30/08/2023 - World Record marathon attempt.
Ivanhoe Runners took on a colossal challenge of beating 2 hours for a marathon by clocking up 105.5 laps at Tamworth Athletic Track, a willing bunch of 29 athletes split into mini teams to attack the world record. But how? By each taking 100 or 200 metre sections trying to emulate the pace of the GOAT Eliud Kipchoge.
Mo Danvers kicked off proceedings to the roars of the crowds by excellently running the first 100m and handing over the baton (with Garmin attached) to Sophie Cotton, followed by Paul Codd who completed his first 200m. With further clean baton exchanges between Amelia Willden who ran the fastest 100m of the night in an eye watering 13.75 seconds, subsequently passing to Michelle Coates, and sister duo Ruth Enion and Bec Sharpe as the team banked legs one through five.
You could feel the excitement amongst the supporters watching from outside the clubhouse. Completing team 1 were Catherine Watkins, Alex Gillon and Sue Tait who put us in a great position before handing over to Paul Averillo to start off team 2 with their 200m stints. Paul handed over to Mark Parker with the fastest 200m leg of the night with a blistering 27.64 seconds. With continued precision in the baton exchanges between James Ogilvie, Matt Pleass, Martin Yeomans and Patrick Horn, who put Ivanhoe Runners close to the target time.
The final athlete of team 2 was Rob Baden who ran superbly throughout and handed back to Mo in team 1 to start their second set. This time around Victoria Smith and George Giles came into the fold for team 1 too and were epic in their performances.
Approaching the halfway point and team 3 began their journey into this arduous challenge with Matthew Pleass along with Rob Baden and Mark Parker starting their second set of three.
At the halfway mark the time was 1 hour and 2 seconds, just 2 seconds behind the target time which also would put us on the heels of Kipchoge. It doesn’t half put into perspective how incredible these professional athletes really are. Our boys and girls were putting all their effort into short sprints of fast running. Keeping it up for 26.2 - a whole other beast!
When word got out about how close we were, this really brought confidence to the athletes along with the great enthusiasm and raucousness they could hear from the crowd.
The runners were spurred on by the fabulous spirit as daytime turned to night, the sky lit up by the blue super moon over the stadium, as Dan Bladen put absolutely everything into it handed over to Jordan Cope, Andrew Stanley and Louis Barnes, completing their set 1 for team 3. Heading towards the business end and with tensions beginning to build, Paul Woods started off team 4 who passed onto George Giles after helping out with the 100m earlier on. Following this was Ramzi Sidani, Ian Bolton and Mark Harriott before handing back to team 3 to complete their second set.
Team 4 headed out for the second time and started the final set of the night with Richard Hampson and Nick Rowles helping the team out this time around. The supporters were asking how laps were left and when we got to lap 100 you could feel the atmosphere building especially with rumours that we were getting close to hitting the target.
As it came to the last leg, club chairman Nick Rowles took the baton for the final time and as he approached the final 100m the whole club ran with him to the finish line in a grandiose finale in this immense event as Ivanhoe Runners crossed the finishing line in a time of 1 hour, 58 minutes and 2 seconds.
None of this could be done without the help of an abundance of superb volunteers of Karl Wideman, Fiona Betts, Katherine Kemp, Pippa David, Gemma Shaw, and Alastair Burgwin, the one responsible for coming up with the idea for this epic ambitious challenge which was inspired by Kipchoge's sub 2 hour marathon attempt. To give you an insight into Alastair’s brain, he has also ‘Everested’ (give that one a Google if you’re unsure) up Piston Hill!
And finally, the biggest shoutout to Matt Pleass, who orchestrated the feat from start to finish, with an extreme amount of behind the scenes prep and coordination on the night.
Congratulations Team Ivanhoe!
Written by Emily Partridge - last updated on 01/09/2023