Autumn marathon stepping stones for 564 at Lydd
Nice Work promotion saw a cracking finish in the 20-miler
The rescheduled 14th Brett Lydd 20 and Half Marathon on Sunday (15th August) was an important stepping stone for the many endurance runners who are targeting an autumn marathon such as Virgin Money London Marathon on 3rd October 2021.
Prior to London, there is the ABP Southampton Marathon on 5th September and Brighton Marathon on 12th September, so Lydd is superbly placed for a test of speed and endurance. If only it had been a bit cooler it would have been perfect!
The experienced Nice Work team was responsible for race management and the Banks Sports and Social Club, Dennes Lane, Lydd provided a great race HQ. The course is pancake-flat and fast, enabling PBs to be set provided the wind is not too strong. Conditions were conducive on Sunday apart from the rising temperatures throughout the morning – a perfect opportunity for 354 finishers (in 5:30:54) to test those marathon hydration plans.
The 20-miler, sponsored by the UK's largest independent construction materials company, covered an out and back course through Romney Marsh countryside via Lydd, Old Romney, and Brookland village. The half marathon had a shorter turning point near Blue House Farm.
The men's 20-mile race was a cracker, with just 10 seconds separating the first two finishers. M40 Paul Piper, of West 4 Harriers, prevailed in a PB and course record 1:50:13 from Max Costley (Southampton AC, 1:50:23 PB). Both were inside the previous course best of 1:50:30 by Ben Shearer in 2017.
Five men broke two hours – under 1:55 in fact – and the next three to achieve that very high standard were Tonbridge AC training partners Neil McClements (1:53:47-debut) and Jay Smith (1:54:05 PB) plus M45 Ben Shearer (Cambridge Harriers, 1:54:42).
Cambridge Harriers also provided the women's champion Lucy Foreman (2:22:51 PB) who was joined in ducking under two and a half hours by W45 Debbie Jackson (South London Harriers, 2:24:24 - debut), W40 Kat Owens (Crawley AC, 2:27:36), W40 Tracy English (Colchester Harriers, 2:27:36) and W45 Claudine Davie (Grange Farm & Dunmow, 2:28:23).
The Brett Lydd Half Marathon was enjoyed by 211 runners who had all finished inside four hours. Joe Morwood (Aldershot, 1:11:12) won by a mile – quite literally – from M45 Matthew Aylott (South London Harriers, 1:18:07 PB) and M45 Ben Hebblethwaite (Ashford, 1:20:35).
A somewhat closer women's race went to Guernsey's Vicky Carre (W45, 1:29:12 PB) by just over two minutes from Emma Leeson (Burgess Hill, 1:31:37 PB). Dover's Amy Stimpson (1:42:23) was third.
Image: Wikimedia Commons courtesy Funk Dooby