Ryston Runner Bensley breaks three-hour London Marathon barrier

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Several of the Ryston Runners members running in the London Marathon on Sunday had earned “good for age” places, or were raising funds for charities, but for all it was a memorable day.

Fastest run by a Ryston member was Nic Bensley who broke the three-hour barrier with a strong yet relaxed 2:57:25, which placed him in the top 200 in the M45 category.

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Simon Able also broke this barrier, finishing just a minute behind Nic in 2:58:25. Just the other side of the three hour mark, Che Plant ran 3:03:29 and a resurgent Martin Ive (M45) 3:09:10, before Jo Isbill (W50) headed home the Ryston women in 3:25:04, with Heather Beattie hot on her heels with a massive PB time of 3:27:16.

Andy Wicklen ran 3:32:53, proving his ability after sacrificing his target last year to help out another runner in trouble. Mel Reed was next over the line in 3:47:30, with Jeremy Navrady, running for EVAC, not far behind in 3:51:05.

Eamonn McCusker (M60) who has countless marathons under his belt, clocked 3:55:47, and Barry Smith, who had run the Bungay Marathon the previous weekend, completed the list of those achieving sub four hours, with 3:56:40, raising well over £1,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis charity with his efforts.

Just the “wrong” side of the four-hour mark was Martin Hammond, running to raise funds for a local pre-school, and clocking 4:01:48.

Jane Ashby was an impressive 8th in the W65 category with 4:13:12. Anna Seaman ran 4:17:50.

Kelly De-Gol, who had conducted an interesting experiment in training for the event with a phenomenal amount of endurance work but NO actual running, clocked 4:24:31.

On their debuts, Wendy Fisher was timed at 4:30:17, and Jeff Reed 4:32:33 for 40th place in the M70 category.

Sarah Partridge, who had won one of the club’s ballot places, acquitted herself honourably with 4:43:52, while Mel Watts achieved her dream of completing the event, in 5:25:31.

l While many people’s attention was focused on the streets of London, a smaller field of top quality athletes were strutting their stuff round the Clackclose Estate in Downham in the British Masters Athletic Federation 20K walking championships.

First home for Ryston Runners (almost literally as the race start and finish were virtually on her doorstep) was Cath Duhig, taking the GB W60 title in 2:15:14, a minute inside her own personal target time and about a minute and a half faster than last week over the same distance, despite this course being considered trickier and more challenging.

Liz Blakie, making an all-too-rare appearance in a racewalking event, took the W55 title in 2:28:11, and Paul Firmage the M60 in 2:29:41, both impressive in coming in under the 2:30 barrier.

In the accompanying 10K event, which featured the EVAC Championships, Sue Smith took the W50 title. Cath, Liz and Paul also took EVAC golds for being first in their age groups to complete this interim distance in their longer races.

l Malcolm and Sue Tuff were the sole Ryston Runners at the first race of the annual Great Yarmouth 5-mile series last Wednesday. Malcolm made his mark by taking the scalp of the leading M50 runner in the last 800m to claim first place in category in 28:37.5, this being only seven secs slower than his PB for the distance set eightyears ago. Sue, who has made vast improvements over recent months, ran an impressive PB time of 47:35.