Personal bests galore as racing runs the London Marathon
Reigning Betting Shop Manager of the Year Rob Mabbett made his employer pay twice for his London Marathon effort on Sunday when he completed the race inside the time he was set.
Betfred had offered to double the £250 sponsorship payment to Mabbett, running his first marathon in aid of mental health charity Mind, if he ran under four hours 20 minutes.
Mabbett, who was also sponsored by the Racing Post, finished in 4 hours 12 minutes and 33 seconds.
"I really enjoyed it, it was a good run," he said. "It was the first time I'd run that distance.
"At about halfway I was just over two hours and the temptation was to go for four hours, but I stuck to my training routine and managed my run and thought I'd take the money off Betfred and be happy with it. Basically they now donate £500."
Mabbett was one of a regular collection of racing and betting industry figures taking part in the annual run.
The fastest to complete the 26.2-mile course was Denys Olefir, an elite athlete who works for Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby. He narrowly fell short of his target to run under two hours 30 minutes, finishing in 2h 34m 27s.
Qatar Racing manager David Redvers produced a personal best in beating three hours for the first time and hinted at having run his final marathon.
"It was what I've always wanted to do," he said. "Last time I completely fluffed it, went off too quick and fell in a horrible heap. This time I paced myself a little bit better. It was wonderful and I think I'm retiring.
"This was my fourth London Marathon. It was lovely to be part of. It's hard to enjoy these things but it was least painful of the ones I've done, although the last six miles is always the most testing."
Redvers was running for John Paul II Foundation for Sport, which aims to get children off the street and out of gangs into sports clubs and is run by a former Catholic priest and family friend.
"It does fantastic work," he added. "I was the only person running for it so it became even more important I did something worthwhile."
Susannah Gill, director of external affairs for Arena Racing Company, made it nine years in a row with a new personal best as she clipped 29 seconds off last year's time.
"I wasn't feeling so good this year and it was a real slog," said Gill, who recorded two seconds over 2h 58m.
"After two hours and 18 miles I was wobbling a bit so I am very happy to beat last year's time," added Gill, who is likely to be lining up in 2018. "I can't stop at nine - it's not a nice round number!"
Gill's colleague Stephen Higgins was an impressive marathon debutant stopping the clock at 3hr 15min 53sec.
Robert Cowell, a renowned trainer of sprinters, will himself be dropping back in trip with some half-marathons and 10k runs among his future entries but declared he had run his last marathon after also beating his debut time three years ago.
"I'm retiring a selling plater claiming class in horse terms as I don't think I could do a lot better than this," said Cowell of his time of 4h 27m 59s.
That beat his 2014 time of 4h 36m, and the trainer summed up the effort by adding: "I was genuine and started really well and felt like a buck, kick and a squeal at 14 miles, but then it became a bit laborious in the last four or five miles."
Ben Blowes, running for the Racing Welfare team, featured in the BBC coverage of the marathon, slowing him down with a tumble dryer strapped to his back.
But Blowes still managed to get himself into the Guinness Book Of Records as he beat the best previous time for carrying a 25kg appliance of six hours, recording 5h 58m 37s.
The Racing Post's associate editor John Cobb stayed on dourly on his debut to finish in a little over five hours, with homeless charity St Mungo's benefiting from his fundraising, which had reached more than £6,600 by Sunday evening.
Racing's runners and riders
Denys Olefir 2h 34m 27s
Susannah Gill 2h 58m 02s
David Redvers 2h 58m 33s
Alex Cairns 3h 03m 45s
Stephen Higgins 3h 15m 53s
Rob Hezel 3h 43m 04s
Hugh Anderson 3h 56m 38s
Darrin Lenharth 4h 07m 42s
John Bozza 4h 08m 44s
Rod Street 4h 12m 33s
Rob Mabbett 4h 12m 44s
Robert Cowell 4h 27m 29s
Jane Petrucci 4h 31m 11s
Megan Hurst 4h 59m 59s
John Cobb 5h 12m 41s
Ben Blowes (plus tumble dryer) 5h 58m 37s