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ABINGDON MARATHON: Five break group running record
FIVE men from Oxfordshire joined together to become record breakers when they ran in the Abingdon Marathon yesterday.
Julian Richardson, 48, from Kennington, Aaron Burgess, 30, from Abingdon, Darrell Bellinger, 28, from Cowley, Les Newell, 37, from Radley, and Chris Bedford, 48, also from Radley, tied themselves together to break the world record for a marathon of five runners joined together.
The charity runners, members of Oxford City Athletics Club and Abingdon Athletics Club, were tied at the waist with elastic cords as they ran.
And they clocked up an as- yet unconfirmed time of two hours, 57 minutes and six seconds, some four minutes ahead of the previous world record of three hours, one minute.
The group calls itself the Friday Long Runners – with Mr Newell coming up with the idea to take on the challenge, which also helped raise about £1,500 for the Oxfordshire charity Mates ’n’ Dates.
Mates ’n’ Dates is run by the Guideposts Trust and organises social events for adults with learning disabilities.
Mr Newell said: “It feels amazing to have a world record – unbelieveable. It was always going to be tough, and it was.
“The last five miles we were egging each other on – we have done it and we have raised about £1,500.
“It is a great feeling – we have gone around the course a couple of times in training and we ran out in Cornmarket Street in Oxford together which raised a few eyebrows.”
Other runners said the group of five inspired them around the course to pick up the pace.
Serge Convers-Reignier, 39, from Abingdon, was running his sixth marathon on his birthday.
Mr Convers-Reignier, who finished in a time of three hours and five minutes, said: “I gave up smoking 10 years ago and started running.
“I expected to do a bit better today, but I’m very happy.”
The winner of the men’s race was Paul Fernandez, of Abingdon Amblers, who finished in a time of 2.32.28.
Alex Gounelas, of Eton Manor Athletics Club, was the first woman home in 2.53.25.
The run, now in its 30th year, attracted a total field of 764. All timings still needed to be confirmed by race officials. The world record attempt will need to be verified by Guinness World Records officials.
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