A TEAM of Bridport runners pounded the streets in their first Bournemouth marathon but one ran away with the glory – coming an astonishing 22nd in the 3,000-strong field.

The Bournemouth Marathon Festival saw four runners from Bridport Runners competing and finishing.

With the cheers of thousands of spectators ringing in their ears Vicky Ackerman, Kazy Vincent-Janes and Ben Renshaw – conquered the 26.2-mile long course.

Ben finished in two hours 53 minutes, coming 22nd out of more than 3,000 participants.

Vicky, for whom it was also her first marathon race, ran four hours 43 minutes, and Kazy three hours 52 minutes.

Tim Hussey, also from Bridport, finished in three hours 55 minutes.

Running in their black-and-white-striped club vests the three Bridport Runners and Tim enjoyed the course which included a seven-mile long stretch along the sea front at Bournemouth Pier.

Both Kazy and Tim ran for good causes and raised money for African Orphanage and Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance.

Ben, 32, a marine engineer, said he was pleased with his time, but admitted that he had hoped to finish even faster.

“I had wanted two hours 45, which means I could get an entry to the London Marathon,” said Ben.

“My watch failed me at the start line, so I couldn’t track my times.

“There was a bad moment at about 22 miles, when Bournemouth pier was in my sights, but it seemed to be pushing further and further away.”

Ben had been a runner when he was younger and only took up the sport again 18 months ago. Bournemouth was his first experience of a full marathon and he said he had trained hard, ‘but not enough’.

“I was only averaging 15 to 20 miles a week, but they reckon you should reach 60 to 80 miles a week before a marathon,” he added.

The marathon was won by super-fit Ebisa Merga from Ethiopia, who raced to the finish line in a time of 2 hours and 16 minutes and 42 seconds during the two-day running festival.

Now the Bridport Runners want to see a team in next year’s Berlin marathon and the training begins now.

Bridport Runners are offering a beginners club at Bridport Leisure Centre. Contact the club chairman Brian Shelley on 01308 459942 or email jane_brianshelley@yahoo. co.uk