Marathon man Ben is hot stuff

ILFORD AC athletes returned to road racing in style and produced some encouraging performances during a busy week of distance running as thoughts turn to the spring marathon. Ben Jones was first up in the frame having returned from the warmer climes of th

ILFORD AC athletes returned to road racing in style and produced some encouraging performances during a busy week of distance running as thoughts turn to the spring marathon.

Ben Jones was first up in the frame having returned from the warmer climes of the Spanish mainland as he tackled the 25th running of the Seville marathon.

Jones, who intends to run 12 marathons in 12 months this year to raise money for a friend who was injured in a biking accident, completed the second leg of his itinerary in fine style, clocking a much improved 3:28.

Peter Spelman ran the Barcelona marathon where the Ilford man did extremely well to record a time of 3:35.25 having done only limited training in preparation.


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Much closer to home, seven Ilford athletes contested the Essex 20-mile road championships at Great Bromley near Colchester on Sunday.

Robin McNelis was the first Ilford man home, clocking what was for him a disappointing 2:12.18 while hot on his heels was Neil Crisp, who ran well for 2:14.43, with fast-improving Ian Burdin closing the scoring trio with 2:27.00.

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Bree Nordin led the women home but was unhappy with her 2:3.55 and Sally Gillam followed her in 2:56.01, just ahead of Vanessa Burns in 2:58.38. Chris Evans was just behind that in 3:3.35.

The race also doubled as the club's 20-mile championships, with medals being presented afterwards to the first three men and women by Ilford's road and cross country captain, Dianne Crisp.

Bertie Powell, of Woodford Green, took the race in 1:49.06 after a titanic battle with Paul Molyneux of Springfield striders (1:49.34), the latter taking the Essex title by virtue of the fact that Powell is Middlesex affiliated.

In the women's race Sarah Stradling, of Colchester Harriers, was a class apart, easily winning in 2:4.54 seconds. The race saw 175 runners finished the course.

Abdi Berleen, meanwhile, led Ilford home in the Roding Valley half marathon after clocking 1:33.35 for 76th position in a field of 667 finishers.

Rohan Alexander also made the top 100 with 1.35.43 for 98th while in 398th was Jenny Cass in 1:55.18, 411th was Pam Jones in 1:56.01 and Steve Port clocked 2:48.10.

Paul Martelleti of Victoria Park Harriers won the race in 1:09.20 from Crispian Bloomfield of Billericay 1:11.58.

Steve Parker is another in marathon training and he was the sole Ilford representative at the tough Thanet 20, clocking 2:29.22.

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