Among the thousands of runners who emerged as heroes at Sunday’s London Marathon was Mansfield Harriers’ teenage star Luke Duffy.
For he put in a phenomenal performance to win the event’s U17 Mini-Marathon, defying searing heat to land one of the major road racing events of the year.
Duffy covered the three miles in 14.24 minutes and so added the British Athletics road champion’s crown to his ever-increasing CV.
Starting slowly, he worked through the field, catching the leaders and forging a breakaway group with the English Schools 3,000-metre champion Thomas Keane and the Inter Counties Cross-Country Champion Rory Leonard.
Coming into the last 1,000 metres, Duffy became increasingly confident, thanks to his superior track-speed, and he surged away in the home stretch to take the title by two seconds from Leonard with Keane another two seconds adrift.
Duffy was joined in the mini-marathon by fellow Harriers, Amber and Mollie Scott, who were representing the East Midlands in the U17 ladies’ race. Amber enjoyed one of her best runs of the year to place 34th in an impressive time of 18.15 minutes, while Mollie finished 64th in 19.33.
Ten members of the club also tackled the main marathon, but all found the weather difficult to handle. The gruelling conditions were in stark contrast to those of the winter months in which they had put in most of their hard miles of training.
The first Mansfield athlete home was Clive Buck, who produced a superb show of endurance running, narrowly failing to break the three-hours barrier with a time of 3.00.31.
Close behind Buck was Gary Morley, who recorded 3.08.35, followed by Dan Ellis, who ran the last few miles with a foot injury but still managed toclock a highly creditable 3.25.50.
In his 59th and penultimate marathon, the evergreen Steve Davies posted 3.37.30, while the men’s contingent for Harriers was completed by debutant Alan Kemp, who crossed the line in a time of 3.51.06.