Virgin London Marathon 2017

London Marathon 23-4-17

Nicos, Ian, Jeff, Penny, Vicky, Nicki, Jess, Neil and Mark (straight back on the training) Stone showing off their VLM medals.

Nicos, Ian, Jeff, Penny, Vicky, Nicki, Jess, Neil and Mark (straight back on the training) Stone showing off their VLM medals.

40 000 hopefuls took to the streets of London on Sunday for the 37th London Marathon. Amongst them were nine Great Yarmouth Road Runners. 

The conditions were good for marathon running with a mixture of sunshine and cloud.  It remained dry with no noticeable wind.  GYRR were supported along the route by countless family and friends.  Particular thanks go to the packed minibus of club supporters who provided a lifeline of cheers and encouragement to the runners passing at mile 13 again at the 22 mile point. 

Taking on the 26.2 mile challenge is a battle of physical strength and endurance but it also tests your mental strength.  Coming out on top for the club was the experienced Vicky Quantrill.  Vicky ran her 5th London Marathon in her 2nd fastest time of 3.22.44.  Everyone looks up to Vicky at the club for her ability to maintain a fast pace over such a long distance.

It was an emotional day for two of GYRR’s longest serving members.  Neil Sibley, who has competed in an impressive 10 London Marathons, decided to hang up his London trainers.  He was delighted to bid farewell to the capital with a sub 3.30 time of 3.28.53.  Jeff Helmore ran his 9th and final marathon in a time of 3.54.57, raising in excess of £2500 for the charity ‘Action for Children’ in the process. Both Neil and Jeff were a long way off their best times but it was a fitting tribute to London for them to race one last time in a marathon that holds many special memories.

The first PB (Personal Best) of the day came from the in-form Penny Studley.  London has become a firm favourite in the calendar for Penny who ran her 5th consecutive London Marathon in 3.39.45.  Ian Tooley, running for Action for Hunger, ran a solid race to finish in 3.42.18 which was also a PB. 

Injury can strike at any time and for Nicola Baker, earlier in the season, it was doubtful she would make the start line but she showed her true strength and determination to battle through to run her 5th marathon in a new PB time of 3.44.20. 

For years Mark Stone has been desperate to run in this iconic race.  He was lucky to receive one of the highly sought-after club places.  He raced bravely finishing in 3.52.17.  The 2nd club place was awarded to Jessica Vincent.  This was Jessica’s first marathon.  She did what few first-timers manage to achieve - working hard to break the 4 hour barrier. Jess looked comfortable throughout managing an evenly paced run to finish in 3.59.01.  Furthermore, Jess raised £1960 for the East Anglia Air Ambulance which she dedicated to the memory of local man, and family friend, Jack Southey. 

Jess finishing her debut marathon.

Jess finishing her debut marathon.

Putting in a Stone Age performance was a veteran at the marathon distance Nicos Symeou.  He ran his 20th London Marathon dressed as Barney Rubble with his son as Fred Flintstone.  They raised £500 for a local charity called GYBB which helps the homeless.  Nicos was carrying an injury so was pleased to finish in 5.09.45.  Elaine Haggarty who runs for GYDAC but is 2nd claim to GYRR ran her final London Marathon in a pleasing 5.22.

Well done to everyone.  London is a very special marathon and as gruelling as it is for the competitors I’m sure we’ll see record numbers returning to do it all over again in 2018.