Age no barrier for Holley as he follows up Swiss Storm win
There was double reason for Paul Holley to celebrate last weekend.
Twenty-four hours after seeing Swiss Storm — whom he rides out every day — romp to victory by two lengths at Newbury, the assistant trainer to David Elsworth recorded a win of his own at the Richmond Runfest Marathon.
The race, which was in its inaugural year, started in Kew Gardens and followed the Thames towpath up to Hampton Court before looping back to finish in Richmond while taking in some of South London’s best sights.
Running at a six-mile-a-minute rate, 50-year-old Holley picked up the lead after seven miles following a spell just behind the leading pack.
It was an advantage that he never surrendered, crossing the line in a time of two hours 46 minutes and 30 seconds — four minutes quicker than any of his competitors.
On top of that the final statistics showed the Newmarket Jogger headed a field of 680 finishers and won his age category by almost 45 minutes.
“I was quite surprised with just how well I performed and the time,” said Holley.
“I did not go out there with any particular time in mind, but from very early on I felt really comfortable.
“Looking back, the 48-mile ultra I did in August probably helped to condition me for this.
“I am with Swiss Storm pretty much every day and it was a great performance from him at Newbury.
“Then for me to go and win made it the perfect weekend.”
After his victory, Holley spoke with Team GB athlete Jo Pavey, who won the women’s 10km at the same event.
The 42-year-old has just returned from Rio de Janeiro where she competed in a fifth Olympic Games — a statement that acts as a source of inspiration for Holley in his half centenary year.
“We chatted about the course because it was over different terrains and she congratulated me on my time,” he added.
“She is a massive influence because to compete at that level at her age is a fantastic achievement.
“I keep going because I am really enjoying what I am doing.”
Holley is due to return to competitive action next month in the Cabbage Patch 10 Mile Race, which starts in Twickenham.
n Elsewhere, some of Holley’s fellow Newmarket Joggers members were in action at the Greater Cambridge 10km race.
Alex Cairns came in with a personal best of 37 minutes and 16 seconds, putting him in 20th position.
Not far behind came Simon Harris with a finishing time of 38.57, while Gillie Green was another Jogger who ran a personal best finishing in 1.03.54.
Meanwhile, Caroline McIntosh tackled the hills and rough terrain of the Royston Harvest Trail Half, coming home in a highly respectable time of three hours and six minutes.
Lisa Redman-Long ran in the 120km at Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire, where the event was named the Equinox 24-hour Run.
The run consists of solo runners or teams running as many 10km laps as they can manage over the period of 24 hours.
Redman-Long performed well as she ended up completing a total of 12 laps.