West Norfolk athlete breaks sub-three-hour barrier at London Marathon

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West Norfolk Athletic Club’s Neil Stapleton broke the sub-three-hour barrier at this year’s London Marathon.Stapleton was among three athletes representing the club in a record-breaking field of 50,000 runners.It was Stapleton’s fifth marathon and his second crack at London.For a time, the sub-three-hour barrier had eluded him despite his desire to break it.Always meticulous in training and consistent in races it was only a matter of time before broke through that barrier and Sunday was that day.Stapleton not only smashed the sub-three-hour barrier but cruised through with an amazing time of 2:55:45, setting a huge new personal best and setting a new club record for the marathon in the VET 50-55 category. The second runner home for West Norfolk was Ryan Oakes.Oakes is an athlete used to taking on massive challenges and long miles, but even for a high-level athlete, the marathon is still a daunting task. He qualified for London with a good-for-age place thanks to his wonderful performance at the Manchester marathon in 2023.Oakes, who had been battling injuries off and on for a large part of his training block, still managed an impressive 2:59:35 to also break the sub-three-hour barrier. Oakes continues to display great consistency and grit with every race and challenge he takes on.Next over the line for WNAC was Martin Koenigsberger. Koenigsberger’s spot for this year’s marathon was given to him by WNAC via a free club entry for his hard work and organising and genuinely supporting the club for several years.This was his fifth London marathon, a seasoned long-distance athlete with multiple marathons and ultra-marathons under his belt. It’s fair to say Koenigsberger is a master of long-distance running, and it was made very clear after a wonderful display and a finishing time of 3:26:50His splits on the day were almost perfectly paced and described as that of a machine, leading to many of his clubmates calling him a metronome.All three athletes performed amazingly and represented the small Lynn-based athletics club with pride and true determination amongst thousands of other participants.

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