Farnham Runners have been very busy in spring marathons, not only the London marathon but also in Boston, Tokyo and Manchester.
Many followed arduous training plans to ensure success on the day.
Some have now run the challenging distance many times, while for others it was their first – and maybe their last attempt!
Many raised large sums for their chosen charities, totalling £12,630 and taking the Farnham Runners’ tally since 2001 to £289,830.
For all it was a memorable experience.
On this page are their stories, starting with the London marathon.
First back in Farnham Runners colours was Chris Matthews who bettered his time by more than two minutes despite a heavy workload this year. He was 1,248th overall out of the 50,000 entrants!
He said: “Having run 2hr 50min in 2022, I set off with a goal of running sub 2:50 this year.
“Although I started a new job in early February in London and then immediately caught Covid, this training block had been less than perfect.
“Starting from the Green start I set off to see how long I could keep on my target pace of just under 6.30 minutes a mile.
“Although a bit wet, the temperature was perfect for running and there was little wind.
“The first half of the race went exactly to plan, crossing halfway in just over 1:24, so it was now a case of ticking off each mile and seeing how long I could keep going for.
“I got to mile 24 and my legs were now very tired but I was still on track for sub-2:50.
“I dug deep and was delighted to finish in 2:47.
“The time was special as it’s exactly an hour faster than my first London Marathon back in 2008 where I ran 3:47.”
With a number of sub three-hour times to his name, Matt Saker had to settle for 3:04.27 this year.
The Paralympian double gold medallist in hand-cycling, Rachel Morris, qualified last year in London to join the elite wheelchair racers this year.
Taking possession of her road chair only a few weeks before the race, she decided to treat the race as training for next year, and she recorded a time of 3:07.48.
Next fastest was Emma Pearson.
She said: “I’ve run about 20 marathons including eight London marathons – and I actually trained properly for this one.
“My target time was 3:15 so I’m super happy with my new PB of 3:14.15. I felt really good all way round and really enjoyed it.”
Mark Maxwell finished his marathon in a remarkable 3:33.23 as his time for training had been very limited.
“I am happy with that,” he said.
Linda Tyler amazed other runners by her energy, stamina and endurance.
It was her 44th marathon and 16th London, just eight weeks after she ran the Tokyo marathon and only one week after completing the distance in Manchester, where she finished as eighth F60 in 3:50.44. In London her time was 3:42.37.
“It went surprisingly well, especially as my training before Tokyo was interrupted by a fall!” she said.
“I ran for both the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice and for the Ruth Strauss Foundation which funds research into non-smoking related lung cancer, raising £1,300 for each at a village quiz in November and more recently an extra £750 for the hospice.”
Frances Lethbridge finished her first official marathon in 4:12.24. She said her training went well, but she would definitely do a few more long runs if she were to train for one again.
She said: “On the day there was a great atmosphere and it was an incredible experience – but it was hard!
“I went out slightly too quickly and slowed towards the end but I would definitely do it again.”
At a very difficult family time, Ali Mitchell completed the race in 4:33.09.
It was Clair Bailey’s first marathon. “My training went well and I pretty much followed my training plan for a target of under five hours,” she said.
“I tried to keep my pace slow and steady, especially at the beginning which is really hard to do.
“I am very pleased with my time 4:35.39. The London marathon is a well-organised event and very well supported.”
As his training had gone well, Craig Tate-Grimes was very disappointed to have to slow down at nine miles with a niggle and later pain in his hamstring.
But he was pleased to finish in 4:37.33. “I pushed on with the help of the Farnham Runners support crew,” he said.
Chris Raby ran the Brighton marathon. He said: “This was my first – I have run the distance before in an Ultramarathon at the Gower but that was a very different type of run.
“I followed what was described as an ‘advanced’ plan which was a bit make or break. Luckily it didn’t break me and I actually enjoyed most of it.
“It evolved during the training and settled at 3:20 but I decided to push a bit harder on the day and I was delighted to cross the line in 3:17.09 and be second in the M60 category!
“It was a great day all round. The crowds were amazing, I enjoyed the course, the sun came out and I and my fellow runners all achieved their target times.”
Andy Brown was with Chris and Ivan Chunnett in Brighton and he was very pleased to clinch a sub-3:30 in 3:28.06.
Mike Taylor clocked 4:02.20 and he was disappointed not to go under four hours as he has done so previously.
He has completed all the Brighton marathons since it started except the virtual one in 2020.
Matthew Wernham, Toria and Stephen Dick completed the Boston marathon. Matthew was a splendid 20th M65 in 3:21.35 and Stephen recorded 3:36.17.
Toria said: “Boston this year was my 50th marathon.
“Off the back of inadequate training because of the prolonged effects of Covid I wasn’t expecting great things, and hurting my back the week before race day and then having a filling fall out the night before the marathon meant I was going to be happy just to finish.
“It was a cold and rainy Monday, with an absolute deluge of rain just as we hit the Newton Hills. But Boston is a wonderful course and the support was amazing.
“I was thrilled to finish in 4:07.24 – I never thought I’d be thrilled with a four-hour plus road marathon time – and was actually faster up Heartbreak Hill than last year.
“I flew home to the prospect of a dentist’s appointment!
“I ran for Children with Leukaemia in Manchester and raised £250.”
New member Nick Haire rejoined Farnham Runners after meeting Linda Tyler at the Manchester marathon, but is very keen to be part of the club.
He said: “I’ve run 20-plus marathons. The training for Rome this year was tough – my first marathon for eight years.
“My target time was sub-four and I managed 3:49. In Manchester I finished in 3:58 and I raised £400 for Prostate Cancer UK.”