After heavy overnight rain, good weather greeted the competitors who lined up for this year’s Isle of Wight Marathon, hosted by Ryde Harriers and run on a course from Cowes to West Wight and back.
Newport resident Gary Marshall, last year’s victor, set the pace from the start for the first 4 miles. It was then that he was joined by Jack Oates from Fareham and for the next 16 miles the pair matched each other stride for stride.
6 miles from the finish Jack realised Gary’s pace had dropped – he had heavy legs – and so Jack forged ahead, building up a decent gap. Jack was first across the line in 2 hours 35 minutes 1 second – a new record for the IW Marathon West Wight course. Although he had recorded 2.36 in the Portsmouth Marathon, he was surprised he ran so well on the hilly Island course.
Gary followed in a personal best time of 2:39:21. Although having recorded 2:50 in the Brighton Marathon, his recording was a good 18 minutes faster than his winning time last year.
Representing Barnet and District AC, Alan Morris crossed the line third in 2:59:05 and was the first Veteran 55+. Last year he was going well but had to pull out at 20 miles, so he was determined to do better this year.
Ryde Harrier Les Cupis was fourth in 3:00:12 and won the 2nd Vet. 55+ prize. 2 runners from IW Road Runners followed Les home – William Goozee recorded 3:10:22 and Stuart Backhouse, the first Vet 45+, ran 3:13:56.
Ryde Harriers’ men’s trio of Les Cupis, Richard Melville and Dave Hunt secured the Joan Tait Cup for top men’s team. Les also took the Dave Loveless Trophy as the first Island Veteran home – for the fourth time – plus the Bob Pawling Trophy as the oldest Ryde Harrier to finish.
There was a close battle for the Ladies title with 2017 winner Hayley Baxter (IWRR) in contention. However, her teammate Rosie Sexton, in her first Marathon, was having a good race but then stepped up her pace at Porchfield and passed Hayley 3 miles from the finish.
Rosie was victorious in 3:26:31 (14th place overall) and Hayley followed her home in 3:28:02. Hayley admitted she had not been training specifically for the Marathon distance but was pleased with her time and her Vet 40+ trophy.
Representing Wight Tri, Mary Norman (Ladies Champion 2003, 2004, 2010 and 2011) completed the podium positions in a time of 3:44:06. Mary finished 27th place overall and took home the trophy for the 1st female Veteran 55+.
Rosie, Hayley and Zoe Elliott secured the Ladies Team Trophy for IW Road Runners.