WESTON AC’s Ben Haines posted the fastest time in the South West this year by a veteran over 45 with an impressive performance at the Abingdon marathon.
Haines finished runner-up in a time of 2hrs 35mins 49secs to carve 1min 17secs off his previous personal best set in the London event last year.
Haines’ time is also the fourth fastest over 40 runner in the region and puts him No 1 in the club.
Just behind Haines in a very tight finish to the race was clubmate and fellow veteran Kieron Summers, who was also rewarded with a PB of 2:35.58, to shave 27 seconds off the time he clocked at the Newport marathon a year ago.
To complete a great day for the Weston AC men Ian Connock also notched up a big PB as he improved from 2:52.04, set three years ago in Manchester, to 2:48.56.
Arguably the biggest improvement in the race came from Bristol & West AC’s Nick Roberts, who slashed virtually half an hour off his debut time of 3:13.11 that he set four years ago in London with 2:43.16.
Kelly Dicks of Great Western Runners shaved 48 seconds off her 2021 PB with 2:57.53 for second place in the women’s race to go 19th South West Rankings.
In her first marathon for five years – when she won Yeovil in 3:19.06 – Westbury Harriers’ Lucy Richens was fourth in 3:03.32.
In contrast Weston’s Alice Smith was running her third marathon of the year after Taunton (3:14.55) and Shepperdine (3:12.10) and uncorked a very creditable 3:03.51, which is her fastest time since her lifetime best of 3:01.40 at the 2017 London race.
Bristol & West AC’s Catie O’Donoghue was running a road marathon seriously for the first time since a low-key debut nine years ago when she recorded 4:24.06 in London as an under 23 runner.
O’Donoghue has come on a lot since those days – earlier this year she did a mixed terrain marathon at Exeter in 3:11.19 – and her time of 3:09.30 will be a good base for her to build upon. She is surely capable of a sub three time.
Abingdon marathon – men: 1 Henry Hart (Belgrave) 2:33.49; 2 Benjamin Haines (Weston AC, M45) 2:35.49 (PB)
Others: 4 Kieron Summers (Weston, M40) 2:35.58 (PB); 17 Nick Roberts (B&W) 2:43.16 (PB); 37 Ian Connock (Weston) 2:48.56.
Women: 1 Helen Mussen (Watford, W45) 2:54.16; 2 Kelly Dicks (GWR) 2:57.53 (PB); 4 Lucy Richens (WH, W40) 3:03.32; 5 Alice Smith (Weston, W40) 3:03.51; 10 Catie O’Donoghue (B&W) 3:09.30; 19 Clare Meraz (GWR, W40) 3:26.53; 27 Jemma Lewis (Clev, W35) 3:34.34;