Havering runner James Connor breaks 30-year record in London Marathon
- Credit: Claire Richards/Havering AC
Havering Athletics Club's James Connor broke a club record that had stood for almost 30 years in placing fourth of the mass start finishers at the London Marathon.
James had gone close to Paul Bettridge’s record in his last marathon in Frankfurt two years ago, but this time he made no mistake, averaging around 16m for each five kilometre until half-way, which he passed in an excellent 68:12.
Although slowing in the final stages, James finished in two hours, 20 minutes, 16 seconds, just under a minute inside the long-standing club mark.
Earlier, the Havering borough young athlete teams had acquitted themselves well in the long-waited Virgin Money sponsored Mini Marathon event, which sees athletes in the under-13, under-15 and under-17 age groups run the final 2.6 km of the London Marathon course finishing in The Mall.
Havering's results in the London Boroughs Challenge against runners from all 33 London areas included one team victory and two second-placed teams, and individual second and two third places.
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The under-15 boys hard efforts meant they were worthy winners. Joseph Grange was first home in third with Daniel Lammas and Oliver Taylor-Bush in sixth and 13th, and Ryan Carroll’s 25th place made the scoring four to confirm the team victory ahead of Kingston.
Nathan Hart (44th) and Toby Johnson (65th) completed the squad.
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The under-17 girls came close to victory but were edged out into a well-deserved second place by the Bromley quartet.
Natalie Sewell and Holly Watson were a brilliant third and fourth, and Maddie Barker also made the top 10, with Freya Long completing the scoring four in 42nd, Hannah Yexley 55th and Izzy O’Connor 105th.
The under-13 boys - all making their first appearance in this event - also had to settle for second behind a strong Wandsworth squad.
Freddie Rowe was a superb runner up and Findlay McLaren came hot on his heels in fourth. Shea Sweeney finished 918th and Aidan Doherty (50th) were supported by 61st placed late call-up Stanley Churchill.
Shane Hart (20th), Ryan Holeyman (33rd), Charlie Howell (35th) and Finley Wolton (69th) made up the scorers for the sixth-placed under-17 boys.
Finley Wolton (115th) and Charlie Burgess (116th) were also in action, and the all-new under-13 girls were seventh thanks to Thurrock AC sisters Isabel and Olivia Forrest (13th and 26th), Abigail Rogers (48th) and Scarlett Woods (77th).
The girls' team would have finished higher, but sadly Leila Jones was taken ill and forced to drop out in the final stages.
The under-15 girls were 16th as Charlotte (23rd) and Hannah Evans (47th) were the first scorers and Chloe Keegan (81st) and Faith Wicks the others to score, with Maggie Smith 132nd in the largest field of 220.