Virgin Money London Marathon, 23 April 2017

Dramatic Belgrave Action at Today’s Grind


It was notable to all keen observers just how stacked the Bels front-lines were at this year’s marathon, as man after man trotted by.  But before talk of them, the women thrilled as well.

Lou Blizzard was back for her 23rd VLM and on this occasion our triple National team champion was content to play sweeper, just in case the 3 Belles ahead had a problem.  Iona Cousland didn’t; running a sensational 1 min 06 sec negative split for a 3:08 – one of the hardest things to do in all of sport!  Justine Lynch [3:11] was a tad more conventional with a bit of a fade, but we’ve seen a lot worse.

Which all paved the way for the return of our superstar from 2012-2014, Tish Jones, to add a fourth club record to her stash at 5m, 10k and 10m.  Here, she reduced Birhane Dagne’s mark of late 2:34 set London in 2004, with an outstanding 2:33:56 for 4th British woman.  Tish now resides in Cape Town [whose marathon she won last year], which obviously suits her, and we’re all delighted to see her back running so well, and surely this is a mark she can reduce further in the coming years.

The team race will be complicated, and the squad is some 12 minutes down on the winning ones of 2012 and 2013, but it’ll surely ‘be up there somewhere.’  We’ll let you know when we get news.

Men Fell Kent and Serpies

In an incredible men’s race the opposition threw the kitchen sink at us, and our boys ducked and weaved superbly.  Serpentine proffered a 2:21, 2:27 and 2:27, and Kent an equally scary 2:22, 2:26 and 2:27.  Our own return in the team race was 2:22, 2:23 and 2:30, which means a three way tie if you’re just doing it on minutes. But taking seconds into account too, it’s the Bels by a nose!

10 years ago we won the team race only to have to have to give it back due to Mark Miles not wearing a club vest; well, we readily admit that Aldershot’s 2:17, 2:24 and 2:24 is the best in the land, but the latter two of those lads (the dazzling blow-ups of Thompson and Hay) weren’t in their vests as in the elite race and sponsors winning the day.  It’s a shame for them, and we won’t confirm our position until ratification.

Individually Craig Ruddy ran to all the 2s: 2:22:22; whilst Andrius had a painful second half but still topped his Manchester time with a 2:23, whilst James Williams‘ mission to go sub 2:30 flunked by just 6 seconds, but he’ll smash through that in future years, as he confirmed his raw talent.

It’s wonderful to see Polly continuing to run well, and for that matter Kris Gauson who showed he still has plenty to offer the sport; whilst Paul Lowe, about a foot over the comfortable height for marathoning, was really pleased with his return, even though his splits look painful.

Here are today’s results in full:

Women’s Elite:  18 T Jones  [13.1m 1:15:45]  2:33:56











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