Cornish distance running hero wins Eden marathon for third consecutive year
Isobel Wykes was the fastest woman in the Eden Project’s marathon for the third year in succession today (Sunday October 18).
Isobel, 37, a teacher from Probus near Truro won with a time of three hours, 18 minutes and 46 seconds. Her winning time smashed her previous best Eden Marathon time, set in 2013 when she won for the first time, by nearly six minutes.
Isobel’s feat was made even more remarkable by the fact that she completed the Spartathlon – described as the world’s most gruelling race – at the end of September. The Spartathlon is a punishing 153 mile race between Athens and Sparta in Greece that takes place over 36 hours.
Isobel, who runs with Mud Crew Trail Runners, had previously been modest about her chances of winning in 2015 but was pleasantly surprised by her performance.
Isobel said: “I really enjoyed it and I’m really surprised with my time but we had a lovely little group running together and we had a few laughs along the way. It’s such a lovely course, such a fantastic event and really well marshalled so I’ll keep coming back.”
Emma Murray, 49, from St. Austell who runs with St. Austell Running Club was the second-placed female with a time of three hours, 27 minutes and 15 seconds. Third placed woman was Jane Allison, 43, from Plymouth with a time of three hours, 40 minutes and 28 seconds. Jane also runs with Mud Crew Trail Runners.
The marathon was won by Marc Smerdon, 24, from Liskeard with a personal best time of two hours, 57 minutes and 24 seconds. Marc, who runs with East Cornwall Harriers, last ran the Eden marathon in 2013, when he came second to course record holder Pete Roper.
Marc said: “I’m pleased to have won since I came second last time I ran here, especially because I knocked ten minutes off my previous time. At the start, two of us went off quite fast, probably a bit too fast so I was trying to hold on until the end. I’m going to come back next year, this race is one of my favourites. My family all come down to experience the atmosphere, I love it here.”
Kevin Hawker, 42, from Honiton came second in the marathon and also managed to post a time under three hours. Kevin, who runs with Honiton Running Club, finished with a time two hours, 59 minutes and 16 seconds.
Third placed Paul Maskell, 37, from St. Austell – another runner bearing the distinctive purple vest of St. Austell Running Club – completed the course with a time of three hours, three minutes and 31 seconds.
Earlier in the day, the Eden half-marathon was won by Paul Whear, 47, from Helston. Paul runs with Cornwall Athletic Club and won with a time of one hour, 21 minutes and 32 seconds.
Paul said: “It’s very nice to win, the race was challenging but fun. I enjoyed that and I hope to come back again next year.”
Second place in the half marathon was taken by Nick Loewendahl, 33, from Sweetshouse near Bodmin. Nick runs for St. Austell Running Club and completed the race with a time of one hour, 22 minutes and 27 seconds. Today’s result improves on his third place finish in 2014’s half-marathon.
Third place went to unaffiliated runner James Dwyer, 30, from Plymouth. He finished with a time of one hour, 24 minutes and four seconds.
The fastest woman in the half-marathon was Lesley Locks, 38, from Fleet in Hampshire. Lesley, who runs for Hart Road Runners, finished with a time of one hour, 29 minutes and 58 seconds.
Lesley said: “I’m pleased to have won. This is a very hilly course, I won’t ever moan about hills at home again!”
Jinny Jones, 27, from Pontypool in south Wales came second with a time of one hour, 31 minutes and 41 seconds. Alexandra Payton, 32, from St. Austell placed third with a time of one hour, 33 minutes and 33 seconds. Both Jinny and Alexandra are unaffiliated with a running club.
Wendy Houvenaghel, 40, a Cornwall-based cyclist who won a silver medal in the women’s individual pursuit in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, was the fourth fastest female finisher in the half-marathon, with a time of one hour, 35 minutes and 23 seconds.
The sixth annual Eden Project marathon and half-marathon saw nearly 1,200 entries and was run in sunny, warm conditions. Runners came from all over the world to compete over the scenic and challenging route through the dramatic “clay country” landscape before finishing in the shadow of the iconic Biomes.
Since the inception of the event, Eden has run the races in partnership with St. Austell Running Club.
Tracey Smith, Eden’s commercial manager, said: “It’s been a fabulous day and we would like to congratulate everyone who has taken part in our marathon and half-marathon. We’ve seen some tremendous performances and it’s fantastic to see Isobel Wykes bag her third consecutive win, especially considering her incredible exploits at the Spartathlon.
“As ever, we couldn’t do it without the help of St. Austell Running Club, who deserve massive thanks for creating the course and making sure all the runners are looked after during the races.”
Full results for the Eden marathon and half-marathon will be posted on the Eden website at www.edenproject.com/marathon.
The Eden marathon and half-marathon will return on Sunday October 16, 2016.