Johnson continues marathon build-up with 11th spot at Milton Keynes Festival

Runners head off from the start of the half-marathon at the Milton Keynes Festival of Running. Picture submitted
Runners head off from the start of the half-marathon at the Milton Keynes Festival of Running. Picture submitted
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With spring marathons just around the corner, runners from Spa Striders, Kenilworth Runners and Leamington C&AC headed down to Buckinghamshire to take part in the Milton Keynes Festival of Running.

The festival included options for 5k, 10k, half-marathon and 20 miles, starting on closed roads in the town centre before laps on footpaths and cycleways around Willen Lake.

Striders captain Will Johnson just missed out on a top-ten spot in the half-marathon, finishing 11th in 1hr 18min 23sec.

Kenilworth Runners’ Marc Curtis ran an excellent race to finish 29th and fourth V45 in 1:22:33, just a second outside his personal best.

The duo also claimed the scalp of double Olympic gold medalist James Cracknell, who nevertheless recorded an impressive time of 1:23:31 as he continued his London Marathon build-up.

The race was won by Richard Waldren of Southampton AC in 70:22.

Leamington C&AC training partners Paul Okey and Natalie Bhangal took on the 20-mile option, with Okey pushing on from the 11-mile mark to finish 53rd in 2:16:45.

Bhangal was 61st and fourth female in 2:18:05.

Spa Striders’ Robert Thompson was 47th in 2:15:15, with Andrew Bonjour 237th in 2:40:16 and Russell Weston-Walker clocking 2:59:05 for 431st.

Kenilworth Runners’ Dave Pettifer was 171st and first V65 in 2:31:59, taking him to the top of the UK V65 20-mile rankings.

Clubmate Pavan Ayyalasomayajula was 571st in 3:16:31.

The race was won by Paul Navesey of Crawley AC in 1:52:14, with Marshall Milton Keynes’ Rachel Robinson (2:13:35) first female.

There were 812 finishers.

Meanwhile, Chris Lyons ran his first race in Kenilworth Runners’ colours, finishing 165th out of 1,555 runners in the Newport Half Marathon in a time of 1:35:58, a new personal best by more than five minutes.