Manchester marathon race report - 16 April 2023
A marathon effort - CLC Striders at the Manchester Marathon, Sunday 16 April 2023
On Sunday 16 April no fewer than 12 athletes from CLC Striders lined up in various starting waves to run the Manchester Marathon. That’s pretty much 10% of the small local club – making for a momentous occasion for all the individual athletes but for the whole club, too.
In near-perfect conditions – a light breeze, overcast skies and no rain – the first three runners to make their mark on the race were Joe Willgoss, Rob Green and Tom Burgess. These three ran in lockstep in the early stages, with Willgoss and Green continuing together as Burgess dropped back a little.
But it was in the later stages of the race that things began to pan out, as it always does in the marathon, with Willgoss maintaining his pace and form while Green, in his first ever marathon, began to struggle and Burgess, battling with a respiratory virus for the past few weeks, began to falter, too.
In the end, Willgoss ran a brilliant PB, finishing inside the 2 hours 40-minute mark in a time of 2:39:07 in what was a pretty perfectly judged run to achieve 30th position in his MV35 age category. Green came through in 2:48:47 after a difficult last few miles, with Burgess not far behind in a time of 2:50:05 in what was his first ever marathon run, too.
Starting in a different wave, four more Striders bagged sub-3-hour times on the day, the most impressive of whom, Rob Barnett finished his first ever marathon attempt in a brilliant time of 2:47:22, making him the second fastest CLC Strider on the day and reward for his committed and single-minded preparation. In what was his first – and, according to him, last! – ever marathon run, Barnett can be incredibly pleased with his performance.
Alex Johnston finished his debut marathon in a time of 2:52:01, despite having to step back from training in the weeks leading up to the event with a chronic knee problem. Johnston’s training had shown he was capable of a much faster time, but on the day it was pure guts that got him through those later, humbling stages.
One of the performances of the day came from Nick Ledwold, whose celebrations as he crossed the finish line in a time of 2:54:16 told us everything about how well he’d run and what his achievement meant to him. And the last CLC Strider to finish in under three hours was club captain Will Pearce in a time of 02:56:56 – once again proving his solid consistency over this testing distance.
Liza Bradshaw was next home for the club, just outside the three-hour mark, in a solid time of 03:03:19 and in 7th place in her FV35 age category. Next home was one of the club’s coaches Jamie Hartnoll in a PB time of 3:13:57 and marathon debutant Adam Greenwood, one of the club’s fastest-improving runners and trained for the event by Hartnoll, in a time of 3:15:48.
Tom Fletcher was a late entrant, running 3:27:18 on the day, while the club’s last finisher probably achieved one of the best results of the day, as Nikki Smith completed the marathon in 3:33:18 as the 7th FV55 finisher, smashing the club record for her age category in the process.