More than a thousand runners took to the streets of Preston to compete in truly atrocious conditions, with driving rain and an undulating course, in the Preston Guild Marathon.
Right at the start Preston Harriers’ David Rigby’s commitment to a fast pace was apparent as he paired up with Tomas Abyu of Salford Harriers.
Ben Fish (Blackburn Harriers) stormed ahead to take the lead which he never relinquished, claiming victory in 2hrs 2mins.
In close contention, at mile seven, Preston Harriers’ Gethin Butler and Robert Affleck worked together at maintaining their momentum, which paid dividends later in the race.
On the return leg of the race Rigby paid for his early blistering pace, with both Butler and Affleck passing him and racing each other for honours over the closing stages. Butler finished in 2.32, third overall and 1st MV40, with Affleck in with a PB 2.34, fourth overall and second MV40.
In Rigby’s first ever marathon he attained a cracking time of 2.41 in seventh overall.
Steve Hallas had to dig deep on the day and was rewarded with a time of 2.50.
A sub-three hour marathon time is often seen as a solid benchmark, so both Alan Durney and Preston’s Guild 5k champion Paul Lightfoot were very content with a great PB 2.58, third MV45 for Durney and 2.59 for Lightfoot’s first marathon.
At the sharp end of the ladies’ race, Brigit Chesworth led over the first half but was overhauled by the ever determined Gema Adams, with Adams claiming third overall in a PB 3.03 and Chesworth fourth overall in 3.10.
Next in were Tony Livesey (3.10), David Cairns (3.10.53), Kevin Curran (3.11) and Russell Codd, who recorded a new PB of 3.15.
Marian Hesketh was victorious as 1st FV55 and to underline her supremacy in her category, she was more than 40 minutes ahead of her nearest rival to cross the line in an age -defying 3.17.
Posting creditable times were Chris Livesey in 3.22, fell ace John Griffiths (3.23), Peter Cowling (3.24) and Alan Appleby, who attained 1st MV65 in 3.24.42.
On the same day, Preston Harriers’ haul of Guild honours continued during the Guild Half Marathon, with an emphatic victory by Gary Pennington who led from start to finish, unchallenged in a time of 1.13.57.
Stephen Young and Kingsley Judd pushed each other to the line with Young just in front with 1.25.32 and Judd 1.25.38.
Kevin Hesketh, placing fourth MV55, was next over the line with 1.26.42.
David Green posted 1.28, with a very happy Debra Jones next to continue the Harriers’ Guild accolades with first FV40 in 1.30.27.
Continuing the assault on the finish line was Samuel Harrison (1.31), Andrew Grimshaw (1.31.32), Phil Anderson (1.32.40), J Clemson (1.34), R Smith (1.34), P Smith (1.35), S Mort (1.36), M Brennand (1.38), A Stell (1.38), Sarah Gohil (fifth FV40, 1.40), L Berends (1.41), J Russell (1.49) and C Bellamy (1.52).
Alan Metcalf, on pacing duty, crossed the line in 1.55 and was followed in by D Capstick (1.55), S Ormerod (1.57), P. Stell (1.55), E Melling (1.58), S Clemson (1.59), C Rawcliffe (2.01), S. Jackson (2.01), F Cross (2.01.53) and D Roberts (2.01 28).
Judith Deakin continued the rich bounty of Guild honours with 1st FV65 in 2.03 and was followed in by J Duffy (2.13).