London this year was a big highlight for many. Weather was ideal for racing and almost every coachee had a very fine run relatively to their level and experience. First home was Alex L, who I have coached towards his debut marathon since December 2022 (he is already National 10k champion with 28.47 PB) so his 2.15.01, for 15th place in the whole field and 6th Brit (beaten only by GB Olympians and Internationals) was a very strong debut. As a generic coaching point, his garmin had a truly bad day – it showed him covering a somewhat extended 27.3 miles(!), with a heart rate of a measly 129 after a 4.58 opening mile yet soaring to 182 after the 2nd mile. Neither bits of statistical nonsense bothered him en route, which is as it should be.
Setting highly deserved PBs both at 2.26 and both improving by about 90 seconds were Nick Impey and George Suthon – and both ran negative splits too. Nick had planned to pace a friend to 2.40 until the week before the race! Close behind was Martin Green , yet another super 2.30 in his 49th year. Then a big 5 min PB of 2.37 by Fred Damas and not far behind was Frank S, his fine 2.42 a PB by 3 minutes. Next home with his first marathon as a 55 year old, Paul H ran tremendously well to log 2.52.
Leading women, running really even well judged races, were Immie M with 2.57, a 12 minute PB, and just seconds behind on 2.58 followed Kate M, herself with an 11 minute PB. Then the meticulous 64 year old Clive A with 3.08, the best as he’s ever achieved with age factored in. Racing simultaneously in Vienna, Alessandro P ran 2.54, taking his 2022 PB apart by a 24 minute margin, which I don’t think he or I had foreseen a year ago. While over in Madrid at the same time, dealing with a hilly course, hot weather, and 700 metres altitude, Catherine E ran excellently to score 3.34, a 12 minute PB in her second marathon, based on 4 runs per week (so far!) Some fine debuts by some much newer runners too, creeping under 3.30.
Prior to London, big improvements notched up by Welsh runner Hallam Girardet with wins in the Les Croupiers Cardiff 10 miles in 54.58 followed by the Berkeley half marathon in 71.28 and a very pleasing 2.35 at the Newport half marathon, all substantial PBs.
Much more seasoned Welsh compatriot Martin Green has held things together amazingly well in his 49th year including a new half marathon PB of 71.33 at Wrexham plus fast 10ks of 33.07 at Chester and 30k at Rhayader in 1 hour 48, placing 3rd in the race and as ever right at the front of his age group at national level in his London Marathon build up. George H picked up a half marathon win in Olympic park with low 75 mins, whilst in Cannes at a similar level Frank S took his won Half Marathon PB down to high 76 minutes.
A lively handful of Masters runners raced the ever-difficult Boston Marathon and arguable highlight was Jan F with a big PB of 3.27 in the 50+ category, and also a worthy-of-PB 3.35 by 63 year old Bob Empson the inspirational Fulham Runner.
Clive A from Berkshire ran a very impressive 88 mins at the Reading Half in his 65th year, backed up by 2.20 over the Bramley 20 miles and a near PB in parkrun of 19.38. Immie M scored PBs at 5k and the Cambridge Half Marathon (by nearly four minutes) HM with 18.12 and 82.08 respectively. Isaac L’s 10k PB came down nicely to 33.23 at Battersea whilst Kate R raced within 7 seconds of her HM PB of 88 mins after taking much of 2022 away from any running. Speedy 55 year old Paul H has pushed on very well with a 79.56 Half Marathon at Fleet and equally impressive 2 hours 6 minutes at the Essex 20 miles. In the same 20 miler Cara P ran a strong 20 miles in 2.20 in her own marathon prep and won the V40 category in the very hilly Coniston 14 miles in 97 mins.