2021 Marathon Report

At last, October 2021 saw the return of the big city marathons. Many Sale Harriers took part in the London and Manchester Marathons. Anyone who has trained for a marathon will know that it is quite a journey - both on the day itself and in the many months of training leading up to the big event. So, rather than feature a long list of names and finish times I have asked members to write a few lines outlining their marathon story. I hope you enjoy reading the individual accounts below - from marathon first timers to our most experienced marathon runner.

There were many more fabulous performances at London, Manchester & Amsterdam this month and I would love to include more stories here - please email your story and photo to Anne Chinoy at

London Marathon 3rd October 2021

Anne Chinoy V45: 3h 19

The long awaited 2021 London Marathon certainly lived up to all the hype! This was only my second marathon experience having completed the 'short' Manchester Marathon back in 2014 when I was a relative newcomer to running. While there is something very special about running a marathon in your home town and seeing so many familiar faces enroute, I was persuaded that the sights, atmosphere and crowd support at London just had to be experienced. A Championship qualifying Half Marathon time back in March 2019 was the final push I needed to sign up for the 2020 event!

Fast forward 18 months, and with just 5 weeks to go, my second round of training hit a bit of a stumbling block with a calf strain I couldn't shake off. I had to scale my training right back during what should have been my 2 highest mileage weeks. I was determined to make the start line though and with some careful management, treatment and guidance from physio Duncan Mason, I was able to get one more long run done and finally get to that Championship start. I still had some hope of achieving my original sub 3h15 target but was also really worried about whether my body would be able to hold up for the full distance. The travel to London and mammoth queues at the expo the day before did not help my anxiety levels!

My first few miles were just a fraction too fast and by mile 15 I was feeling some discomfort. Cramp settled in a few miles later and my pace slowed. I was determined to keep moving though and I really focused on the incredible crowd support and sights to keep me distracted. I kept smiling and made sure I took one mile at a time and didn’t let myself think about the distance left to run. Just finishing the marathon was going to be achievement enough. The roar of the crowds along the Embankment in the final few miles was deafening and really helped drag me through. I gave myself a new mini-target of getting under 3 hours 20 and with a final push, crossed the most iconic of finish lines in 3:19:54 (over 5 minutes faster than my marathon time in 2014). A very painful hobble to collect my kitbag followed and as I collapsed on the grass, it was some time before I could even undo the drawstrings of the bag. Another 30 minutes passed before the cramp eased enough for me to slowly make my way to meet my husband, parents, sister and nephew at a ‘nearby’ restaurant!

In spite of all the discomfort, it was such an incredible experience and I would urge anyone given the opportunity to do the London Marathon. It was a very special day which I was lucky to share with my husband and several other Sale Harrier friends and I will treasure those memories for a long time to come.


Hector Chinoy V45: 3h 32

London 2021 was my first ever marathon! As my wife Anne was also running London, I decided to go for a charity place and run for Myositis UK that helps to support some of the research my team carries out at The University of Manchester. The organisation was spot on and the support from the crowds were something else, almost overwhelming!

I just missed out on sub-3:30 thanks to a sore left leg over the last 3 miles, but otherwise the race went according to plan - I was buzzing at the end and even got a bit emotional! What an amazing day and incredible first marathon experience. And thanks to the generosity of colleagues, friends, family, patients, and carers, we raised over £3000 for Myositis UK.


Caroline Kinghorn V55: 3h 45

I really loved the whole London experience. Saturday was pretty hectic travelling down, going all the way across to the expo to pick up the numbers. I think if I did it again I'd go down on Friday so I could have a more relaxed day as there was so much to see. I enjoyed the expo, loads of different stalls to look around. The morning of the marathon was so exciting. Up early for a good breakfast before travelling to Blackheath. I love travelling to the event when the trains are packed with all the runners. The atmosphere in Greenwich Park was fabulous and I felt quite privileged in the yellow start area with other "good for age" runners and starting in wave 1. I went out far too fast and, even though I was aware and kept trying to control it I kept speeding up. Consequently my legs were getting quite wobbly at mile 21 but, I managed to persevere and ran every step of the way and managed to finish in 3:45:36. Pretty pleased with that after all the turmoil of various lockdowns. Fantastic experience!


Julia Reynolds V45: 4h 06

It was a great day for the Marathon in London - plenty of lovely people to chat to, near perfect weather! I struggled in the last few miles mainly due to glitches in my training - but the crowds were great and really well organised as ever! London is such a great city to run in - I feel privileged to have been part of such a flagship event!


Ed Billingham V50: 5h 15

With 600 meters to go the only things that kept me ‘running’ were the roaring crowds and my exaggerated arm swings to propel me!

At around mile 19 there had been a lovely cold burst of rain that was cooling and took my mind off the hammered legs and aching knee. The fellow runners, crowds and volunteer support along the way were amazing. The roar of the mile 20 crowds were particularly inspiring. The odd shout of ‘come on Sale’ was lovely too!

This London marathon has left me inspired to get more consistent running in, I’ve already entered the next Manchester Marathon and London next year! 


Manchester Marathon 10th October 2021

Robert Dunn V35: 2h 40

I never really planned to run a marathon in October but since my 2020 entry had rolled over I thought I'd give the new race a shot and started a shortened 10 week training plan. 

Normally I prefer a 16 week training plan so with the reduced plan I had a modest target of 2hrs 50mins and the pace in my last longest run was spot on to achieve that.

