Visiting runner takes honours in Bungay Black Dog Marathon

Competitors in the Bungay Black Dog Marathon. Photo: NICK BUTCHER.

Competitors in the Bungay Black Dog Marathon. Photo: NICK BUTCHER. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Colchester Harriers athlete Alan Smalls won the 32nd Bungay Black Dog Marathon yesterday after leading from virtually from start to finish.

By the time the field of over 200 had reached Mettingham, a mile and a half out, he had overtaken the early leader, and never relinquished it, despite being tracked gamely all the way around the Waveney Valley course by unattached runner Richard Watkinson.

Smalls finally won by over two minutes in a time of 2 hours, 47 minutes 10 seconds, in a race run partly in light rain and with a strong head breeze on the homeward leg of the two-lap race. He said afterwards it was tough.

'I think I went off too quickly and I tightened up on the second lap,' he said. 'I was trying for 2-42 but I finished in 2-47.'

But he was pleased with his day's work – the first time had had run the Bungay event for about 12 years.

Wilkinson finished a creditable runner-up in 2-49:38. Mark Sands, also unattached and from Boston, was third in 2-51:52.

The ladies also found it a tough race. Courtney Thornberry, from Kenilworth, led for the first half but was gradually caught by Tiptree Roadrunner Tracey Harrington as she faded over the second lap.

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Harrington eventually won by well over four minutes in a time of 3-42:31, with unattached runner Lisa Symonds moving up to finish second in 3-47-36. Thornberry finished third in 3-59:40.

The half-marathon attracted 600 entries, with many runners using it as a training exercise for the forthcoming London Marathon.

The men's race was won by City of Norwich Athletic Club's Dominic Oliver, still a junior, in 1-18:55, 36 seconds ahead of clubmate Neil Davison, who clocked 1-19:31 Unattached Ipswich runner Adam Howlett was third in 1-20:03.

To the delight of the home crowds Bungay Black Dog Running Club's Justine Fawcett won the women's half-marathon in 1-34:25, more than six minutes ahead of Anneka Charters, of Mornington Chasers. Her time was 1-40:36, with the Black Dogs' Joanne Cox taking third place in 1-42:08.

North Norfolk Beach Runners (Colin Stark, Carmine de Grandis, Vinne Purdy) won the full marathon team prize, with City of Norwich AC (Dominic Oliver, Neil Davison, Charlie Parr) winning the half-marathon team prize. Bungay Black Dog (Justine Fawcett, Joanne Cox, Sophie Bell) won the women's half-marathon team prize.

Proceeds from this year's event, which carries the British Association of Road Runners gold standard, and included a family fun run, will again go to the NSPCC.