Three Lowestoft Road Runners complete first ultra marathon

PUBLISHED: 10:10 16 November 2017

Lowestoft Road Runners Gary McDonald, Vanessa May and Aaron Shrimpton at King's Forest 50km. Picture: Lowestoft Road Runners

Lowestoft Road Runners Gary McDonald, Vanessa May and Aaron Shrimpton at King's Forest 50km. Picture: Lowestoft Road Runners


Three members of Lowestoft Road Runners embarked on their first Ultra Marathon on Saturday.

Ultra Marathons are deemed to be any race over the standard 26.2 mile marathon distance.

Gary McDonald persuaded fellow club members Aaron Shrimpton and Vanessa May to join him for the King’s Forest 50km (31.1 mile) four lap trail race at West Stow Country Park near Bury St Edmunds. Vanessa was spurred to push herself further by the £600 she had raised for the Hounds for Heroes charity by completing the Amsterdam Marathon a few weeks prior, with Aaron not having needed too much persuasion having shared Gary’s desire to push himself with a new challenge.

With earlier threats of forecast rain now not appearing to be a problem there were good, if slightly chilly, conditions for the race with temperatures barely climbing above six degrees throughout.

After a two minute silence to mark Armistice Day the race started at 8am seeing 138 starting around the lake followed by picturesque deciduous and evergreen forest with varied terrain ranging from grassy footpaths to muddy tracks and even one big long sandy hill, which was even more noticeable on lap four.

The race saw 125 people finish with the first for Lowestoft Road Runners to finish being Aaron Shrimpton in 23rd place in a time of 4-41:40. Next for the club was Gary McDonald in 49th in 5-12:43 with Vanessa May hot on his heels after gaining 10 minutes on him on the final lap. Vanessa finished in 59th overall in 5-20:20, 13th lady. The trio are now looking towards the next race in the Positive Steps Grand Slam which is the Peddars Way 48 mile race in January.

The Grand Slam requires these races and the North Norfolk 100km to be completed within a year to earn a Grand Slam memento.

Anybody wishing to sponsor Vanessa and help raise her impressive fundraising total may do so at

Favourable conditions also helped four club members to new personal bests at Lowestoft parkrun.

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