A runner from Sutton on Sea made Seabank Marathon history today by being the first woman to win the individuals’ race.
Paula Downing, of Mablethorpe Running Club, competed the gruelling 27.5-mile course in 3 hours 57 minutes.
This was her 64th marathon, but she was surprised to hear she had made Seabank history.
She said: “That’s absolutely amazing. It was tough going around the fields but I completed it and I’m happy with that.”
Described as “not for the fainthearted”, the marathon started at 9am in Boston Market Place, with the first runners expected to arrive at the Princess Parade Car Park in about three hours
But heavy rains and fast growing grass made it an exceptionally hard course, which wound its way through the streets of Boston, along the banks of the River Haven, down quiet country lanes and across farmland, along the seabank that keeps the The Wash out of Lincolnshire and then into Skegness.
One hundred and seven individuals and 10 relay teams set out - all helping to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support thanks to the hard work of a team of more than 60 volunteers, including LIVES, voluntary doctors, Sea Scouts and Pilgrim Hospital Radio.
The average age of competitors was 30, with the oldest 74 and the youngest 11.
Simeon Disley, chairman of the marathon, said the average age of competitors is rising every year.
He said: “When it started 30 years ago there were 1,000 competitors but we had a lot of school teams then.
“Now either the students are not fit enough or teachers won’t give up the time to organise it and take part.”
First to arrive at the finish in 3 hours 15 minutes were the Skegness and district Running Club men’s relay team of Mark Lyon, Logan Graves, Andy Shelton, Ian Russell, Simon Pickwell, Martin Tebbs, Paul Sleaford and Stuart Cragg.
Andy said: “We hoped to win but we didn’t expect to. We’re happy with 3 hours and 15 minutes. We’d just like to give a big thanks to Stuart Cragg who ran first and has then been driving for other teams.”
They went off to encourage their ladies’ relay team, who were close behind them. Sharon Gallichan, Beckie Davison, Fammon Lafferty, Leanne Rickett, Helen Blair and Melanie Standbrook completed the course in 3 hours 37 minutes.
First man back Daniel Clark of Boston, in a time of 4 hours 5 minutes. Having only been running for a year, this was his first marathon. He said: “It was really difficult. I went too fast in the first half and had nothing in the second half – but I’m here.”
He was cheered on at the finish line by his family - minutes after his 18-month old son, Charlie, had been having a little run himself. Daniel said: “He’ll be a runner one day.”