Not daunted by the consideration that the course from Marathon to Athens had taken its toll of great runners from Pheidippides to Paula Ratcliffe, BNFL shift co-ordinator, Ian Royston, put his life on the line in a sponsored run of the original and toughest Marathon. His purpose to raise money for Westcroft Surgery and the Great North Air Ambulance has already proved a great success, having already yielded more than £1,500.
He can also be very proud of his performance. Despite injuring his knee in a road accident three weeks earlier, he finished the course in 3 hours 21 minutes 55 seconds, the first Briton in his age group, and the eleventh Briton of all age groups out of one hundred and twenty-five who finished the gruelling course.
The weather was very kind to the runners on this occasion. They were off to a cool start early in the morning and later clouds prevented the temperature from rising above 20°C. Starting cautiously, uncertain how his knee would stand up to the course, he grew more confident, encouraged by the clearly marked kilometers he was notching up. He was comfortably within his target time of three and a half hours, and kept up a strong pace in the punishing thirteen mile uphill stretch in the second half of the race. He was kept going by the thought of the Olympic Stadium - such a stunning place to finish a race! He was overtaken by Superman at 35 km, but supects that the great man might have been using illegal propulsion.
Among the great guys he met was a Scottish runner who at the age of fifty-five was trying to notch up his hundredth sub three and a half hour marathon. He narrowly missed his target and will have to try again in Honolulu next month.
Anyone who would like to boost donation Ian will be making to Westcroft Surgery and the Air Ambulance should contact him on 01946 823118 or by email at email@example.com.
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