Home favourite Weston will 'run own race' on Guernsey Marathon debut
Rick Weston will be taking on the position of home favourite for Sunday’s gruelling Sure Guernsey Marathon.
The seven-time marathoner is wary of mystery entrant Benjamin Mutua, who has claimed a blazing target time of 2hrs 15min. and a fast personal best (2-18) run in Afghanistan. Organisers have not yet confirmed any other details about Mutua.
But he is more prepared for a duel with reigning champion Dessie Burke of Ireland, with both capable of challenging Will Bodkin’s course record of 2-35-15.
So as he toes the line for 26.2 miles around the island, how will he be approaching the opposition?
‘If they’re there [Mutua] and they start, it will be clear that they’re just a much better and faster athlete, so you’re not going to get sucked into something like that,’ he told the latest Guernsey Press Sport Podcast.
Podcast: Listen to a full interview with Rick Weston on the latest Guernsey Press Sport Podcast (from 29:00)
‘It’s more if somebody’s around the same pace as you, you have to make a decision whether you go with them or not.
‘The marathon is a really long way.’
Weston, who moved to the island last summer from London, won October’s New Forest Marathon by letting the early leader go and catching them at around 15 miles.
He defines the marathon as a distance where you can ‘run your own race’, more so than shorter events.
Having Le Val des Terres in the first mile may encourage a more controlled start.
‘It’s an almost unique course with the Val des Terres at the start, so I think people are going to take a different approach to that – my approach is going to be to take it really, really cautiously.
‘Maybe the red mist will descend on Sunday, but that’s my intention, to take it easy there, relax really for the first half of the race and see what I’ve got left for the second half.’
Beyond the top honours there will also be a Richard Friedrich Memorial Trophy, awarded to the first Guernsey finisher.
As for the mystery of Mutua? Organiser Michael Quittenden would like to see such a fast run on local soil.
‘It’s exciting to see a sub 2-30, anyway, and for someone to go even faster, it would be very exciting to see,’ he said.
‘If he sets a course record, he can hopefully encourage other quick runners as well.’
In a quieter women’s field, Guernsey’s Rosie Williams will be a firm favourite if she can run to her ability.
Although dashed by recent injury, she has shown the potential of challenging Vicky Carre’s record for the current course – 3-10-10 – and repeating her title from 2020.
The quickest visiting women are running around the 3-30 mark.
Overall, the marathon has welcomed a very decent entry of over 150 runners, which is up from previous years – even if it is not guaranteed all will turn up.
‘That’s quite a healthy number, 150-odd,’ Quittenden said.
‘Post-Covid, hopefully we will get a reputation as a solid race.’
The marathon starts at 9am and is the pinnacle of a busy weekend that also includes relays and a mile support race.