The unforgettable experience of the Virgin London Marathon was tasted by eight runners from the Gainsborough and Morton Striders club on Sunday.
Alongside 40,000 others, the eight were overtaken by nerves as they stood on the starting line, waiting for Sir Andy Murray to send them on their way.
But once they were off, the nerves were replaced by sheer exhilaration at taking part in an event that has become an annual, national institution.
The Strider who enjoyed it most was Mat Huteson, who broke the coveted three-hour barrier by clocking a time of two hours, 59 minutes, 31 seconds. He would have been even faster but after a brave early charge, he had to consolidate in the latter stages of the race because of fatigue.
Not far behind Huteson were fellow striders Aaron Hill and Wayne Greenfield. The notoriously toughest part of the marathon through the Isle Of Dogs proved a sticking point for all, but Hill and Greenfield still managed to impress, finishing in 3.04.18 and 3.06.50 respectively.
The ever-consistent Lorna Allison paced an excellent race to finish in 3.13.54, and the ever-present Paschal Moran ran 4.23.57. Both posted times that could be good enough to get them into next year’s race too.
Competing in their first marathons were Striders Vicky Toward, Sian Turner and Jackie Stockdale, who all finished well. Toward recorded 4.48.59, Turner 5.44.19 and Stockdale 6.42.48.
Striders are now hoping that anyone who has been inspired by watching the London Marathon will join the club’s Couch-To-5K programme, which aims to develop enthusiasts into fully fledged runners.
The programme starts on Tuesday, May 14 at 6.15 pm on the sports field at Gainsborough Academy. Lots of club volunteers will be on hand to help people through the first session and to offer advice on what the programme entails.
Elsewhere, Gemma Burrows ran her first marathon at Blackpool, raising funds for the British Lung Disease charity. The windy conditions along the seafront made life difficult for her, but she bravely finished the race in 7.16.40.