Leamington C&AC youngster, Melanie Gould, had a taste of the high life this weekend, being part of the West Midlands U13 team to run the Virgin London Mini Marathon. Having finished in a nail-biting sixth place to qualify for the prestigious place earlier in the year, Mel ventured off for an overnight stay at the Royal Holloway College with her fellow athletes before being taken into London on Sunday for the event. The mini marathon covers the last three miles of the marathon course which sees athletes aged 11-17 running past the London Eye, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace before crossing the marathon’s finish line. Mel ran well and completed the course in a strong position coming 67thout of 243 girls in a time of 19:58.
Whilst most of the country were enjoying the increased temperatures at the weekend, the heat was not welcomed by those taking part in the Virgin London Marathon on Sunday. With temperatures reaching 24oC, it has since been confirmed as the hottest London Marathon on record. Despite the weather, 7 Leamington C&AC athletes travelled down to London to take part although for many of them, the hard months of training for the new PB were not enough to cope with the heat. One athlete who did not appear to be affected was Richard Merrell who knocked 55 seconds off his personal best to finish in a time of 2:50:05 and crossing the line first for the local athletics club. Charlie Staveley came home in just over the three-hour mark in 3:04:32.
Natalie Bhangal who has returned to fine form since the birth of her son a year ago, was hoping to beat her PB of 3 hours 12 minutes, but the conditions meant that by half way she knew it was not going to happen. Not being phased, she decided to continue with a smile and soak up the atmosphere to finish in a very respectable 3:16:09. Wendy Daniels also had to deal with the realisation that the sun had put paid to the months of extensive training, with Daniels often running twice a day to get the miles in. Daniels finished in a time of 3:25:10. Courtney Thornberry, as seasoned runner over the 26.2 distance ran just under the 4 hours mark in 3:54:00, Anouk Molliex also finished under the 4 hours mark in 3:58:01.
Mary Donaldson, who is more accustomed to throwing the javelin, had decided at the end of 2017 that 2018 was the year to try a marathon. Not being used to any kind of endurance, Donaldson has been training steadily throughout the year so far to increase her mileage from short track distances. She faced hurdles in her training due to the bitterly cold weather and her first attempt at a half marathon was hindered due to the Warwick half being postponed due to the snow. She successfully completed her half marathon just two weeks before the London marathon. Donaldson, suffered with the heat on the course like others but also had to deal with the fact that many water stations had run out of water by the time she reached them. Nevertheless, she continued and finished her first marathon in a time of 5:21:40.