Phoenix Running NOT the London Marathon 2023

Marathon Or Not?

Phoenix Running offered an alternative to the London Marathon

Have you heard about the Phoenix Running Marathon where 35 competitors didn't actually run a marathon? Read on to be enlightened...

Phoenix Running is all about being inclusive; it’s about great routes, great medals, and above all else, great people. Louise and Rik Vercoe married in 2010 and have run literally hundreds of marathons and extreme ultras between them, including the Great Wall of China. Rik won the Brathay 10 Marathons in 10 Days in 2013 and later that year became the first person to run 10 marathons in an average below three hours for a Guinness World Record of 29:54:56.

So that's the background of the people behind Phoenix Running. Now we come to the marathon that wasn't. For a start, the race title was: "Phoenix Running NOT the London Marathon Run 2023". The idea was to give London rejects an alternative outlet for their efforts in training. Also, any entrants in the Virtual London Marathon an opportunity to complete their 26.2 miles on the day of the TCS London Marathon (Sunday 23 April 2023).

The location was the familiar surroundings of the Excel Sports Hub, Waterside Drive, Walton-on-Thames, and the course was multiple circuits of a 3.28-mile Thameside towpath loop. The course has no elevation gain, making this a flat and fast route. Eight laps were required for the full marathon and competitors could choose to run less or more within an eight-hour limit.

Embracing the spirit of this being NOT the London Marathon 16 competitors ran four laps for a half marathon headed by David Ball (1:51:36) and Nathalie Williams (2:16:44). A further 19 ran a variety of distances from one lap to 12 laps. Seven runners exceeded the traditional marathon distance led by Morgan Curry (39.4 miles in 7:57:03) and Victoria Connelly (29.5 miles in 6:02:31).

However, some 55 of the participants couldn't resist the magic of the marathon distance and the fastest over eight laps were Simon Beal (3:29:31) and Vicky Bosley Fairbrother (3:48:02).

Oliver Farr (pictured above) ran his 99th Phoenix Marathon 26.2-miler in 4:44:03 to collect the monster-sized NOT the London Marathon Run medal, measuring a massive 150mm, along with all the 90 finishers in this hugely enjoyable, small-scale alternative to the main event held a little further down the River Thames.

Results available via the runABC South race listing here.

Image courtesy Phoenix Running on Facebook

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