Come race day, I knew I wasn't in PB shape but decided to simply run to feel so if I felt ok and my heart rate wasn't too high I'd stick with it.

The support from the crowds was amazing in the city centre, Sale, Timperley and Altrincham. It was great to also come across the various groups of Sale Harriers supporting along the course - Thank You! 

Fast forward 20 miles and I was suddenly very conscious I might actually be under or very close to my PB so really tried to dig in and not loose time in the last 6 miles which as we all know is really hard! 

I crossed the line in 2hrs 40mins 24secs with mixed feelings. Happy to finish much quicker than I had planned but at the same time annoyed to be so close to cracking 2hrs 40mins again and 6secs off a PB.  

I've already entered Manchester next year and can't wait to give it a another shot! 


Matt Spragg V45: 2h 47

Never been as emotional in my life as when crossing the finishing line. Did I get everything right on the day? Probably not as I tired a fair bit towards the end, but I couldn’t care less. I honestly don't know what happened in the four miles between Stretford and Trafford Bar, it was like some kind of hallucinatory experience. Support was immense all the way round.


Luisa Candioli SEN: 2h 51

What can I say about Manchester marathon... I loved every single minute of it! My aim was a sub 3 hour and as soon as I set off I decided to risk a faster pace as it felt comfortable.. the crowd was amazing, it helped a lot, it made me smile and kept me so positive: I didn’t go through any negative patch throughout the race. I was still feeling very strong past mile 20. 

Manchester is a very special place for me, where I found myself and happiness, that’s why I wanted to make sure my first marathon happened in this beautiful city ♥️


Jon Smalley V40: 2h 57

Very happy to achieve my sub 3 hour goal at Manchester Marathon, completing it in 2 hours 57 minutes (a PB of 43 minutes)!


Luke Townsend SEN: 3h 02

After a long few months of training (involving a house and job move to a much hillier part of the world) I was looking forward to returning to Manchester and running my first ever official marathon. I’d set myself a goal of sub-3 hours and training had been going well with plenty of marathon pace training in my long runs. A practise race at Wilmslow Half 4 weeks before had gone unexpectedly well for me and I couldn’t wait to get going on the morning of the marathon. Unfortunately it wasn’t my day. From the outset of the race I felt poor and struggling to settle into the race and I knew it was going to be a tough day out at as early as the 10 km mark. By 25 km I had next to nothing left and as the 3 hour pacer sailed by at 32 km I felt all was lost. However, the support at the marathon was absolutely incredible, particularly from my fellow Sale Harriers and I’m in no doubt that it was this that allowed me drag myself through the race and finish in 3:02:50. Whilst I was slightly disappointed at missing my sub-3 hour goal I was much closer than I thought I would be considering how poor I felt and I couldn’t have given any more on the day so there’s no real room to complain. I look forward to tackling the Manchester Marathon again (possibly next April) in an attempt to secure that sub-3 hour goal time.


Aaron Steele V35: 3h 21

Manchester was my 12th marathon and one of my favourites which rivals my experiences in marathons like London and Oslo in the past. Atmosphere and support were amazing the whole way. With a summer of injury I wasn’t sure I’d make the start line, but an injury free September give me confidence. I ran sensibly and paced it well coming home in 3:21 and a new PB.


Jenny Fox V40: 3h 22

I absolutely loved the Manchester marathon. It’s the first time I have done Manchester (having only done London previously) and I would say its just as good if not better. There was a great atmosphere in the City Centre and through bits of Sale I felt like a celebrity because the support was so good. It was also really nice sleeping in my own bed and not having to eat out in a random restaurant the night before.

I ran with my friend and ex-colleague Chloe from Salford Mets. She is much younger and faster than me but had not trained well in the last few months and had been very unwell with tonsillitis in the week leading up to the marathon. She didn’t feel up to a decent marathon effort but wanted to do the race and therefore agreed to ‘take it easy’ and run with me. She paced me perfectly and we averaged 7:35/mile (I was aiming for 7:40/mile) for the 26.65 miles we ran. Conditions were pretty perfect and I felt pretty good throughout – except the last couple of miles (which I was expecting). We got round in 3:22:12 which was a PB for me. Bring on Manchester marathon 2022!


Richard Ousey V45: 3h 31

I was introduced to the word 'maranoia' in the lead up to the big day, and sure enough woke up with a mild sore throat, that said it probably helped in terms of ensuring I didn't get carried away and push too early as I did back in 2002 for London -on for 3.30 at 13 ended with 3.49.

The predicted 14 and cloudy weather failed to show up so set off in glorious sun at 11.05 sharp. It was an incredible day and felt quite emotional running through a wall of supportive noise which started on Deansgate and never really stopped. My plan was to keep strictly to 8 minute mile pace up to 23 miles - tick - and then push on if I had anything left - errrr rrrrrr! The last 3 miles is a bit of a blur to be fair but I was super pleased with 3.31 for a time, particularly as I ended up running just shy of 26 1/2 miles - can't resist a high 5!


Tim Rainey V55: 5h 20

My marathon experience!!! Ha ha ha. After 2:02 at Wilmslow I figured I couldn't expect better than 4:15 (all my long runs were in the hills prior to my July Lakeland 100 attempt) so after running the first 10k at 4 hour pace I knew I'd overcooked it and walked most of the last 10 miles with very sore feet. You'd think after 150 marathons I'd have nothing left to learn!!! 5:20:21!!