A great learning experience for athletes in Toronto
England Athletics took a team of 5 to this annual marathon event along with team coach Graeme Riley. The three men, Jonathan Poole (Club: Serpentine RC), Lee Grantham (Club: East Cheshire Harriers) and Ben Johnson (Club: Southport Waterloo AC), and two women Tish Jones (Club: Belgrave) and Anna Boniface (Club: Reading AC, Coach: Rob McKim) had to contend with warmer than expected conditions on race day which caused a lot of the competitors some issues.
An 8:45am start ensured it was cool enough for the start but it soon warmed up beyond half way into the race. The men decided to run as a team to half way and try and share the pace duties for as long as possible, while the women had the benefit of provided pacemakers at set times.
Anna Boniface was the first to have problems and had to drop out before 20km. She then ended up in hospital with ankle issues which led to crutches and and ankle boot for the the journey home. Tish Jones managed to around 34k when she also had to stop due to problems with her legs - not as serious as Anna but a reminder of how hard a marathon can be on the body. Understandably frustrated by their experiences they will have learnt a lot about big city marathons and how to approach them and compete.
Ben led the men home in a credible 12th position. Jonathan who ran with Ben for a large part of the race found the last 10km difficult while Lee managed to pass Jonathan in the second half and come in in 2:33.39.
Events like these are a great learning experience for both athletes and the team coach. England Athletics offer these opportunities to coaches to further their personal development and allow them to experience different and quality events. This is an important opportunity for coach development as previous team coaches have been able to come back and impart this gained knowledge to other coaches and athletes they help with. Sharing experiences like this is integral to the philosophy of England Athletics.
Coach Graeme said, “I have learnt so much from this trip that will help not only my personal coaching but also the preparation of athletes for all events in the future."
Ben Johnson - 2.23:21 (12th)
Lee Grantham - 2.33:39 (27th)
Jonathon Poole - 2.38:33 (33rd)
approx 4000 athletes, winner Philemon Rono (Kenya) with new record time of 2:06:52.