Williams warms to Edinburgh marathon

MARTIN Williams produced a decisive turn of speed with two miles remaining to leave Andi Jones with a futile pursuit in the seventh Albert Bartlett Edinburgh Marathon.

The 31-year-old English-born Scot, who combines his 100 miles-per-week training regime with a day job as a policeman in Walsall, surged into the finish at Musselburgh Racecourse and broke the tape in 2.18:24, 36 seconds inside the mark needed for a ticket to the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi next year, pending a final validation of the course.

In only his third marathon Williams shaved more than a minute off his personal best time as he recorded his first win over the distance. Picking up a 2,500 bounty for his efforts, Williams revealed there had been a conscious effort to shake off the challenge of Portugal's Antonio Sousa, in third, after the trio had formed a leading pack for much of the race.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"He was just sitting behind us the whole way," declared Williams. "I would have been happy if Andi won but I wasn't letting him win."

In the end, the spoils were solely his, with Jones coming in 24 seconds behind him. If not for the conditions of a sweltering 20-plus degree heat, it might have been simpler.

"I thought that in this heat, I'm going to die," said Williams. "But there was a nice breeze. I thought at least it's on my back and the course was good. It was nice running with Andi who seemed to be just out for a Sunday run. We were chatting, certainly up to half-way. For most of it, I felt really good."

He added: "I'm really pleased. This is my best marathon so far. I knew I could do it but I had hit the wall at 18 miles at London, and I just wanted to feel strong at any stage so I just ran it and it felt great. My speed just seems to get better and better."

Bristol-based Holly Rush took victory in the women's race in 2.41:38, just five weeks after running the Hamburg marathon. "I've never done two this close together before," she stated. "I won't do it again."

Toni McIntosh, whose runner-up spot gave her the Scottish championship, has no such fears. "I can't resist races. I ran on Thursday night in a 10K and won it," she revealed. Ending up six minutes off the pace, the Glasgow based fitness instructor might have come closer to the Commonwealth benchmark of 2.38 had she not exceeded her intended pace after easing away from domestic rival Jennifer MacLean in the opening stages.

"Jenny beat me at Manchester and that knocked my confidence a bit, so I just wanted to be the first Scot," said McIntosh.

"That was my target. My plan was to run with her but I lost her early on. I saw her when we turned back and I wasn't sure how far away she was. But I was running well."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Further back, a number of casualties occurred due to heat-induced exhaustion, with reports of water stations en route running out of supplies. "It has still been too hot for some of the slower runners," admitted race director Neil Kilgour.

Well over 13,000 runners started and completed the race on a day of bright sunshine.