Anthony quickly goes from fat man to fast man

Anthony Johnson was first local home in the Great Eastern Run.
Anthony Johnson was first local home in the Great Eastern Run.
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Top local athlete in Sunday’s Great Eastern Run was a man who only took up running three years ago because he was getting too fat.

“I’ve got an office job with a local finance company and I was starting to put on a bit of weight,” said Anthony Johnson.

“So I decided to do something about it and took up running.

“And I soon realised I was actually quite good at it. I joined Werrington Joggers and then started to take it seriously. I can’t believe how well it’s gone in those three years.

“To win the prize for being the first local runner home in the Great Eastern has made me so happy. I know I don’t look it because I’m absolutely shattered, but I am ecstatic.”

Johnson (26)finished ninth in 70.04 and that was a massive improvement on his previous best.

“I ran just over 72 minutes at the Grunty Fen Half-Marathon about four weeks ago so I’m well chuffed with my time.

“I just keep getting quicker every time I race but today the conditions, the good competition around me and the massive support from the people of Peterborough helped me.”

Johnson’s time was also a new Werrington Joggers club record. It beat the 70.50 set by Paul Halford in 2010.

When Johnson first entered the Great Eastern Run in 2012 he was 415th in 93:15. He moved up to 210th in 2013 with a time of 87:00 and last year was 57th in 77:02.

Steve Robinson of Peterborough Athletic Club, who was the first local finisher last year, came in just behind Johnson in 13th place in 70.29.

The 32 year-old from RAF Wittering was 13th in 70.29 and that was just over a minute outside his PB. He’d been suffering from a cold and in midweek had taken part in the RAF 10-Mile Championships in which he finished third.

“I knew I wasn’t in the best shape but I really enjoyed myself,” he said. “This event just gets better and better. It’s well organised, there’s a quality field and the support out there on the course is fantastic.”

Once again Nene Valley Harrier Philippa Taylor battled through the pain barrier to finish as top Over 45 female veteran.

She is still struggling with the same achilles injury that troubled her last year and hobbled home in 83.59 - five minutes off her best. She vowed afterwards to take a long rest from the sport.

“I feel terrible. I can’t keep doing this. I am going to hang my racing shoes up for a while,” she said.

Taylor was 162nd and a few places ahead of her was Melissa Neal from March AC. She was 140th in 83.04, the first female Over 35 vet and was the first local lady home.

Maggie Skinner (Stamford) and Geraldine Larham (March) also ran well to finish with respective PBs of 85.27 and 88.29.

The prize for the first Peterborough-based lady home went to Caroline Woods of Yaxley Joggers. She also ran a PB of 88.39.