Great Goc! Sidmouth runner is 300th in the London marathon
- Credit: Archant
Inspirational, emotional, amazing, painful, unforgettable, are just some of the words used by the nine members of Sidmouth Running Club who participated in the 33rd Virgin London Marathon, writes Sarah Brown.
After over five months of training in freezing conditions, strong winds, pouring rain and a fair amount of snow and ice; the weather forecast for the weekend struck fear in the runners’ hearts at the beginning of last week.
Sunday brought bright blue, cloudless skies and temperatures that although chilly at the start, felt like the middle of summer when running with thousands of other people through the centre of London.
Over 34,000 people crossed the finish line on The Mall (Mo Farah was not one of them!), and amongst them were the nine Sidmouth runners who all finished strongly.
For a small town in East Devon to have so many runners at the London Marathon is something we can all be so very proud of.
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Pride is also the word to use when describing the run by one of the nine who incredibly came home 300th!
That is what Milan Goc achieved with a personal best time of 2:44:13. A truly inspiration run, he was spotted when the runners pass each other at mile 13/22, but despite the best shouting attempts to catch his attention he cruised past and his powerful run to the line was exceptional.
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Both Goc and Justin Ashby, Sidmouth’s second runner to cross the finish line, described the marathon atmosphere as the best yet; whether this was due to the sunshine, the running community uniting in support of Boston, or just the run itself, who knows, but all were surely factors.
Ashby had a difficult build-up to the race as he was hit by injury and so, to finish in a time of 2:47:53, and be the only Sidmouth runner to ‘negative split’ the race, and still say it was ‘the most enjoyable run’ he’s ever, had is a huge achievement.
He was also proud to say that he had beaten John Keast’s 10-year record for his age category.
Laurence Bolam, also with injury-ridden training, ‘took it easy’ and ran in a bright pink afro wig, which prompted various comments from the crowd, but didn’t impede him in running across the finish line in 3:11:40, despite finding the last six-to-seven miles a real struggle.
Paul Mitchell, finished his second consecutive London marathon with a personal best of 3:50:10, which won him a bet he had desperately wanted to claim since 2012 (sorry Colin!).
His superhuman training, and constant wearing of his ‘spiderman’ compression suit obviously worked wonders, and becoming a grandfather for the first time just a few hours after the race topped off a perfect, memorable day for him.
Andy Shearer (3:54:19) and Naomi Garrick (3:54:36) crossed the line within seconds of each other.
Shearer ran a perfectly paced race and crossed the line grinning, as he should, as cracking four hours is an amazing achievement.
Garrick, running her fourth consecutive London marathon decided that just running the race is not enough, and, after her successful World Record as running as a bride last year, decided to give the fairy record a go.
Whilst she didn’t succeed this year, running in a tutu, wings and carrying a wand, and still finishing in less than four hours is completely remarkable!
Gareth Horrocks, Sarah Brown and Karen Woodruff were the final Sidmouth runners to complete the race.
All three were running debut marathons (although Horrocks has been known to run the odd ultra!), and he finished strongly in 4:29:55, a time to celebrate considering he had been unable to train for the previous six plus weeks due to a nasty injury!
He has since sworn off road races, and will be returning to ‘easier’ ultras! Brown struggled badly with the heat, and the sheer challenge of the event, and seemed to hit all the ‘walls’ that the other Sidmouth runners managed to avoid.
Possibly the only runner to eat chocolate en-route rather than special energy gels, as well as stopping to excitedly hug an England footballer (Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain) at mile 23, she pushed through the pain and blisters to cross the line in 4:51:20, sunburnt, emotional but already desperate to do it all over again.
Woodruff, who trains under the careful eye of Beck y Robson at the Hair Temple, was our youngest and least experienced runner, but despite her tender years and lack of training miles she did brilliantly, spending just over six hours to complete the race. That’s the spirit!!
Sidmouth Running Club proved once again that you don’t have to be the fastest runner to complete a marathon (although it helps!), and all runners felt proud and honoured to complete such an iconic race, and all be in once piece at the end!
It was highly emotional, one banner displayed at mile 24 in particular: “Run if you can, walk if you must, but finish for Boston”, gave all the momentum and boost needed to get to the finish, but it was, as ever, an unforgettable experience.
If you watched it live, or on TV, or if reading this made you want to run, then Sidmouth Running Club welcomes new members with open arms to join us on a Wednesday night!