With the advent of ultra-running and the like, marathon running may not now be the ultimate challenge for an athlete but the 140 runners who completed Sunday’s IW Marathon can rest assured they all pushed themselves to the limit of human endurance in their quest to complete the 26.2 miles of country lanes, paths and tracks from Cowes to Yarmouth and back again. In the 50th anniversary year of Dale Greig’s historic first female marathon race on the Island it was appropriate that there was a great battle for the women’s title as well as the men’s.
To the men’s race first; Winchester and District’s Ian Berry took first place in 2:56:40 and the £200 cheque with a brilliantly paced run coming from 4th place at halfway, over four minutes off the lead, to break the tape 39 seconds ahead of long time leader Rohan Pawlowski. Pawlowski had looked supremely comfortable, even up to the twenty mile mark, but had a final six miles to forget as his pace dropped from 6-min per mile pace to around the 8-min per mile mark allowing Berry to use his strength to ease past in the agonising final stages. Third was Crispin Allen of Stragglers in 3:02:34. Next came first Islander home was Peter Wilmott from Isle of Wight Road Runners who, like Berry, paced it superbly and managed to move from 7th to 4th in the second half of the race to finish in 3:05:31. Les Cupis of Ryde Harriers was 5th but 1st Vet 50. Cupis also had a second half to forget with the combination of the previous day’s cross country race in his legs and a scorching early pace putting pay to his hopes of a repeat of his 2011 victory.
The male veteran racers provided the performance of the day as 70 year old Jonathan Norton managed a mind-blowing time of 4:12:42. Congratulations also to Steve Hickman of IWRR who finished his 100th marathon in 4:04:48.
The women’s race was won by Stephanie Newbury who tracked Karmen Pardoe, her rival for the crown, all the way to around twenty miles before passing and surging beyond her. Newbury had been around 90 seconds behind for the majority of the race but her finishing speed saw her cross just over three minutes ahead of Pardoe with a time of 3:08:09. Carla-Jayne Lunt was third in 3:23:06 The first Island women was Jodie Giffard of IWRR who finished 6th in 3:40:04.