Michelle smashes marathon record

A total of 28 Milton Keynes Athletic Club members contested the 24th running of the annual London Marathon with 12 of them inside three-and-a-half hours.

Pride of place goes to two of the female runners. Michelle Lee had hopes of making the Olympic team. With Paula Radcliffe already selected and Liz Yelling fairly certain to grab the second spot, it was going to be down to one of around six others to fight for the third place.

On the day it was the surprise package Tracy Morris who stormed through to be the first Great Britain lady home. She was followed by Birhan Dagne, Jo Lodge and then Michelle with a quite outstanding performance.

She smashed her club record and personal best by almost eight minutes with 2hrs 35m.51s. This was inside the Olympic qualifying time of 2hrs 37m and must certainly set up Michelle for a future international vest.

Michelle passed 10 kilometres in 36m 25s and then went through the halfway mark in 76m 44s. Showing her strength she ran the second half in 79m 07s to finish 14th in the ladies' race and 132nd overall. Only seven MKAC men have previously run faster!

Second MKAC lady home was Anick Valapinee. She was 225th female with a stunning personal best for a 47-year old of 3hrs 17m 4s and this moves her up to number five from 10th on the club's ladies' all-time rankings. On the day she was 15th overall in the over 45 category.

Leading the MKAC men home, with the fastest time for a Milton Keynes male since 1999, was Didier Oesch. Didier's early split times were comparable to Michelle's, clocking 36m 19s at 10km and 76m 53s at half-way. He ran the second half in 81m 53s to finish a superb 183rd overall in 2hr 38m 46s. This places Didier at number 16 on the club's all-time rankings.

The next five men were fairly closely bunched at halfway but it was left to Bob Johnson and Andy Stiles to fight it out to be third MKAC runner home.

Andy led at 30km but Bob forged ahead by 40km and they finished with different emotions – Bob just breaking the three-hour barrier, finishing 1,073rd in 2hr 59m 4s and Andy just the wrong side, finishing 1,238th in 3hr 1m 8s.

Next home with three more fine times were Ian Danskin, improving his personal best by over 10minutes, crossing the line 1,623rd in 3hr 6m 20s and then Les Turton home in 3hr 10m 6s and Richard Large home in 3hr 11m 47s, the latter making his marathon debut. They were followed by Ian Lamb (3:13.16), Oliver Wright (3:14.10) and Martin McPheat (3:18.36).

Neil Taylor made a very successful debut with 3:24.39 followed by the first MKAC over 50 runner Chris Herman (3:30.27) and then the first over 55 runner Eddie Hill (3:32.50).

Alec Walliker set a personal best of 3hr 35m 59s by some seven minutes just a second ahead of Malcolm Down (3:36.00), running his first marathon since 1990.

James Clark clocked 3:39.36, second claim member Sue Tracy clocked 3:41.59 with Julie Dalzell making her debut with 3:42.00 and finishing as 71st lady and coming in at number 19 on the club rankings.

Sub four-hour performances came from John Hopkins (3:49.40), Alli Ratcliffe (3:51.30) and Les Paul (3:58.09).

Joanne James ran 4:01.48 with father Jim McKellar clocking 4:12.02. In between this duo came Margaret Crowe (4:03.58) and Lee Hope (4:05.25) while completing the MKAC squad were Kerry Wilson (4:18.32) and Tony Byrne(4:39.41).