Led by a personal best from Aaron Scott (Lincoln Wellington / Nene Valley, Coach: Nick Anderson), the England Athletics team coped with chilly conditions and strong winds at the Mainova Frankfurt Marathon.
Aaron improved his best by almost a minute to 2:16:57 for 23rd place, compared to his previous best of 2:17:46 in London last year. Matt Sharp (Team Spy, Coach: Geoff Watkin) finished three places behind in 2:19:17 and Steven Bayton (Hallamshire / Sheffield Uni, Coach: Phil Nichol) crossed the finish line on the Festhalle’s red carpet in 2:20:41 for 30th. Steven, most definitely not one to make excuses - suffered from muscle cramp at around just over 25k and struggled through the last 15k. The fact that he still came through in just a minute outside his best shows that he still has great potential at this distance and will have gained further experience that will stand him in great stead for the future.
Dani Nimmock (City of Norwich, Coach: Pauline Ash) ran 2:38:54 for 23rd in the women’s race, just over half a minute down on her best, set in winning the Manchester Marathon this year. She has come a long way since she first ran at Frankfurt in 2016 finishing in 2:48:16.
The temperature was 6 degrees centigrade for the 10am start, and while Frankfurt’s course is one of the best in the world as a platform for fast times, on this occasion runners had to cope with a strong headwind for almost ten kilometres from 27km. Aaron Scott and Matt Sharp were in the same group and Scott was delighted with the pacing at halfway: “We went through bang on 68 minutes so I was really happy and then a group of four of us pushed on to the end. It was fairly tough because the wind took its toll from about 25k but it was fantastic we were in a group so we could take it in turns to lead for about one km at a time. I knew they were aiming for 2:16, 2:17 so we could work together and get what we wanted.”
There can be few better finishes to a marathon anywhere in the world than to run onto the red carpet of the Festhalle, accompanied by suitably operatic welcome. Running a personal best anywhere is naturally a cause for celebration but Aaron Scott reckons that Frankfurt is ideal for any runner wanting to rise to a higher level among the elite: “I think it’s perfect. There’s a very relaxed feel to the race. London is brilliant but it’s a bit more pressured. You’ve got a lot more people around whereas here, they seem to be really efficient in what they do and the course - you hardly get any climbs. We had a lot of wind but you don’t normally get that. As for the cold, at least it wasn’t hot and you can deal with that.”
Click here to hear the full interview with Aaron (4mins50 mp3 4MB)
The race hotel is under five minutes from the start and finish. By coincidence, the giant figure of a man with a hammer looms over the start line but this is a reminder of the area’s industrial history, rather than a warning of impending doom on the road to the finish line in the nearby Festhalle.
One of the England Marathon Programme goals is to see 20 women under 2:40 and 20 men under 2:20 by 2022, and this opportunity is one of many that will hope to help achieve this.
Photos with kind permission from PhotoRun.