St Albans athletes go quicker than Paula Radcliffe as they smash marathon world bests

PUBLISHED: 10:06 19 January 2017 | UPDATED: 10:06 19 January 2017

St Albans Striders attempted to break the men's and women's marathon world records. Picture: MATTHEW CHILDS

St Albans Striders attempted to break the men's and women's marathon world records. Picture: MATTHEW CHILDS

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Two running clubs in St Albans have joined forces to become record breakers.

St Albans Striders attempted to break both the men's and women's marathon world records at their starshot marathon relay. Picture: CHRIS BARRSt Albans Striders attempted to break both the men's and women's marathon world records at their starshot marathon relay. Picture: CHRIS BARR

Inspired by Nike’s Breaking2 campaign to help three of the world’s best long distance runners achieve the herculean feat of running a sub two-hour marathon in 2017, St Albans Striders set out on Tuesday evening to get there first.

The Striders joined forces with the younger athletes of St Albans Athletics Club to form a formidable relay team, with runners taking on either 200m or 400m legs.

With the 26.2 miles marathon distance translating to 105 laps of the Westminster Lodge running track, plus an additional 195 metres, and with each full lap needing to be run in an average time of 66 seconds or less to break the two hour mark, the two clubs combined to set a literally breathtaking time of one hour 51 minutes and 56 seconds.

Not to be outdone, Striders’ ladies also turned out in numbers to beat Paula Radcliffe’s long-standing world record marathon time of two hours 15 minutes and 25 seconds.

St Albans Striders attempted to break both the men's and women's marathon world records at their starshot marathon relay. Picture: CHRIS BARRSt Albans Striders attempted to break both the men's and women's marathon world records at their starshot marathon relay. Picture: CHRIS BARR

Needing to run an average lap of 77 seconds or less, they posted a stunning record-beating time of two hours 14 minutes and 39 seconds, earning the tweeted congratulations of the great British athlete in the process.

Around 150 runners took part across the two relays, with many others offering vocal and logistical support, such as commentary, time recording, photography and lots of hot tea, in what was a fantastic night for the club.

As well as a celebration of running, the occasion also provided the opportunity to support two local causes, with collections received for the St Albans Foodbank and Herts for Refugees.

Elsewhere it was a busy weekend of cross country as Striders stole the show at the season’s fourth Sunday League meeting at Cassiobury Park. Forty-three Striders took part in total with Tom Crouch and Paul Adams finishing first and second overall and Wendy Walsh the third woman to the cross the line.

St Albans Striders attempted to break both the men's and women's marathon world records at their starshot marathon relay. Picture: CHRIS BARRSt Albans Striders attempted to break both the men's and women's marathon world records at their starshot marathon relay. Picture: CHRIS BARR

Without doubt the most impressive performance of the weekend, however, was the unstoppable Jack Brooks who completed his 400th marathon in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, completing the course in four hours 18 minutes and 55 seconds despite facing 98 per cent humidity for most of the race.

Far from taking a well earned break, Jack will be returning for number 401 in a fortnight’s time when he takes on the Funchal Marathon in Madeira.

This coming Sunday St Albans Striders are hosting the annual Fred Hughes 10 mile road race around St Albans.

With a sold-out field of 930 runners, the event kicks off at 10am and starts and finishes on King Harry Lane.

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