Harriers’ team rises to marathon challenge in style

Gade Valley Harriers' London Marathon runners

Gade Valley Harriers' London Marathon runners

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At the end of many months of hard, dedicated training a team of 19 Gade Valley Harriers took to the streets of the capital on Sunday to take on the ultimate challenge of the London Marathon.

In perfect running weather, the team joined 37,000 runners from across the world, including the world’s best athletes and plenty of celebrities, to take in the iconic London sights along the 26.2-mile route.

Tom in his chainmail

Tom in his chainmail

Among the amazing performances, Tom Langdown set a new Guinness World Record for the fastest marathon wearing upper-body chainmail, crossing the line in 4:50:16.

First home for the team was Rich Coles, setting a new PB and club record in the MV40 category (2:45:05).

Next home, and also with a new PB, was James Birnie, pushing hard to dip under the three-hour mark ( 2:58:23). Bill Hawes set a MV50 club record (3:03:38), and in his first-ever marathon Chris Dowling excelled to complete in 3:15:28, followed by Andy Norton 3:13:19, Vince Ellerby 3:18:05, Maria Kenny 3:20:10, Rob Potton PB 3:52:07, Claire McDonnell 3:53:10, Shelley Walsh 3:44:04, Paulina Boczek 3:49:54, Charlotte O’Reilly 4:00:57, Andy Watt 4:01:16, Mel Hardy 4:29:32, Sarah Chapman 4:37:51, Suey Kasaven 4:59:23, Emma Cooper 5:02:35 and Emma Graham 5:28:36.

Also competing at the marathon were many runners supporting the Heads Together charity, which this year was the charity of the year for the marathon.

Founded by the Duke and Duchess of York and Prince Harry, the charity aims to end the stigma and increase awareness of mental health.

Following the same aims as the charity, Harrier Rob Potton, who ran the marathon, is the mental health ambassador for the club and he is organising an event called Run and Talk, to be held at the Harriers HQ at Boxmoor Cricket Club, St Johns Road, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 1NP, on Thursday, May 11, at 7pm.

The event is aiming to show people how exercise can help with mental well-being and it will encourage them to talk about mental health issues.

All attendees will receive a free one-month membership to the club and more information can be obtained by emailing Rob at runand talk@gadevalleyharriers.co.uk.

Also in marathon action recently, in Padova, Italy, was Harrier’s Susie Ivin.

The route started in the Padova Euganeo Stadium.

The race entry was a prize Ivin won from entering a raffle at a previous marathon expo day, and she made the most of it by completing the course in 4:29:40.