Huntingdonshire Athletics Club athlete Dave Connell was one of the top 100 runners to finish the world famous London Marathon on Saturday.
The 39-year-old from St Ives was running his fourth London Marathon and completed the 26-mile 385-yard race in a time of 2hr 34min 30sec, shaving seven minutes off his previous best time of 2hr 41min 31sec, which he ran in 2012.
Connell, above, ran in the club, charity and ballot runners race, which is contested by some of the finest long distance runners in the world, but which existed outside of the race run by the marathon’s 18 elite athletes. He finished 78th, so 96th overall.
Connell said: “Having trained smartly and consistently for six months and having run well over distances from five kilometres to 20 miles, I was ecstatic to achieve my all-time marathon goal of averaging sub six minutes per mile and finishing in the top 100.
“The spectators were truly amazing and made a huge difference carrying me and the other runners on my way around the 26.2 miles.
“I will be back next year as a 40-year-old to see how much I can improve and how high up in the new age category I can finish.”
Wayne DuBose, the vice chairman of Hunts AC, said: “Dave’s approach for this race was very methodical and almost scientific. He has avoided major injury which has allowed him to train consistently.
“He is a great inspiration to Hunts AC and to all those runners out there who didn’t think they could improve their times as they near age 40.
“He’ll be a veteran next year and should claim lots of veteran records at the club from February onwards.”
Hunts AC had its most successful London Marathon ever with five athletes running under three hours. Running in his first for Hunts AC was Matt Pyatt, who finished less than five minutes behind Connell in a 2hr 39min 01sec.
Caroline Saunders was the sole female representative and she finished the race in 3hr 42min 02sec. Ian Turner was 374th, with Darren Preston and Wayne Gimblett also finishing the race in under two hours.
Tim Hyde, running to raise money for Cancer Research UK and The Scout Association, completed his second marathon in as many weekends after taking on the Greater Manchester Marathon the previous Saturday. This Saturday, Hyde will be competing in his third marathon in Northampton.
All four of Huntingdonshire’s running clubs had members taking part in the race with 62-year-old Annette Newton, of BRJ Run & Tri Club, the 11th home in her age-group from the more-than 34,000 strong field.
Newton came 11,017th in a time of 3hr 57min 26sec and was the sixth of 11 BRJ club runners to finish the world famous race for 11th in the race’s 60-65 age-group.
“This was only my second marathon, I ran Edinburgh last year slightly faster by 24 seconds and won the age category there with fewer runners,” said Newton. “This gave me a ‘good for age’ entry to London.
“The running is quite difficult with so many people and there is a lot of jostling and bumping for several miles whenever the road narrows.
“The crowds are incredible, they were lining the whole of the course, and the noise and cheering is constant all the way around – so much so that I managed to miss all the BRJ supporters.
“I was very pleased with my result and feel OK – there are no blisters but my legs are a bit tired.
“David, my husband, decided to enter the Edinburgh Marathon this year so I thought I would join him – so I am preparing for the next marathon on May 25.”
Spokesman for the BRJ club, Nick Bradford, said: “Annette achieved a fantastic 11th place in her age category and there were personal bests for Andrew Barber, Yvonne Homewood and Cheryl Jenner. Cheryl took more than 20 minutes off her PB.
Simon Mead was first home for Ramsey Road Runners, finishing in 693rd in 2hr 52min 22sec, 20 places ahead of Paul Oliver (2hr 52min 43sec), who was first home for the St Neots-based club Riverside Runners.
Duncan Bush and Malcolm Pritchard also ran under three hours for Riverside Runners.
BRJ RUN & TRI CLUB
3360 Simon Moore 3:18.53, 5562 Andrew Barber 3:32.55pb, 7337 Yvonne Homewood 3:42.46pb, 8954 Gillian Peck 3:49.49, 10886 Amanda Roland 3:56.57, 11017 Annette Newton 3:57.26, 16764 Cheryl Jenner 4:21.07pb, 17776 Karl Taylor Roland 4:25.12, 19868 Rosalind Innes 4:33.55, 21110 Jonathon Barlow 4:39.36, 26228 Andrew Down 5:03.11.
HUNTINGDONSHIRE ATHLETICS CLUB
78 Dave Connell 2:34.30, 166 Matt Pyatt 2:39.01, 374 Ian Turner 2:45.11, 976 Darren Preston 2:56.21, 1150 Wayne Gimblett 2:58.16, 2346 Gair Matthews 3:10.28, 2445 Steve Church 3:11.17, 7168 Caroline Saunders 3:42.02, 13725 Tim Hyde 4:08.27.
RAMSEY ROAD RUNNERS
669 Simon Mead 2:52.22, 9214 Stephen Lawson 14813 Sian White 4:13.20, 18513 Anne Kirk 4:28.10, 27443 Michelle Brett 5:10.20.
709 Paul Oliver 2:52.43, 1027 Duncan Bush 2:56.58, 1166 Malcolm Pritchard 2.58.26pb, Steve Childerley 3:18.00, 3793 Maurice Hemingway 3:22.13, 3965 Dennis Martin 3:23.35, 4181 Lucy Taylor 3:24.59pb, Piers Serjeant 3:29.23pb, 7800 Nicola Jones 3:44.51, 10043 Alison Cooper 3:54.09, 12683 Dawn Parr 4:04.09pb, 16868 Lucy Bush 4:21.31.