London Marathon 2019

The London Marathon is one of the largest sporting events in the Athletics calendar. The race returned on Sunday 28th April 2019 for its 39th year, attracting over 400,000 applicants for just over 40,000 places. Fortunately, 8 Dartford Harriers athletes were successful in obtaining a place.

The favourable weather conditions led to a number of excellent performances and personal bests. We have even had a local photographer comment that taking the pictures was tough going, given the pace of the athletes. The table below summarises all the individual performances.

Overall position (Category position)
1301 (811)Huntley Roberts02:52:51
1865 (1051)Chris Biddle02:57:45
2920 (188)Nick Varley03:06:33
10298 (1363)Jennifer Pritchett03:45:15
10862 (3877)Simon Parrin03:47:31
13045 (1806)Karen Amos03:55:09
16564 (1194)Jon Ives04:06:48
17908 (98)Stephen Roberts04:12:18

We have managed to catch up with a couple of Hoops who have kindly agreed to share their experiences of the race. Starting with Chris Biddle, who qualified for the championship start line. Although the race didn’t quite go to plan, it’s clear he had a real determination to finish the race and still managed to achieve a sub 3-hour time.

London 2019 – my 4th marathon, 3rd London and my 1st time starting on the championship start line! The training build up hadn’t been brilliant this year but I achieved a PB at the Paddock Wood half 3 weeks before, so I was confident of a chance of running a quick marathon and scraping a PB!

Unfortunately, I made a massive error of going off at a too fast pace in the first 10 miles so got to mile 14-15 and the wheels fell off! It felt like someone had flicked a switch and my legs just stopped! I decided from then that pulling out of the race was not an option so just decided to do the best I could and get to the finish line as quick as I can and collect my medal. Also, to forget about times and the heap of runners speeding past me and just soak up the crowds cheering and the overall atmosphere!!

I eventually crossed the line in a time of 2:57:45 and it was a relief it was over. To sum it up… no I didn’t hit my target and I was very disappointed with myself but on the other hand I’d had the privilege to have been part of the best marathon in the world and I thank everyone who turned out to support me and the other 40+ thousand runners on the day! It was great to see so many familiar faces along the 26.2 miles whether it was my fellow hoops, runners from other clubs, friends and family… it helped a great deal! I will be back next year to do it all again 😊 well done to the other Dartford Harriers who ran!

Chris Biddle

Huntley post-race with his proud family

Huntley Roberts (pictured above) was more than familiar with the race, now having taken part 8 times, managed to secure a new PB. His account of the race is as follows:

This year was my 8th time racing the London Marathon – my favourite road race of the year.  Training had gone really well, and the classic high mileage approach (consistent 80+ mile weeks) was starting to pay off with PBs in the 5k (17:53 at Hyde Park) and Half Marathon (79:52 at Brentwood).  Leading up to the race, I had set myself a target of sub 2:50 and probably set off a little too quick as I went through half way on track to finish in 2:46

I had a great boost at mile 17 seeing my wife Lucy and my children Jack and Evie (pictured below)– but the inevitable cramp in my legs kicked in soon after, and as nearly always in the marathon, the last miles along the Embankment were rather tough.  However, I was really pleased to finish in 02:52:51, knocking a couple of minutes of my PB and over an hour quicker than my marathon debut back in 2007! 

I can’t wait to have another crack at the race in 2020 and my lifetime aim is to try and make it on the Championship start line (sub 2:45!).  Thank you to everyone along the course who gave me a loud cheer for the ‘HOOPs’.

Huntley Roberts

London Mini Marathon

In addition to the full marathon, a number of our younger athletes had the opportunity to race for Bexley in the London Mini Marathon. Starting in Old Billingsgate, each athlete raced a three-mile course finishing in The Mall. A full list of their performances are available below:

Overall position (Age group position)AthleteTime
174 (66)Daniel Moulton18:05
198 (79)Miles Brierley18:25
292 (101)Edward Best19:13

It’s fair to say that most of the competitors will mention how valuable the officials and supporters are in making this such a popular race. Thank you to the large number of Dartford Harriers lining the streets to support their fellow Hoops. We also can’t forget those who volunteered their time to support with the smooth running of the event by marshalling (as you will see from the image of the Capon family below, it looked like an enjoyable experience all round).

The Capon Family volunteering at the Marathon

Thanks to Chris Biddle and Huntley Roberts for thier written contributions. Featured image kindly taken by Ali Evans.

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