The pain in Spain was mainly not in vain for gallant Ruth

Ruth Jones in ValenciaRuth Jones in Valencia
Ruth Jones in Valencia
Ruth Jones knocked almost quarter of an hour off her previous best marathon time in the Spanish city of Valencia, going under three hours for the first time.

However, the celebrations were delayed until she'd been allowed out of the medical tent two hours after crossing the finish line.

The Helpston Harrier was determined to break the three-hour barrier, but it was touch and go as she had to summon every ounce of energy she had left, crossing the line in a state of near collapse with cramp developing in both legs. Thankfully she'd just done enough with her finish time confirmed as 2:59.58.

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Jones had been thorough in her preparation for the race, following the instructions of coach Aaron Scott to the letter.

Scott, who ran his PB of 2:16.57 four years ago, is gaining a reputation for getting the best out of the runners he prepares for marathons.

Jones did all that was asked of her in the months leading up to the race, and the hard work was reflected in her consistent splits. She went through halfway in 1:27.26, losing only two and a half minutes in the second half, and even managing to speed up in the last two miles despite being in some discomfort.

It was a huge relief for family and friends in England when Jones' finishing time was confirmed. A malfunctioning tracking app had left them concerned and confused after it gave the impression she was moving at not much more than walking pace throughout the race.

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In her exhausted state Jones was unsure if she'd dipped under three hours, and she only knew for sure when the app corrected itself and messages of congratulation came flooding in from England.

After recovering from her efforts a happy Jones said: “I was looked after by Spanish Red Cross angels for two hours with horrific cramp and whole body shakes, but it was a small price to pay as I was just so happy to get round in under three hours.

"I had been aiming for 2:55, but the enormity of the occasion got to me a bit.

"The main thing is it’s a sub-three hour marathon with lots of money raised in memory of my dad who passed away with a rare form of cancer late last year."


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Helpston Harriers Jim Morris was in top marathon form again last weekend.

The Lanzarote Marathon was his 21st race over the distance, 20 of which he's completed in under three hours.

In a race which began in hot sunshine and ended in torrential rain Morris placed 12th in a time of 2:58.42, comfortably winning the over 55 age group prize

The only time the consistent Morris has failed to go under three hours was at the 2015 Las Palmas Marathon when he crossed the line just nine seconds over.


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PANVAC's men's veterans team remained top of the North Midlands Cross Country League standings after victory at a muddy Shipley Park in Heanor.

The senior men’s team also performed well to claim an eighth place finish.

Nathan Bunting in 17th and 18th placed Luke Brown led the senior men home, while Kirk Brawn in 46th was the leading PANVAC veteran.

Steve Wilkinson, Toby Hall, Jay Belham and veteran Steve Hall all comfortably made the top 100 with Oliver Mason in 114th and Dave Wasell, who finished 121st and was the 3rd scoring veteran, completing the team.

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