First home, sporting a unique Dracula costume, complete with white face paint, dripping blood (fake, we hope!) and fangs, was our regular record setter, Dave Stone. Last year he toed the start line as superman and set a new Guiness World Record for the fastest marathon dressed as a super-hero, and this year, having got the taste for world records, he set another dressed as a fictional book character. The costume did not appear to slow him down at all as he crossed the line in a cracking time of 2:42:17, giving him 247th place over all (out of about 40'000!) and 41st MV40 - in short, a cracking run!
Just 6 minutes behind Dave and setting a new PB in the process was Adam Miller. Forced to withdraw from last year's London marathon due to injury, Adam was back this year with avengence. He states that he paced his race much more sensibly than on his last outing over the 26.2 mile distance and despite suffering with some cramp in the last 6 miles he crossed the finish line in 2:48:47 to take 475th place over all and shaving a minute off his previous PB.
Also having a good day at the office was Carlos Alonso. Carlos joined the Harriers a couple of summer's ago whilst spending time with his mother, who lives in Exmouth, and he has since kept up his membership and ran as a Harrier in London. Lucky for us that he did as he recorded a very fine time of 2:50:50, good enough for 558th spot over all.
Mike Musgrove had a score to settle with this particular course after having run, literally, into a spot of trouble here last year when he struggled in the heat following a tough week of heat training in his job as a fire-fighter, and then keeling over on the finish line. Back this year to prove his credentials and set a sub-3h time, of which he knew he was more than capable if physically fit, he ran a well-paced race bringing him in under that magical target by 2 minutes, in 2:58:02. He was just outside a top 1000 placing with 1004th and placed 215th in the MV40 catgeory. Furthermore he was running to raise money for the charity Whizz-kidz, which provides funds and support for physically disabled children. He reports that he managed to give a high 5 to all the Whizz-kidz supporters that he passed on route (making the sub-3h even more impressive!). He also says that he now needs to work on persuading wife Nic to allow him to run again next year, but we say how's about Mike persuades Nic to run it with him...?!
Next up, running his first ever road marathon, was our ultra-afficionado Mark Thompson. Mark was awarded one of the 2 available Exmouth Harriers club places and he certainly made the most of the opportunity, running a strong race with a fairly even split that brought him home in a time of 3:14:15 for 2535th place over all and 337th MV45. Is he now a road-runner convertee and turning his back on his beloved long distance self-nav ultra runs? Somehow we very much doubt it!
The only female Harrier to toe the start line was Caroline Pleasence. Like Mark, Caroline is particularly strong at off-road, hilly events, and often excells as the distance gets longer and the terrain gets tougher. Trying her hand at an urban road course though she ran well to finish comfortably under the 3h30 mark, setting a new PB time of 3:23:21. This gave her 3547th spot over all and 394th female.
Now too far adrift of Caroline was Scott Jordan. Scott claimed the second club place in the Harriers' marathon ballot and this was also his first ever marathon. Following on from some very fine performances in build-up races and an excellent training plan prepared for him by Steve Merry which Scott followed religiously, he set about achieving sub-4h clocking and totally smashed that with a time of 3:34:17. This placed him 5287th over all. With Scott's highly competitive nature we can only assume that this will be the first of many marathons and that next time he will dip under the 3h30 mark.
Very well done to all our Harriers - you did the royal blue and yellow vests proud!
Caroline, Mike, Carlos, Adam and Dracula-Dave after the race
Dave - looking a bit pale - Mike, Adam, Scott - looking a bit tired - and Caroline post-race
Dracula-Dave sets his second Guiness World Record!