ran the 26.2 mile distance for the first time.

They were cheered on by the usual hordes of supporters including an enthusiastic group from Farnham Runners, who displayed the club flag to spur them on to do their best when the going got tough. Some of the runners collected sponsor money for charity and between the fifteen in London and the six who ran the Brighton marathon two weeks before they raised over £2,000. This gives a total of £175,000 raised by Farnham Runners in marathons since 2001.

Three of the men achieved sub 3 hour times, expertly keeping a steady pace for the entire race.

Under the guidance of club coach Steve Gillingham, Rob Gilchrist’s rigorous training went well throughout and he was rewarded with an excellent time of 2 hours 52 minutes 1 second, a personal best of 10 minutes in his eighth marathon. To run a marathon under 3 hours has been a boyhood ambition of his for 30 years and the icing on the cake was beating Jenson Button! Next Jason East, clocked his second best time with 2:58:34, while Stuart Morel was over the moon to record 2:59:04 and take another huge 8 minute chunk from his previous best.

Charles Ashby, who won the tough Wigan marathon last year in 3:04:10 and whose best is 3:03, was pleased with 3:11:26 after reduced time for training. He was followed by Stephen Elliott-Nicholls in 3:19:02.

The next two achieved a “negative split”, completing the second half slightly faster than the first, which takes some doing and shows excellent pacing strategy. In her third marathon Emma Pearson finished first Farnham lady in a superb 3:28:18 and raised £400 for the Royal Marsden Hospital.

It was John Philip’s first attempt at the gruelling distance and he couldn’t have paced better, achieving his 3:30 target with 24 seconds to spare: 3:29:36. He raised almost £600 for Dementia Care.

Peter Chapman was over the moon to gain a personal best by 7 minutes in 3:46:31 while Mike Ashworth, in his sixth marathon, recorded 3:48:47. After minimal training Steve Kitney settled for 3:52:23, his best being 2:54.

Showing that age is no barrier Philip Masters posted a new personal best by 10 minutes, 4:22:21, for 111th in the M65-69 category, his previous marathons being the off road Farnham Pilgrim. He was sponsored to the tune of £500 for Motor Neurone Disease in memory of his mother.

Shirley Perrett came tantalisingly close to her 4:30 target and gained a new PB of 4:31:23 (58th W60-64).

A delighted Peter Strange aimed for sub 5 hours which is the M70-74 “Good for Age” limit. He smashed it with 4:50:24 to take 63rd in this category and be the first 70+ Farnham Runners member to run this distance, raising £300 for “Dreamflights” a charity that aims to give terminally ill children the holiday of a lifetime.

Elaine Ashby was thrilled to complete her first marathon, in 5:28:52.

Susie Chan, just 2 weeks after finishing the Marathon des Sables, enjoyed acting as a sub 4:45 pacer for Runners World.

Farnham Pilgrim Marathon

On the same day marathon man Hillary Carter, instigator of the Farnham Pilgrim races, ran his 163rd 26.2 miler in an impressive 4:16:59 at Blackpool.

Brighton Marathon

Conditions were warm in the Brighton marathon and not ideal for fast times. Stuart Williamson was first back for Farnham in 3:19:49, while Stuart Taylor clocked a PB by 8 minutes (3:23:01) and collected £200 for the MS (Multiple Sclerosis) society. Mark Maxwell and Mike Taylor followed in 3:25:08 and 3:31.31 respectively. Jessica Page in 4:28:50 raised funds for a number of charities with Alistair Wilson in 4:48:42.