SUNDAY marked the start of the 2016 spring marathon season and Leamington Cycling and Athletics Club’s Paul Okey was able to make an excellent start by clocking a new personal best time across the sea.
Okey traveled to Holland to take part in the Rotterdam Marathon where he tested himself himself after a strong winter’s training which saw him chop some five minutes off his half marathon best time.
Okey competed alongside some 13,000 starters which was headed by some outstanding Kenyan and Ethiopian runners and although his preparations over the winter involved wet and windy weather conditions, he was meeting by the opposite in Rotterdam.
There Okey was met by temperatures rising to 16 degrees and with very little win, it made conditions uncomfortable for those whose bodies were not acclimatised to it.
Leamington runner Okey had trained to finish around the three-hour mark but at all of the check points by the half marathon stage, he found himself slightly down on his intended times.
“Things fell apart very quickly, I could tell after 5km that I didn’t feel right,” said Okey. But he did not press the panic button and to his credit Okey stuck to the task and went on to run a life-time best.
After picking up his pace, Okey crossed the finish line in 3:13.36 to finish 1,218 out of 12,798 finishers and his reward for a new personal best time of nearly two minutes guarantees him a ‘good for age’ place at the 2017 London Marathon should he decide to enter.
“I’m sorry I didn’t quite manage to repay everyone’s faith in me,” Okey added. “However I am chuffed I stuck it out and next time I hope I can find a marathon not quite so warm.”
At the head of the field Kenyan Marius Kipserom took the title in a very fast time of 2:06.11 with the eight of the top nine places being taken by athletes from either Kenya or Ethiopia.