Sport - Athletics: Doughty’s best is the top Mark

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What should have been one of Ryston’s busiest weekends of the year ended up being less so with the cancellation, due to flooding, of the annual Hereward Relays, leaving only those with places in the City of Norwich Half Marathon, and a few Downham Santa Runners with an event on their hands.

Conditions at Norwich were, in the words of one Ryston competitor, “the most windy I have ever run in. It was almost comedy . When there was a lull the surge forward you could feel was like pressing the Mario Cart Boost Button!”, so one could be forgiven for not expecting good results or PB times, but still they came.

First Hare home was Nic Bensley, with a 4 minute improvement on his previous best time, placing 29th overall / 4th M40 in 84:25. Just over 3 minutes later Marie French secured 4th place overall in the women’s race / 3rd Senior with 87:43.

The next three Ryston finishers were Joe Anderson-Brown , 99th/91:39, Susan Matthews, 242nd/ 98:10, and Will Honeybone, 477th, 105:47, before the PB performance of the day was recorded by Mark Doughty whose 1:49:15 (606th) represented a 25 minute improvement on his previous best time for the distance.

Helen Melville also recorded a PB, delighted to break the two-hour barrier for the first time, with 1:56:33 ( 931st). Sam Yare (1235th/2:03:02) and Andy Harrod (1261st/2:03:49) would probably also have broken the barrier given more favourable weather conditions.

Paddy Thompson struggled with a knee problem in the second part of the race and he and clubmate Stewart Robins, who ran with him in support, recorded 2:15:25. Julie Allum completed the list of Ryston finishers in 1895th place with 2:26:52 on the clock. (Report times are “gun to tape”, athletes’ personal chip times were faster than these, accounting for elapsed time to cross the start line.) A total of 2148 competitors finished the race.