Brilliant Downham Market Ryston Runner Balmer’s top 500 London Marathon finish

The main athletic event that most people will have registered at the weekend.
The main athletic event that most people will have registered at the weekend.
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Ryston Runners AC had a dozen starters this year at the Virgin Money London Marathon, of whom all bar one finished on Sunday.

Best time of the day by a Ryston Runner was the 2:42:35 recorded by Chris Balmer, which gave him a top 500 finishing position. Also breaking the three-hour barrier was Matt Allen, who ran 2:48:29.

Stewart Robins

Stewart Robins

However, the performance of the day in terms of athletic achievement was probably that of Jane Ashby whose 4:09:40 saw her place sixth in the W65 category and achieve an 88.6% age grading (the senior woman’s equivalent time would work out at 2:32:48, good enough to qualify for the GB World Championships team).

Despite only being a relatively recent convert to athletics – she is also a more than competent water skier – Jane has really made her mark on the Masters scene.

Stewart Robins, who was sidelined after back surgery just over a year ago, finished in the top 5,000 with 3:19:18, and Lesley Robins also broke the 3:30 with 3:27:44, putting her 81st in the W40 category.

Stewart was glimpsed briefly on TV going through Canary Wharf, but Lesley had several seconds in the media limelight as she was approaching the finishing line almost alongside TV newsreader Sophie Raworth.



Sarah Partridge (4:28:15) was also broadcast to the nation as she was running just ahead of radio presenter Chris Evans.

Between Lesley and Sarah, Eamonn McCusker finished in 4:03:54, not the best day for a man of his marathon experience, and Tim Rudd (4:30:03) was ecstatic to finish his first marathon and raise plenty of money for his chosen charity, Resolution.

Jeff Reed suffered some problems at about 16 miles but battled on to finish in 5:00:59, raising money for local charity Megan’s Challenge. Just behind Jeff was Hayley Bunn in 5:01:19. The Ryston contingent was completed by John Sayer, who ran 5:41:36.

Martin Ive suffered serious calf problems and had to abort the course at about the 15K mark, about the same place as GB star Jo Pavey.

Lesley Robins

Lesley Robins

l Pete and Cath Duhig completed their first race since moving to Spain and made their mark by winning category prizes in the Pilar 10K. Pete, despite a “pitstop”, was first M60+ in 47:52, while Cath took second place in the W60 age group, walking the course in around 64 and a half minutes.

l Meanwhile, in their first East Anglian League fixture, Ryston had a massive turnout of mainly junior athletes and some exceptional opening performances.

Athlete of the day went to Bea Honeybone who won her three field events, breaking the club U13 G Javelin record with a throw of 23m 19, and also achieving PBs in High Jump (1m 20) and Long Jump (4m 02).

She was part of the U13 Girls team who finished third against a competitive field. Lily Teasdale started the season well with a pair of PB’s in the 200m (34.8s) and Hurdles (15.1 s), Lily May Colison came 3rd in the Shot Put with 4.52m, Lucy Oakley won the B String shot with 3.48m, and Matilda Loram jumped 3.05m to come 3rd in the B String Long Jump.

The U13 Boys came second as a team, winning the 4 x 100m Relay by over a second. Kit Howlett bagged three wins, 200m (30.5s), Discus (15.03m) and 100m B String (14.6). George Evans got 3 PBs in Long Jump (Jumping over 3m for the first time), 100m and Shot. Liam Clare won the Hurdles in 15.3s as well as second places in 100m and Long Jump. David MacQueen in his first competition as an U13 won 200m in 31.4s. Kieran Bell was 2nd B String Long Jumper with a leap of 3.60m and Ryan Wood was 2nd in the B string hurdles.

In the U15 Boys Robert MacQueen ran two new pbs in the 100m (12.9s) and 200m (26.5s), second in both. William Evans threw well including 8.25m in discus.

In the U15 Girls Mai Loram was 3rd in 1500m in a time of 6.03.8mins, Chloe Witmore was 4th in 100m (15.0 secs) and Izzy Sandover 4th in 800m in 2.54.2min.

Senior Women had a brilliant High Jump, winning the A and B String, Naomi Darkins 1.37m and Caitlin Harris Doy 1.30m. Thea Howlett won the Javelin (28.11m) as well as equalling her 200m PB of 27.6. Lorena Latišaitė was 2nd in Shot (8.63m) and 3rd in 1500m (5.20.8min); Eleanor Hilton 2nd in 300m (49.9s), Gabby Clare Triple Jumped (8.14m) and chief timekeeper Gaye Clarke threw the Hammer in 23.96m.

The Senior Men also performed well, Gareth Hunt won the Long Jump, Triple Jump and High Jump, equalling his PB height of 1.80m. Robert Simmonds won the Javelin and Discus, David Lane threw the discus well (18.20m) to take 2nd B String, Tom Barnes-Hooker was 2nd in the High Hurdles in 19.4s and B String winner Malcolm Tuff’s time of 4.40 mins in the 1500m will put him in the top 5 UK ranking for his age group.