After runs in Brighton and Paris, the spring marathon season moved northwards with Manchester attracting the big field.

The Comet: Charlie Cook of Fairlands Valley Spartans with his brother at the Manchester Marathon. Picture: FVSCharlie Cook of Fairlands Valley Spartans with his brother at the Manchester Marathon. Picture: FVS (Image: Fairlands Valley Spartans)

For Charlie Cook of Fairlands Valley Spartans, it was his first time over the distance, never mind the Mancunian course and he finished in three hours 28 minutes eight seconds.

And after exceeding his goal time by more than 15 minutes, he was left a little shocked and overwhelmed.

He said: "The energy along the route was unmatched and unlike anything I had experienced before, and certainly pushed me through a tough mile 20.

"I’m so thankful for the support from the club that are helping me to push myself and achieve incredible things."

Stevenage Phoenix had Jay Papa and Jessica Clarke involved in the event, with Clarke also a 26-mile debutant.

She finished in 5:20:17.

Papa was in his second marathon and took 20 minutes off of his previous time, finishing in 3:12:01 to record an age category club record. 

North Herts Road Runners meanwhile had a dozen running with yet more excellent performances.

Tom Barclay led the way with an outstanding 11th place out of the near 22,000 finishers in a scorching time of 2:33:02.

Ben Sewell was the next Squirrel in with 2:42:14 and Shaun Allin led the first of two PBs for the club, despite "paying the price at 22 miles".

That put pay to his sub-three hour pace earlier in the run but he still collected a massive PB of 3:07:50.

Rhia Botha was the other NHRR to go quicker than before, recording a 10-minute PB of 3:16:11, even after "really struggling" in the last 5k.

She praised the support from the club en-route, with the sight of her coaches at 10 and 23 miles "making the world of difference".

Helen Nuttall was on pacing duties for husband Steve until she was given free rein to push on at 21.5 miles.

She finished in 3:50:56 with Steve crossing the line in 4:03:48.

Closer to home and much less of the distance was the Flitwick 10k which again had plenty of interest from clubs.

FVS had two involved in the 600-plus field, Jim Brown clocking 55:04 while Ros Ingram managed 1:00:45.

Phoenix had four running with all of them hitting new milestones.

The first of them was Conor O’Neill in a PB of 46:53 while Ken Hall took over two minutes off his time from last year, finishing in 52:25 in the MV70 category.

And there were PBs to both Mel Tanti (57:09) and David Poulter (1:09:32) as well.

Hannah Ridley of NHRR continued the PB theme, finishing as second lady in 42:22.

Other events included the Northstowe Half, a multi-terrain event that saw John Harris of FVS record 1:34:09 for 21st place.

Chris Leigh of Stevenage Phoenix took on The Battle of Brampton Valley Way Trail Ultra near Northampton, clocking 28 miles in 5:41:04.

Phoenician team-mates Emma Mead, Lisa Liversidge, Jodie Kantas, Peter Tungate and James Woodcock all ran the circular 27-mile Essex Walker Trail Marathon.

For Woodcock, it was his first trail marathon and he finished in 6:11.

The club's Katie Mitham and Kelsee Watson ran the off-road Cambridge Cambourne 10k, finishing in 1:20 and 1:08:27 respectively.

One week earlier Stevenage Striders were in Paris and Brighton for the marathons.

Husband and wife Sarah and Steve Kinsella both achieved PBs in France while there were 10 from the club on the south coast, seven of them also managing PBs.

Jess Ives-Keeler was the quickest from the club in 3:37.11 while Lucy Crocker (3:48.36) and Jim Callaghan (3:52.46) both went under four hours.