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The St Albans Striders membership year runs from April to March each year, concurrent with the England Athletics membership year.
On Sunday over 50 St Albans Striders and AC completed the prestigious London Marathon which for many is the highlight of the running calendar involving many months of preparation. The rainy conditions on the day mainly threw up the challenge of soaking wet feet, but this didn’t dampen spirits or impact the level of achievements.
First home for the Striders and finishing in the top 500 out of the 45,000 field was Jacob James in a superb time of 2:37:47, followed by Jonny Pennell in 2:42:22 and then Jim King in 2:46:14 who was also 28th in his age category. Alex Smith (2:48:54), Patrick Hayes (2:49:50), Andrew McKillop (2:52:58), Stefano Federici (2:54:09), Jon Hall (2:54:23) and Andy Jordan (2:59:34) all successfully finished under the esteemed 3 hour mark. For Patrick this was a family affair as his mother was also participating.
Megan Walker ran a very impressive race finishing in 111th place out of over 20,000 females in 2:56:05. Other females coming under the highly respected 3:30 target time were Lucy Waterlow (3:08:27), Hannah Burkhardt (3:11:38), Catherine O’connor (3:12.29), Joanna Parker (3:18:44), Alexandra Kett (3:19:28), Laura Hicks (3:22:03), and Ruth Martin (3:25:48). Joanna was also a notable 38th in her age category.
Lily Tse from St Albans AC ran an incredible debut marathon in 3:34:23. For those who had run the marathon before, many PBs were achieved including Jim King, Ruth Martin, Robin Newby, Kate Tettmar, Paul Gwynfor and Howard Bull with the latter three by a considerable margin of around 20 minutes. A large proportion of Striders achieved the Good For Age time which greatly increases their chances of a place in next year’s event which is otherwise well oversubscribed.
A number of Striders who were not competing joined in the fun by travelling down to London with banners to cheer on their team mates along the route. A celebration took place later in the evening at the Peahen.
In consolation for not managing to secure a place this year Clair Drage and Andrew Maher ran in the aptly named “Not the London marathon” at Waltham on Thames, running the same distance and earning themselves a medal with all the London landmarks but inevitably with far fewer supporting crowds.