IAN BLOOMFIELD shattered the British all-time over-60 marathon record with his scintillating performance in the Manchester Marathon on Sunday.
The 61-year-old Chester-le-Street athlete finished 38th, clocking 2.44.27 to achieve his ambition at the third time of asking.
He surpassed the previous best set by Shettleston Harrier Bill McBrinn, who recorded 2.46.28 in the 1991 Fort William Marathon.
“I’m absolutely delighted that I have the record at last,’’ said Bloomfield.
“I’ve really been enjoying my running and my training has come together nicely.
“I was running in a group with Noel Hitchcock (Sunderland Harriers) for up to 17 miles before Noel fell off the pace and then dropped out with cramp. I passed 20 miles in 2hr 5min and I knew I had to run the last 10k in 40min to get the record. I felt strong, so I was confident I could do it.’’
Bloomfield has been training up to 70 miles each week and that includes two track sessions of long interval work. The track work is part of the training regime that the majority of new marathon runner’s neglect and that has been put forward as one of the reasons in the decline of British marathon running standards.
He showed what a good competitor he is in the Sunderland Marathon of the North in 2011 and amazed many, at the age of 59, to finish third, clocking 2.51.25 for the tough course. That performance would have won him the over-50 title in the London Marathon.
The Manchester race was the third time that Bloomfield has targeted an attempt to beat the record. On the first occasion he intended to compete in the Florence Marathon, when he had just turned 60 in November, 2012. But an ankle injury resulted in him being unable to start.
He said at the time: “I’m gutted as I have been planning for this race for a long time. I’m 60 on Friday and the Florence marathon on the Sunday would have been my 60th race over the distance and the highlight of my birthday.’’
After that setback it was back to the drawing board and last September’s Nottingham Marathon was pencilled in. But he was way outside of what he was hoping for, finishing in a disappointing 2.55.03.
Now back on a high after his superb Manchester Marathon, he will look closely at the calendar to select an autumn marathon for another go at improving his own British record.
“I believe I can go a couple of minutes faster,’’ he said confidently
The former Sunderland School’s mile champion’s highlight of his marathon career was when he captained Great Britain in the World Cup from Marathon to Athens. His fastest marathon was set at Boston with 2.17.42 in 1994.
H Sunderland Stroller Michael Edwards recorded 2.57.16, over-50 Kevin O’Neil 3.22.13 and Rachel Ball 3.41.13 in the Manchester Marathon. Durham’s over-50 Paul Foster was timed at 2.57.58. Stroller Phil Watson, over-50, running the Blackpool Marathon, was 90th (3.34.07).
Sunderland Harriers’ competing in this Sunday’s London Marathon include Dave Savage, Billy Bittlestone, Paul Redman (PB 2.46.28), Tony Allinson, Steve Gordon (2.57.05) and Kathryn Watt.
The race will mark Sunderland Harrier Glenn Forster’s 30th anniversary of his club marathon record (2.15.08), set in London when finishing 12th in 1984.
Sunderland Stroller Alyson Dixon looks like she has made the right decision in in by-passing London and relying on her 2.31.08 from last year’s Brighton Marathon to gain her Commonwealth Games selection for Glasgow. Only two English women, Amy Whitehead and Emma Steptoe, are included in the elite line-up. The first English woman to finish the London Marathon will be selected for Glasgow as long as she does the qualifying time of under 2.35.00.
Dixon, who has recently clocked two personal bests for the half marathon and the 10k within eight days of each other to put herself at the top of the UK rankings for both events, will be at London as one of the young athletes North East team managers for the mini marathons.
H South Shields Harriers host their Sand Dancer 10K Multi Terrain Centenary Race in memory of the 100 runners, including 11 South Shields Harriers, from the 1914 race, who lost their lives during World War 1. The race starts at 11.00am. Race headquarters is at Gypsies Green Stadium.
H The first track meeting of the season takes place at Shildon on Sunday.