Special time for marathon runners

WE all hear quite a lot these days about triathlons, great swims, 1,000-mile walks, cross-country bike rides and the like - and I am sure that they all have their exciting moments, writes Mike Spragg.

WE all hear quite a lot these days about triathlons, great swims, 1,000-mile walks, cross-country bike rides and the like - and I am sure that they all have their exciting moments, writes Mike Spragg.

None quite compares with that of the marathon itself, however, that iconic event over the classic distance so beloved by international athletes, club runners and fun runners alike.

And this time of the year is their special time. Last Monday was the daddy-of-them-all, the Boston Marathon, and this weekend sees marathons in both Madrid and London, the latter having considerable local participation. To whet the appetite, as it were, there was also last weekend's Bungay Marathon, a popular event on the local road racing calendar and one which has withstood the vagaries of time better than many similar events.

Among the almost 250 entrants in this year's race were two of the Great Yarmouth Road Runners in the form of Stephen Etherington (more than pleased with his performance and now all ready to support wife Denise in this Sunday's big event) and young Matthew Sutton, also running well in this, his first attempt at the distance.

In the accompanying half-marathon race, John Bone led the way home for the local contingent, with Antony Croucher and Jane Mcleman, in her first race for the club in quite some time, making a big impression on the field of over 450 runners.

It is hoped that this popular race, so well organised and marshalled, continues long into the foreseeable future.

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Attention now turns to Sunday's big event, where among all the elite athletes and celebrity runners you might care to look out for Yarmouth's own band of adventurers, 10 of them in all, in the form of Neil Sibley, Marie Worrall, Angie Pacey, Denise Etherington, Jim and Carole Spong, Rod and Ed Shulver and Jo and Dean Foden. An impressive line-up, all of them intending to do their best, to complete the course and to enjoy themselves as much as possible in the hopefully favourable conditions.

Results. Bungay Marathon, Sunday April 19, Great Yarmouth Road Runners finishing positions and times: 42 Stephen Etherington 3-23:48, 76 Matthew Sutton 3-34:56.

Bungay Half Marathon, Sunday April 19: 63 John Bone 1-38:56, 197 Antony Croucher 1-54:41, 302 Jane McLeman 2-05:20.