The rain fell solidly throughout Saturday night in London to produce damp, unusually cool conditions for the 35th running of the most popular marathon in the world. Mixing it with 37,000 runners and Paula Radcliffe in front of adoring crowds, 4 male and 4 female Gala Harriers put together a raft of superb performances to kick off the summer road racing season in style.
Dianne Lauder came across the famous finishing line at the end of the Mall only just over 12 minutes behind Paula in a stunning 2 hours 49 minutes and 15 seconds, celebrating a personal best and her position as the 22nd woman home and 19th in her age category. Gillian Duncan was spotted waving to a camera or two on her way around but nevertheless secured a mightily impressive 3.28.04, with Fiona ‘Flash’ Dalgleish not far behind her in a splendid 3.33.14. Annie Weir would be well pleased with her performance to come home in a very respectable 3.45.46.
For the men, Mark Bryson sped around the course fuelled by spaghetti meatballs which helped him to a well-deserved time of 3 hours 6 minutes and 52 seconds. He passed Fergus Johnston in the last three miles, who had possibly gone off a wee bit too enthusiastically but still completed the course in a grand time of 3.08.32. Billy McCulloch and Dave Nightingale placed highly in their age categories in the excellent times of 3.20.48 and 3.35.28 respectively and completed the Harrier set….or so you might have thought. Running for his first claim club, Carnethy but adopted by Gala as his second club, Bob Johnston’s amazingly engineered ostrich outfit was always going to be a tough creature to coax around the course. Wet feathers might have slowed him down just a tad but 5.50.08 is not a bad time for a bird that can’t fly.