By Liam Moakes 24/04 Updated: 02/05 15:26
TENS of thousands of runners took to the streets of the capital on Sunday to take part in the London Marathon and amongst them were 12 members of Bromsgrove and Redditch Athletic Club.
B&R's fastest marathon runner on the day was Matt Hawcroft who placed an incredible 56th with a time of 2:30:30.
This was the 30-year-old's fourth marathon race and, even though his fastest of those was Luton in 2005 where he ran 2:44, he still went out for a 2:30 finish time which, of course, he came within a whisker of achieving.
During the winter months, however, Hawcroft's ambitions took a huge knock as on his way to work in December on his bicycle when he suffered an accident which resulted in him needing seven stitches to his hip and missing four weeks of training.
Training was further hampered when work then took him to the Alps for five weeks where all he could do was restricted training before dawn in the snow and sub-zero temperatures.
This was not the best start to the year for training but Hawcroft's grit and determination was rewarded in London.
After the race Hawcroft said: "It's pretty disappointing not to go under 2.30. I was with just one guy from miles four through to 15, then was alone from then on which is not the easiest.
"The wind was tough. I was still on pace to go sub-2:30 at 24, then climbing out of the tunnel into the wind on Embankment it broke me and by 25 I knew I had just missed it."
Equally impressive was a second place in his age group (65+) for Alan Elsmere who shattered the existing B&R club marathon record by over an hour in recording a time of 3:10:58 in his tenth London Marathon.
The club's ladies also ran well. Elaine George, a nurse whose role is based around preventing and managing heart disease, ran for the British Heart Foundation and, in her second marathon, bettered her previous time by over 50 minutes in finishing in 4:22:39.
Lara Jackson, also running for charity in her first 26.2-mile race, achieved a time of 3:45:41.
Rob Mole (3:04:24) was aiming for a sub-three hours but blamed too many Easter Eggs for those extra few minutes.
He qualified for this year's marathon on a 'good for age' performance last year and through another impressive time guarantees himself another place for next year's event to chase down that sub-three hours.
Other club finishers were Dave Daniels (3:18:39), Simon Bowen (3:33:57), Merissa James (3:35:44), Mark Tanner - who had a difficult second half to the race - (3:55:10); Andy Notley (3:57:04) and Tracey Jones (4:24:36).
A final mention, though, has to go to B&R chairman Len Quartly who turned 70 earlier in the month and finished in a time of 4:53:09.
He had been planning to run London in his 70th year for a number of years, stating it would be his last marathon, but somewhere along the line London's race became part of a training programme towards his entry into two Alpine Marathons later in the year!
A big congratulations to all Bromsgrove and Redditch athletes who took part in the London Marathon 2012.
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