Emma Prideaux reprised her 2016 victory in the Chelmsford Marathon and joined 18 runners in dipping below three hours in the second running of the 26.2 mile race from Central Park on Sunday (22 October). Emma was a popular local victor as she represents Essex club Billericay Striders.
The women's race was clear cut from the gun as Prideaux built an insurmountable lead early on and eventually crossed the finish line with a 17-minute cushion in 2:57:24, only 56 seconds outside her best set earlier this month at Chester. Caroline Brown (3:14:10) and Anna Troup (3:21:17) were the nearest opposition to the Billericay Bullet on this occasion.
Peter Hogben (Canterbury Harriers, 2:34:35) got a good return for his Dartford Crossing toll fee by winning the men's race from Crispian Bloomfield (Billericay Striders, 2:35:45) and Tom Heslop (Victoria Park & Tower Hamlets, 2:40:30). This was an impressive marathon debut for Hogben, who has won his home town half marathon twice and boasts a PB of 1:12:19 for the half distance.
The Chelmsford course comprises a single lap from outside Shire Hall, Chelmsford, through Chelmer, Bell Meadow, Writtle College, Roxwell, Willingdale and finishing in Central Park. The mainly flat route produced good times as 100 runners finished inside 3:30:00 and all 570 were home in 7:49:56.
The main race was supported by a new 5k run entirely on paths through Chelmsford city parks and alongside the River Can. There were 205 finishers in 1:36:26 and the leaders were Tyler Wiltshire (Braintree, 17:14) and Annabel Gummow (Bristol & West, 18:49), who was an excellent fifth overall.
Lead charity the J's Hospice is set to benefit from the increased entry after an impressive £60,000 was raised last year when 370 runners set off in the marathon.
Image courtesy The J's Hospice