This year, 11 members of Grantham Running Club made the journey North to Manchester to test the months of hard, long training and early mornings.
With near perfect running conditions on Sunday 16th April, the runners joined nearly 28,000 others at the Old Trafford Cricket stadium where they set off in waves. From the stadium, the runners made their way through the city centre, on to the suburbs of Sale and Altrincham before they turned around and headed back to the stadium finish line.
Throughout the 26.2 miles, the streets were lined with cheering friends, family and members of the public who provided an endless supply of sweets, power ups and high fives. The usual banter from the club members who had turned up to support them was very well received and provided some much-needed encouragement en route.
First home was Dean Riggall who continues to get better and better, in an amazing time of 2:57:52, knocking nearly 3 minutes off his previous best set at York Marathon the previous year. What’s more, Dean also ran in the London Marathon only a week later.
Next back for GRC was the always impressive Peter Bonner. He made his marathon debut at Manchester in 2022 and came back for more in 2023. His dedication to his training led to an astonishing time of 2:58:38 gave him an incredible PB by 21 minutes.
First GRC lady home was experienced marathon runner, Caroline Davis in a time of 3:46:00. This incredible time was only 1 minute 39 seconds off her current marathon PB set in Manchester in 2019.
Next home and completing his first marathon, Russell Maksymiw experienced the joys of hitting the wall at mile 21 but rallied himself to make it over the line in 3:48:53. Happy with a sub 4-hour was Simon Smith, who said he found the last bit “tough”, came in at 3:57:18.
Suffering from illness the night before and during the run made this a tough race for Warren Stark. With London only a week later Warren is hoping to improve on his time of 4:18:52.
Returning to Manchester for the second time and after a string of improved race times, Dale Towning was expected to beat his previous marathon PB. He certainly delivered by knocking a massive 1h 5m off his previous effort – finishing in 4:20:37. Hot on his heels was Naomi Rivers. Having only previously run the distance once as part of the Virtual London marathon in 2020, this was Naomi’s first official measured marathon. Her training, the atmosphere and the incredible support from family, friends and other GRC members had Naomi smiling the whole way round and she was over the moon with a 20-minute PB finishing in 4:25:49.
Completing his debut marathon in a time of 4:45:14 was Mark Rice whose goal was to complete the distance and enjoy the experience, both of which were achieved.
Soaking up the fabulous atmosphere and running to raise money for Young Lives ‘V’ Cancer, Suzanne Angeloni enjoyed every mile. Despite only having 6 weeks training due to an injury, Suzanne crossed the line in 5:02:10 which was a huge improvement of 11 minutes on her previous time.
From the halfway point, Kate Marshall battled foot pain to finish in 5:04:33. Whilst this was not Kate’s best run, she appreciated the crowd support throughout and was pleased with the medal and t-shirt that all finishers received at the end.
Report by Russell Maksymiw & Naomi Rivers