Saffron Strider Gavin Long cas-socked it to them at the Virgin London Marathon - smashing a world record by four minutes

PUBLISHED: 08:01 25 April 2012

Saffron Striders' marathon runners

Saffron Striders' marathon runners


While some marathon-watchers may have been focusing on the competition among the elite runners, for Saffron Walden it was all about Gavin’s attempt to become the fastest person ever to run a marathon dressed as a monk.

And now he can proudly call himself the Saffron Striders’ first ever world record holder, after completing the course - in cassock and authentic shaved tonsure - in 3hrs 45mins. Hhe also managed to raise more than £800 for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital in the process.

It was just one of a string of incredible results for Saffron Walden’s running club, as a record 19 club members lined up on Sunday among 37,500 other runners. As well as breaking personal bests (and a world record) various Striders also raised thousands of pounds for charities.

Running not only his first London Marathon, but his first marathon anywhere, James Kew’s prediction of a 3hrs 30mins finish proved somewhat conservative, as he ran a blistering 3hrs 5mins, earning himself a good for age place in next year’s race and also picking up the plaudit of being the first Saffron Strider to finish the race. James was running to raise money for the Action Duchenne charity.

Not far behind was London veteran and club chairman Nigel Coates, who in is 16th London Marathon ran a very fast 3hrs 7mins 57secs, again ensuring a good-for-age place in the 2013 race.

Ex-pat Strider Ros Barker made her annual trip from Hong Kong to compete for the club and once again achieved an astonishing time - her 3hrs 12mins made her the 11th female in the 45 to 49-years-old category to finish the race and was well ahead of her 3hrs 15mins target.

Next home for the Striders was Iain Henley who, like James Kew, was running his first ever marathon. Despite being new to the distance, he finished in a superb time of 3hrs 22mins 33secs.

Stephane Toussenel, running for the charity Global Vision, powered home for a 3hrs 25mins 45secs finish time, raising hundreds of pounds for the charity which supports projects around the world including the Precious Vision Care Centre in Kenya, which Stephane has previously visited.

Rebecca White, running her first marathon as a mum, absolutely destroyed her previous personal best for the distance, taking six minutes off that time to finish in a remarkable 3hrs 30min 3secs.

After an excellent year’s running which earned her an automatic place at London, Carol White had no difficulty in beating her target time of sub 4 hours, finishing in 3hrs 40mins 26secs. Gemma Thake also smashed her 4 hours target, with a finishing time of 3hrs 43mins 10 secs - only a minute away from her fastest ever marathon. Gemma was also among the Striders’ charity fundraisers, competing in aid of Kidney Research.

After Gavin the Monk crossed the line, next home for the Striders was Janet Lipski who comfortably finished under 4 hours in 3hrs 54mins 33secs. Just 11 seconds behind was Steve Inkley, for whom all those months of training really paid off. He set a new personal best time of 3hrs 54mins 44secs and has so far raised an incredible £1,763 for Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

Arthur Rank Hospice will also benefit from fundraising thanks to Keith and Bridget Savill, who ran the 26.2-mile distance in 3hrs 50mins 50secs and 4hrs 29mins 15secs respectively. Keith was just a minute away from a new personal best.

Next home was Tim Ellis, who despite sustaining a foot injury en route still managed to come home well under 4 hours with a 3hrs 51mins 26secs finish. Stuart Field was elated after managing to beat his 4 hour target, with a time of 3hrs 59mins 58secs.

Alistair Cooke has plenty to celebrate as, although he narrowly missed out on running a sub 4 hour race with a time of 4hrs and 58secs, smashed his personal best marathon time by almost 5 minutes and took an incredible 20 minutes of his previous best time for the London Marathon. And if that wasn’t enough, he also raised hundreds of pounds for the charity Medics. Alistair in fact ran the 26.2 mile marathon distance in under four hours, but due to the crowded race route he ran an additional 0.3 miles while overtaking runners during the course of the race!

David Hornigold did himself proud in his second ever marathon - the first being London five years ago. He completed the tough route in 4hrs 5mins 11secs which was at the upper end of the 4hrs to 4hrs 30mins target he set himself.

Kate Holden also did a superb job on the day, raising more than £800 for Unique and completing the race in 4hrs 33mins 26secs. Meanwhile Sunday marked the first-ever marathon for Ian Scott, who raised hundreds of pounds for Asthma Research UK and finished in 5hrs 17mins 34secs.

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