The countdown is on to one of the most gruelling, but popular, 26-mile races of the year for a contingent of runners from the Gainsborough and Morton Striders club.
The London Marathon has the highest profile of all such events, but it is difficult to obtain a place in the line-up, unless backed by a charity.
Therefore, Striders are fortunate to have five athletes heading for the capital on Sunday, April 28, spearheaded by Vicky Toward, who was the winner of the club’s sole allocated space.
Of the rest, Lorna Allison, Wayne Greenfield, Aaron Hill and Mat Huteson have all secured slots in London by virtue of the ‘Good For Age’ scheme, whereby they have completed a marathon in a time regarded speedy for their age.
The quintet are training hard, with Greenfield planning to use the Greater Manchester Marathon on Sunday, April 7 as a warm-up for the big one only three months later.
Also heading to Manchester are Hanna Bennett, Jane Dennett, James Croft, Paul Dagg, Daniel Gleave, Ian Haldenby, Steve Hollinworth, Simon Hunt, Chris Inman, Steve Killelay, Stephen Toward and Craig Williamson. They are all approaching the halfway mark in their training schedules, with 20-mile runs pencilled in for their weekly routines.
Dennett and Hollinworth won’t have long to recover after Manchester because they have decided to take on the Edinburgh Marathon at the end of May too.
The Liverpool Rock ‘N Roll Marathon, also in late May, is the target for Chloe Airey, Tom Bond, Paul Bagshaw and Linda Harty.
Gemma Burrows is aiming to make her marathon debut at Blackpool, while Nigel Bowler and Jonathan Chapman are heading across the Fens to Boston.