Pounding the streets of London

Seven runners from Sidmouth Running Club joined 35,000 others to take part in the 2009 London Marathon.

Seven runners from Sidmouth Running Club joined 35,000 others to take part in the 2009 London Marathon. No doubt all seven will be glad to return to the softer terrain of East Devon's coastal paths and forest tracks! Tim Mitchell, Ian Robson and Justin Ashby could barely contain their excitement as they set off by ferry to Greenwich Pier in the early morning sunshine. The pre-race atmosphere was building palpably on the walk through Greenwich Park. Emerging on to Blackheath to see several thousand runners going through their preparations is a quite a sight - and there's probably still a lingering smell of 'Deep Heat' a week later. After the initial route east towards Shooters Hill, the course goes back along the Thames, south of the river. Tower Bridge is a big milestone as it's where runners cross the river and brings up the halfway mark. It heads east again to do the Docklands loop which is where it starts to get tough. The miles are being ticked off but the body is starting to feel the strain and the heat is taking its toll. Marathon 'old hands' will say that the race starts at 20m and there's a lot of truth in that. The 'home straight' seems to go on forever and runners have to dig deep just to keep going. When Big Ben is finally glimpsed, it's time to soak up the occasion and noise of the crowd. But even at Buckingham Palace, there's another demoralising 300 yards of The Mall to go! Congratulations to all of the Sidmouth Runners who finished this gruelling race on a warm day. Justin Ashby was first home for Sidmouth in 3.08 with Tim Mitchell not far behind in 3.22. Tim looked remarkably fresh at the end whereas Justin spent the next three hours dribbling on his trainers. Well done to Tim also for raising over �500 for Help for Heroes. Adrian Organ is fast becoming a seasoned campaigner at this distance and ran a great race to finish just over 31/2 hours. Colin Flood will probably be feeling a little frustrated to get so close to four hours but he was held up by a congested start. Bad luck to Ian Robson who never quite shook off a bout of sickness in the preceding week, and ran half an hour slower than hoped. Neil Rutter and Jane Hemsworth both finished comfortably within 41/2 hours to round-off a great team effort from Sidmouth.A huge thank you to the 'other halves' and friends who came to London to support the seven runners. Crowds line every yard of the 26.2 miles and every runner will tell you what a lift it provides, and wearing the Sidmouth Running Club vest brought lots of extra cheers of encouragement. Seeing familiar faces on the run is the biggest tonic you can imagine. And a special mention goes to John Podmore who selflessly stood outside a pub at mile 17 for four and a half hours to bellow support at his clubmates - nice one, John! Sidmouth Running Club results - runner/time/overall position: Justin Ashby, 3.08, 1,567th; Tim Mitchell, 3.22, 3,032nd; Adrian Organ, 3.31, 4,350th; Colin Flood, 4.04, 11,441st; Ian Robson, 4.14, 13,953rd; Neil Rutter, 4.23, 16,195th; Jane Hemsworth, 4.27, 17,293rd.

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