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Marathon man just misses out on the Olympics

A GREAT Harwood PHd student finished an amazing 24th in the London marathon - missing qualification for this year's Olympics in Greece by just minutes.

KEEP on running: Michael Green
KEEP on running: Michael Green

A GREAT Harwood PHd student finished an amazing 24th in the London marathon - missing qualification for this year's Olympics in Greece by just minutes.

But Michael Green has set his sights on Beijing's 2008 Olympics, and stands every chance of being there if he continues in his current form.

On Sunday, in only his fourth marathon, he finished the 26 miles 385 yards just an astonishing 12 minutes behind winner Evans Rutton, of Kenya, and three minutes outside the qualifying time for the British Olympic team.

But Michael, 27, who now lives in Atlanta after a sports scholarship took him to America, was far from disappointed with his 2hrs 18mins because he smashed his personal best by two minutes.

He said: "I was very proud of the time but from a British point of view, I think I finished eighth, which I'm actually a bit disappointed with. But the time gets me in the right neighbourhood to be noticed, though there are a few guys I'll have to overtake."

Michael, whose parents Alan, 65, and Margaret, 58, live in Harwood New Road, flew to England last week to coincide a family vist with the marathon. He began competitive running when he was eight and left grown men in his tracks.

"They thought I'd jumped in half way through," he said. "I always loved the fact that running was something I could do alone, I didn't have to rely on team members."

Harry Hasely, vice president of Accrington Road Runners, said: "I have run over 100 marathons and rarely come across a speed as good as this. It really is amazing, Michael is an astonishing talent. The next quickest local person was three hours and a minute but that is still a brilliant time. Michael's performance was inspirational."

Michael used to represent Hyndburn Athletics Club and now runs for Blackburn Road Runners. He sets himself a gruelling training schedule, running hundreds of miles a week before a race.

Living in America, however, the conditions are a little better. "One of the problems I was concerned about with London was the weather," he said.

"I was trying to stop it getting to me, and although I usually like to run in slightly cooler conditions, with about six miles left my legs were very cold. But it's all in the preparation, and the support you get with the crowds is brilliant."

Michael is married to Susan, 23, who he met while completing his scholarship at Troy State University in Alabama.

Meanwhile, Clayton Harriers recorded some good results in the London event. Leading the way was Philip Atherton who raced to a superb 2:39:13 with veteran 50 runner Peter Butterworth finishing the rain-soaked course in 2:49:43.

Sean Clare just broke the three hour mark with 2:59:49; Neil Worswick grabbed 3:00:41; Vet 45 Graham Cunliffe 3:00:53; Jason Harbour 3:01:11; Veteran 50 Mick Green 3:08:18; Vet 50 Jeff Pickup 3:12:27; Gary Shaw 3:19:38; Craig Moulding 3:29;50; Nigel Dewhurst 3:33:52; Thomas Pate (vet 55) 3:44:30; Andy Carter 4:09:25; Mark Burridge 4:11:44; Michael Anderson 4:51:59.

Clayton lady Candice Leah impressed in only her second marathon. She paced her race well to finish in three hours 12 minutes and 55 seconds and could qualify for the women's elite race next year.

Observer sports editor Dany Robson finished in 3:28:48; Kitty Garnett in 4:42:01 and Valerie Roberts finished in 5:33:46.

For Accrington Road Runners, Geoff Biscomb led the way with 3:26:53. Next was Kevin Bridge 3;32;28; Julia Hartley 3:44:03; Andrew Hollas 3:44:17; David Mallaby 3:59:40; Kim Lowes 4:00:19; Jill Heyes 4:00:19; Jean Goodwin 4:26:59; Alison Hope 4:27:50; Michael Walmsley 4:29:46; Donna Beardmore 4:39:03 and Kathleen Snape 4:48:20


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