Race report – Eden Marathon and Half Marathon

Race report – Eden Marathon and Half Marathon 

An elite Kenyan runner smashed the Eden Project half-marathon course record with a stunning performance as the event celebrated its tenth birthday.

Benard Rotich, 33, crossed the line in one hour, nine minutes and 24 seconds, beating the previous record – set by Peter Le Grice in 2013 – by more than three and a half minutes.

The Eden Project Marathon was the original brainchild of St Austell Running Club and run in conjunction with the Eden Project, the 2019 version saw over 1,000 runners take to the hills of the local area for the marathon and half marathon.

One of those who helped instigate the race, Doug Alsop, who is a previous race director of the race swapped his organising for his running shoes to tackle the marathon for the first time on race day, along with son Dan and daughter-in-law Helen.

It was a great day for the club with Dan Alsop finishing second in his age category, Stuart Nicholas second overall and Paul Stevens, first in his age cat in the half marathon.

Stevens, eighth, was also part of the first-placed males team with David Tregonning, sixth, (1.22.25), Matthew Boynton (1.29.09), 12th, and Jacob Howard-Endean (1.29.53), 16th.

While the men’s marathon team of Alsop, John Wisner (3.31.38), Lee Tambling (3.39.53) and Francis Denton (3.52.39) also claimed first place.

The Ladies team finished second in the marathon with Karina Bowers (4.37.25), Holly Payne (4.57.34), Debbie Marshall (5.05.02) and Kim Fell (5.49.18) all coming in the team placings.

The Ladies team finished first in the half marathon with Carly Kendall, Stacie Marks, Jo Collins and Katie Stean completing the team.

Benard, who also broke the course record at the Eden parkrun, finished 11 minutes ahead of Kyle Darragh, 20, from Barnstable who runs with North Devon Athletic Club. Kyle came second with a time of one hour, 20 minutes and 26 seconds.

Third place was Eden Marathon veteran Marc Smerdon, who claimed his fifth top- three place in the races. Marc, 28 from Liskeard, who runs with Tavistock Run Project, finished in a time of one hour, 20 minutes and 58 seconds.

The fastest woman in the half marathon was Rachael Malthouse, also of Tavistock Run Project, in one hour, 33 minutes and 21 seconds. The challenging conditions were familiar to physiotherapist Rachael as she is used to running on the Dartmoor hills.

Second place woman in the half-marathon was Ami Yetton, 38, from Plymouth who competes for Plymouth Harriers. Ami finished with a time of one hour, 34 minutes and three seconds.

Third-placed woman was Lorna Ni Cheallaigh, 22, from Truro, making the podium at her first ever half-marathon. Lorna, who is unaffiliated with a club, finished with a time of one hour, 34 minutes and 32 seconds.

The marathon was won by Jamie Stephenson, 32, from Chacewater near Truro. GP in training Jamie finished with a time of two hours, 53 minutes and 50 seconds, improving on his 2018 third place finish.

Jamie, who competes for Mile High AC, finished ahead of last year’s winner Stuart Nicholas, running second claim for St Austell Running Club.

Stuart, 30, originally from St Austell but now living in Bournemouth, completed the course in a time of two hours, 56 minutes and 41 seconds.

In third position was Oliver Jones, 45, from Liskeard. The East Cornwall Harriers athlete crossed the line in three hours, two minutes and 53 seconds and added to his Eden Marathon medal haul following his third place in 2017 and second place in 2016.

Anne Matthews, 46, from Crawley in West Sussex, was the first female marathon runner to cross the line, winning with a time of three hours, 36 minutes and 25 seconds. Anne, who runs for Crawley Athletic Club, came to Eden as part of a trip to Cornwall to visit relatives and competed in the race for the first time.

Crossing the line in second was last year’s winner Charlie Ramsdale, 38, from Dartmouth. Unaffiliated runner Charlie finished with a time of three hours, 37 minutes 40 seconds, ahead of the youngest top three finisher in any of the Eden races this year, Madelaine Trudgian.

Madelaine, 18, from Fowey finished with a time of three hours, 38 minutes and 35 seconds. She achieved the podium finish in what was her first marathon.

With rain falling as the runners started the race, the weather cleared up later in the day and most finished their run under bright sunshine.

More than 1,500 runners registered for the 2019 Eden Project Marathon and Half Marathon, the tenth time the races have been run. These included runners from Malta, the Netherlands, Germany and Australia.

Eden stages the races in partnership with St Austell Running Club. Long-time Eden race director Doug Alsop stepped aside from his usual role to compete in the marathon for the first time this year. Andy Trudgian took up the role of race director in his stead.

Eden chief executive Gordon Seabright, who ran the full marathon, said: “This was an epic event to mark our 10th Eden Marathon. Cornwall threw every sort of weather it could at us – starting in pouring rain, buffeted by wind on the tors and finishing in glorious sunshine in front of the Biomes.

“There was an incredible spirit on the route, with runners supporting each other, villagers turning out to support us, and the amazing marshals and volunteers. It was even more special to be joined by our friends from Five Talents UK – a big group of runners getting their first experience of the Clay Country.

“And it was a very special thrill to welcome Benard, not only to today’s event but also the parkrun on Saturday. He has raised the bar for us all and has been incredibly generous in sharing his running expertise, taking us to a new level over this memorable weekend.”

Tracey Smith, Eden’s commercial director and the organiser of the Eden Marathon since the beginning, said: “What a journey we’ve been on during our first ten events. Benard’s incredible record-breaking win is the latest in a long line of great achievements Eden has seen over the years, whether it’s winning races, setting personal bests or just getting round our notoriously tough course.

“It’s been a great journey and one we couldn’t have done without the help and support of our friends at St Austell Running Club, the volunteers and marshals ensuring everyone is looked after on the course and, of course, all the runners who have competed over the years.”

It was once again another great day for St Austell Running Club and organisers have thanked all that have helped make the event a success.

For full results of the Marathon visit: https://www.edenproject.com/visit/whats-on/eden-marathon-half-marathon

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