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Grantham Running Club take part in the Boston Marathon Festival

Jo Grace produced the performance of the day from the trio of Grantham Running Club entries in the Boston Marathon Festival.

Grace hadn't originally planned to even enter the race but, after a personal best at the Half Marathon and an on-target time at her first ever 20-miler, she decided she was race ready and didn't need to wait until Edinburgh at the end of May.

Her 3:53:55 was the second fastest time by one of GRC's ladies in 2024 and bettered her previous best by more than 53 minutes.

Alan Carley.
Alan Carley.

Another runner whose hard miles in training was rewarded by a personal best was veteran runner Alan Carley who shaved 53 seconds off his previous best set in 2019.

This was all the more outstanding when you take into account the amount of flooding on the course which was ankle deep in either water or mud in more than a dozen places.

Alan's 3:30:24 would have been minutes quicker on a warmer, drier, less windy day for the same effort.

The final GRC marathoner was Robert McArdle who was pleased to finish after a torn hamstring had restricted his training to short runs since February. He was happy to score good points in the club's championship by finishing in 3:43:23.

There were two Grantham athletes in the next race which was the 10k that started at 8.15am with conditions underfoot that posed a real hazard to fast running with the potholed tarmac.

In what was her best performance to date, Carlene Veasey came agonisingly close to the podium, finishing fourth and only a couple of seconds outside her personal best in 44:35.

Catherine Payne
Catherine Payne

Her team-mate Kev Wallace, having made his full marathon debut less than a fortnight previously, was definitely running on tired legs and his finish time of 47:43 was not a fair reflection of where he is this season.

The final race of the festival was the half marathon and 10 GRC runners lined up on the start.

First back for the club was Rob Howbrook, dipping just under the 100 minute mark for the second time this year with 99:36 and picking up his age group prize in the process.

Next home was Catherine Payne as eighth female in 1:41:58 having dropped a couple of places with shoelace issues caused by trying to wade too fast in some of the deeper bits.

Paul Jepson was runner-up to Rob's age group win in his last few weeks as a MV 65 and his time of 1:53:24 was his fastest for four years.

Holly Wragg's personal best of 1:54:06 also belied the atrocious conditions while Sam Jepson came home just a few seconds behind her in 1:54:12 having assisted Holly with her pacing.

Holly Wragg and Sam Jepson
Holly Wragg and Sam Jepson

After a tough outing at Hose recently, Craig Drury was able to get back on track with a 1:57:11 on a challenging day for spectacle wearing runners with the rain blowing under his peaked cap.

Finishing just outside the two-hour mark were Chris Moore in 2:00:41 in his first half for five years some six seconds in front of Susan Copping.

The final GRC man home was a thoroughly drenched Richard Urquhart in 2:07:09, a few minutes adrift of his 2023 time, but with what was probably a stronger performance given the conditions.

Completing the line-up was Davina Honeywood in 2:08:36 barely more than a minute outside her personal best also set under more race friendly conditions.

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