In Sunday’s gruelling 26.2 mile test on the streets of London, Cambridge runners continued their superb season with male and female team victories at the Varsity Marathon Championships.
There are few sporting events which conjure so many different stories, and with memories of the Boston Marathon still in the air, this year’s race proved especially poignant – whether you were an elite athlete, a man dressed as a rhino or a Light Blue competitor striving to beat the old enemy.
Indeed the men’s elite race, where one by one the world’s finest hit the wall after a scintillating 61:34 opening half, proved how brutal the distance is regardless of your ability, and even the eventual winner ran the second half three minutes slower than the first.
Cambridge runners – of course – ran far more sensible races. In his debut marathon, Will Bowers (pictured) excelled despite his trademark ‘face of pain’ to clock a superb 2 hours 43 minutes and 1 second and place 2nd in the individual Varsity standings as well as 6th in the corresponding BUCS Championships. Following close behind were Lorcan Murphy (2:46:14) and Bernd Kuhlenschmidt (2:47:18), with Drummond Lawson (2:52:11) and Neil Houlsby (2:56:20) completing a team which collectively beat Oxford by four minutes. With Tim Roberts and Seb Falk also breaking the 3 hour barrier, it was a brilliant example of the results of hard training.
In the women’s ‘two to score’ race, Stella Nordhagen ran 3:34:08, with Nora Hutchinson clocking 3:56:48, while Donna Gollach and Lina Hartmann also ran well close behind. This was enough to comfortably defend their title with an 11 minute victory.
Light Blue performance of the day however came from former club captain James Kelly – who ran 2h21:39 to finish 18th overall, 4th Brit and 3rd in the non-elite category! With Tom Stecher also excelling to run 2:37:26 and Clare Day clocking 3:06:40, alumni runners were joining on the bandwagon of success, with CUH&H now looking to take their cross-country and road form onto the track.