London race attracts plenty of Plodders

It was a busy April for the Polegate Plodders with runners competing in various events locally and in London.

There was a big milestone for Sarah Doherty, who participated in her first ever half marathon at the London Landmarks Half.

The London Landmarks Half is a closed road, central London run and is the only half marathon to go through both the City of London and City of Westminster. Runners pass many famous landmarks including Nelson’s Column, the Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral and the London Eye.

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Plodders Sarah, Martin and Helen in London

Sarah, along with her partner Martin Sales, ran for Guide Dogs and raised over £880: “Six years ago, Martin had a stroke which left him with permanent visual impairment. The Eastbourne Blind Society have been hugely supportive and shortly after having his stroke, Martin took up jogging and joined the Polegate Plodders,” she said.

“It took some time for me to catch the running bug too but Saturday morning jaunts at Eastbourne parkrun certainly helped. Having got our own pet dog earlier this year, we know first-hand how much he has lifted our spirits. How special must it be for those with visual impairment to have a trusted and loyal friend?”

In perfect running conditions – cloudy, sunny and a slight breeze – Sarah came through in 2 hours 24 mins and 49 seconds, 15 minutes quicker than her aim of 2 hours 40. Martin was a second back in 2:24:50.

Plodders' Liam Brooks in the capital

“The support at the start was subdued but got going eventually; at 9 miles the Guide Dogs Stand gave us a huge wave and shout out. There were loads of bands, singers and choirs on route,” she said.

“Since testing positive for Covid over Christmas, I have suffered with bad sciatica and it kicked in quite early on in the race; I was very emotional at the end after realising I had beaten my aim by more than 15 minutes.”

Sarah had a few special people to thank after crossing the line: “Sue Fry for getting my body in shape beforehand with a thorough massage, Martin for his incredible continued support and the Pawleys who made a weekend of it with us – Ben was participating and Debs volunteered at the finish line, dressed as Henry 8th,”

“As I was so consumed at the end with my emotions, I missed her but she has been fantastic.

Going forward, Sarah wants to concentrate on improving her 5k and 10k times: “I am not keen on the longer distances because the training is too time consuming, huge kudos to any runners that want to do another 13 miles for a full marathon,” she said.

Despite feeling unprepared and apprehensive due to an ankle injury, Helen Blewitt came through in 2:04:05. She raised over £400 for Epilepsy Society: “The support from the crowds was super, choirs, bands and raves throughout; I would highly recommend this lively event.”

For Liam Brooks, it was his third half in 29 days following Eastbourne and Hastings. He finished in a time of 1:37:34, his second fastest half marathon. His fastest coming in 2018.

Further down south on the same weekend, Marco Fortmann participated in the Goodwood Motor Circuit Marathon and finished in 4:25:55.

To conclude April, three Plodders competed in the Rathfinny 10k at the world-famous wine estate in Alfriston. Runners had to endure hot conditions over hilly but beautiful terrain. Following on from her London Landmarks exploits, Helen Blewitt finished in 1:14:1. Nikki Loats in 1:07:41 and Shauni Wells 1:45:10.