2016 London, Shakespeare and Brighton Marathons

London Marathon

Farnham Runners group before the start of the 2016 London Marathon

The 2016 London Marathon was special for two reasons: the countdown to the main start was given by British astronaut Tim Peake on the International Space station and the millionth finisher crossed the line since the race was first staged in 1981.

Nervous but excited after making a huge effort to train for this gruelling event, fifteen Farnham Runners lined up among the 40,000 entrants on a chilly but dry day. Many had raised sponsor money, almost £10,000 the estimated total, for a variety of charities.

They were supported on by the usual cheering crowds including an enthusiastic group from Farnham Runners, who displayed the club flag to spur them on at a number of points along the route. Some smashed their personal best times and others ran the 26.2 mile distance for the first time. However experienced they were, and whatever their pace and expectations, they all found the race a tough challenge.


Triptic of three Farnham Runners running in the 2016 London Marathon, (left to right), Rob Gilchrist, Steve Bailey and Tina Harrison

Farnham’s star performer, Sarah Hill led them in, her time an excellent 2 hour 55 minutes 17 seconds, which gave her 39th in the ladies race and 7th in her age category, Not far back was Rob Gilchrist in 2:56:56, his second impressive sub three hour result.

Next Stuart Morel had to settle for a fine 3:05:23 after his sub three hour time last year. All three were spotted on the BBC’s coverage of the race.

Steve Tyler has run a number of marathons, in the USA as well as Europe as since his first in 2012. His effort in London, where he clocked a personal best 3:27:06 was just three weeks after running the Paris marathon, one week after his Brighton race and one week before he plans to run the distance at Milton Keynes.

Charles Ashby overcame injury and a lack of recent training to complete the race in a steady 3:28:02, while Neil Ambrose, who joined the Farnham Runners Absolute Beginners group in 2013 paced well and was delighted to finish his first attempt at the distance in 3:30:08. He raised £1,100 for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Second Farnham lady, Emma Pearson couldn’t quite match her time of last year but was pleased with 3:30:41, collecting £400 for the Royal Marsden Cancer charity.

Next Steve Bailey was over the moon to chop sixteen minutes from his previous best for 3:33:19 after his training had gone to plan.

The next four runners were all running in their first marathon and all ducked under the “good club runner’s” four hour target after dedicated training. Nicola Douglas clocked a splendid 3:54:36 to raise £1,300 for Family Action, the UK’s leading family charity, with Lucy Hogg just one minute behind in 3:55:36, collecting £2,200 for CLIC Sargent, a children’s cancer charity. Greg Strutton was proud to be sponsored to the tune of £2,200 for the NSPCC and clocked 3:58:16 while Tina Harrison will make a donation to a Breast Cancer charity after achieving 3:58:54 and making very good use of her club entry for the race.

World record holder for the ladies distance on a treadmill in 12hours, Susie Chan, was chosen for the second year to be a Runner’s World pacer, for sub four hours this time and she guided them expertly to the finish in 3:59:23.

Peter Strange enjoyed completing another marathon, in 5:17:36, while Jenny Andrews was delighted to finish in 5:29:00 and raise £2,100 for Citizen’s Advice, Waverley.

Shakespeare Marathon

On the same day Peter Chapman and newcomer James Musgrave chose the much quieter Shakespeare Marathon through the pleasant Warwickshire countryside. Peter achieved a new best of 3:41:53 in his tenth marathon while James battled to the finish in 3:58:01.

Brighton Marathon

The previous week in sunny conditions, nine Farnham Runners were among over 9,000 who completed the Brighton Marathon, the biggest field so far in its seven year history.

Mike Taylor was first home for the club in 3:34:23, followed by Steve Tyler in 3:35:18. Paul Mackie, John Walker and Tara Hunt were encouraged by all the fantastic support and atmosphere and delighted with new personal bests of 3:43:17, 3:46:33 and 4:05:01 respectively. Alistair Wilson enjoyed the race and clocked 4:34:16 while Ollie Drewery found his first marathon tough (4:36:15). Shirley Perrett raised £300 for the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society with her 4:53:10, while Jenni Rayner recorded 5:56:44 on her debut.