Globetrotting Gainsborough Striders take on the world as London Marathon looms

ALL SET FOR THE LONDON MARATHON -- Jane Benson, who warmed up for the big race with an impressive performance at Lincoln on her birthday.
ALL SET FOR THE LONDON MARATHON -- Jane Benson, who warmed up for the big race with an impressive performance at Lincoln on her birthday.

From Hamburg to Lincoln -- globetrotting Gainsborough Striders have been busy posting more impressive performances in the build-up to this weekend’s London Marathon, which some will be competing in.

The German city of Hamburg was where Lee Fenton tackled his first full marathon, and his meticulous training paid off handsomely as he maintained a consistent pace throughout to romp home in three hours, 35.22 minutes.

Fenton was joined in Germany by Striders’ two triathlon specialists, Jordan Skelly and Ronnie McWilliams, who were taking part in the European Duathlon Championships in Kalkar. Their races consisted of a 10k run, 40k cycle ride and then a 5k run, and both returned home with medals in their luggage. Skelly’s time of 1:54.07 earned him a deserved first place in the 20-24 age group, while McWilliam won bronze for his time of 1:59.57 in the 45-59 category.

No fewer than 21 Striders took part in the City Of Lincoln 10k, with ideal conditions leading to four personal-best (PB) times and three season’s best times, plus two top-ten age-group placings.

James Croft was the first to cross the line, next to Lincoln Cathedral, in a fantastic PB time of 39.31. It was only his second race over this distance and he was one of only 153 runners to break the 40-minute barrier.

Phil Kitchen was next home in 42.48, which gave him 14th place in the V50 category, while Chris Inman was the third Strider in 47:03, which was good enough for sixth in the V60 age group, his highest ever placing.

Shaun Boyle was another who reaped the benefit of his new training regime with his 47.55 finish, while Dale Swinton broke the 50-minute barrier for the first time with 49.43.

Warming up for London were Chris Litherland (49.47) and Jane Benson (49.09), who finished fifth in the V50 age category on her birthday. And other PB times were earned by Sam Garrison, with a 70-second improvement to 54.59, and Sian Turner, whose 58.35 finish was 72 seconds better than any previous effort. Meanwhile Hayley Bellamy lopped a massive four minutes off her quickest time as she crossed the line after 64.45. while Anthony Myles, with 57.49, recorded his best time of the season, as did Kirsty Smithson in 59.49.

The other Striders to complete the Lincoln race were Simon Smith (54.27), Stacey Louise (58.31), Neil Broughton (61.29), Emma Housham (67.42), debutant Maureen Allen (69.43) and Sara Kelsey, who missed a PB by just nine seconds with her time of 74.40.