|Eagles Soar At The London Marathon|
Record number took part this year
Twenty four runners from Ealing Eagles crossed the finish line at the Virgin London Marathon on Sunday – a club record number.
Fastest man home was Jose Manuel Pabon in a new club marathon record of 2:41.59.
Several of the runners were raising money for charity and – while they’re still totting up their totals - it’s believed they collected thousands of pounds for a variety of good causes.
They were roared on by a “cheer squad” of more than 100 fellow club members – sitting elevated on hay bales at mile 23 – on a mission to lift any sagging spirits at a point where competitors had to dig deep in their energy reserves.
Club founder Alan Brown said: “It was a fantastic day all-round, with some brilliant performances right through the field.
“We’re immensely proud of all our finishers. They’re an inspiration to those in the club who think they might have a marathon in them, but haven’t been quite brave enough to enter one yet.”
Alan steps down as chairman this week – four years after setting up the club, which grew to more than 450 members last year.
“I never dreamed we’d have such a big presence at this famous race but we hope we made our mark by cheering on all our local runners.”
Pabon was delighted to once again improve his personal best. “I couldn’t have asked for more,” he said.
For the second year running, his teammate Piers Keenleyside got around all 26.2 miles wearing a mankini – this year displaying an Eagle on its front – and he didn’t let any discomfort show, racing home in 3:26.18.
Rachid Afouzar - seriously injured when hit by a bus last year - completed his remarkable comeback by running his third marathon since the incident, in aid of the London Air Ambulance.
Also among the runners was Allie Collins, who said the crowd was fantastic when she was struggling in the later stages.
“I thought it had all gone massively wrong in the second half but it wasn't as bad as it felt. Going down stairs is still really painful but it was definitely worth the pain.”
Meanwhile, Katya Saville described watching the race footage on TV afterwards as a “surreal dream”. Among her highlights was passing the “cheer squad”.
“It was so emotional - between 50 and 100 members of my club with banners with my name at the ready. It was amazing noise and support,” she said.
April 23rd 2013