Dacorum & Tring Road Runners limbering up for marathon action

From left: David Stears, Anya Higgins, Vicky Thornley, Debbie Kennard, Jess Tanner, Sam Hawkridge, Kelly Du Buisson, Andrew Cracknell, Louisa Hopper, Russell Morris, Rachel Lewis, Duncan Hamilton, Heidi Greaves, Esther Hamilton, Jules Robinson and Chris Kitchener PNL-150421-093602002

From left: David Stears, Anya Higgins, Vicky Thornley, Debbie Kennard, Jess Tanner, Sam Hawkridge, Kelly Du Buisson, Andrew Cracknell, Louisa Hopper, Russell Morris, Rachel Lewis, Duncan Hamilton, Heidi Greaves, Esther Hamilton, Jules Robinson and Chris Kitchener PNL-150421-093602002

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Dacorum & Tring AC’s Road Runners are gearing up for the spring marathon season, with 23 club members taking on the 26.2-mile challenge over the next three months.

Fully 11 of the group are raising valuable funds for a variety of charities and will be looking to beat the £20,000 raised last year by club marathoners.

That support and encouragement for all our runners, young or old, fast or slow, novice or experienced, is typical of the great spirit within the club

Dacorum & Tring AC coach Rob Deane

A clean dozen of the group will be running this weekend in the Virgin London Marathon and the group is likely to be led home by Andrew Cracknell, who finished last year’s London Marathon in a massive new PB of 2:37:58.

Team-mate Jamie Marlow will be looking to finish close to the 2:50 mark, with the rest of the group looking at 3:20 to 4:30 as their target finishing time.

Running to raise funds for charity are: Debbie Kennard (Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity); Jessica Tanner (Music at St Johns); David Stears (Spinal Research); Keith Wishart (Water Aid); Anya Higgins (Herts Community Foundation) and Heidi Greaves (The Brain Tumour Charity), while Samantha Hawkridge, Louisa Hopper, Steve Russell, Victoria Thornley and Rob Deane will also be representing Dacorum & Tring. Debbie has already secured pledges of £6,000 for her charity, while David has raised £5,000.

Four of the club’s runners began their marathon season last week, with Jules Robinson (NSPCC), Chris Kitchener (Neuroblastoma Children’s Cancer Alliance), Esther Hamilton (Prostate Cancer UK) and David Stears (Spinal Research) finishing the Brighton Marathon and Tim Churchill completing the distance in Paris.

Still to come are Duncan Hamilton and Russell Morris at the Milton Keynes marathon on May 4, Rachel Lewis, Kelly Du Buisson and Ania Gabb in Edinburgh in late May and Erica Klein (Cancer Research UK) in Liverpool in June.

Rob Deane, who has been coaching a number of the runners towards their marathon goals, said he was “very proud of them for all the hard work and determination they’ve shown to get through several long months of training, and for some to have overcome significant obstacles to get to the start line.

“I’m equally proud of the support they’ve received from other members of the club. That support and encouragement for all our runners, young or old, fast or slow, novice or experienced, is typical of the great spirit within the club.”

Dacorum & Tring AC Road Runners welcomes runners of all abilities, age 16+, with training sessions open to all every Tuesday and Thursday from 6.45pm to 8pm at their clubhouse at the Sportspace Athletics Track at Jarman Park.

Families are also very welcome to join, with track and field coaching in all disciplines and a specialised middle distance group open to children age 10 and over.