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Cheltenham Harriers runner Fee Maycock aiming for sub-three hours in Manchester Marathon

All Areas > Sport > Running

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Saturday, 7th April 2018, 09:00

Fee Maycock after last year’s marathon in Frankfurt Fee Maycock after last year’s marathon in Frankfurt

Fee Maycock is a good runner, very good in fact.

The 50-year-old Cheltenham Harrier has recorded nine sub-three hours marathons over the years which is pretty good going and tomorrow she is hoping to make it a perfect 10.

That’s when she’s taking part in the Manchester Marathon, an event she ran last year and one she completed in an impressive two hours, 56 minutes, 21 seconds.

That’s not much slower than her personal best of two hours, 54 minutes, 17 seconds which she set in Frankfurt in October 2012.

And as you’d expect from someone who clearly is top notch, Fee has most of her times close at hand – in fact, they are all logged on her phone.

Tomorrow’s race will be her 15th over 26.2 miles. She has previously run the London nine times – “I’d like to do that race one more time to round it up to 10,” she said – Frankfurt three times and Berlin and Manchester once.

“I’ve been running since I was a kid,” said the former Chosen Hill School pupil, “and I was a member of Cheltenham Harriers from my early teens until I was 17.”

And running wasn’t the only sport that she was good at back in the day, although it certainly helped her when it came to her other love which was playing hockey.

“I used to play right midfield and I’d run for fun,” she said. “I played for Tewkesbury and St Gregory’s.”

And she pursued the two sports side by side for a while – although the one did get in the way of the other on one occasion.

“I’d started running marathons before I’d finished playing hockey,” said mum-of-two Fee who lives in Cheltenham with her husband Graham, a member of Cheltenham and County Cycling Club.

“But one year I broke my wrist playing hockey when I was in training for the London Marathon.”

Family commitments – she has two sons, Drew and Finlay – made life a lot busier of course at the end of the last century and the beginning of this but Fee never really gave up competitive sport when the boys were young.

“I played hockey within weeks of each of my sons being born,” said Fee. “They were probably the catalyst to me running more, it fitted in around family life really well.

“From 2006, aged eight and six, they came to London with Graham and I every year when I ran the marathon and popped up around the course many times to cheer me on.”

So, what is it about running that she likes so much?

“It gives you time to clear your head,” said Fee, who runs about 50 miles every week. “It gives you an immense sense of achievement when you’ve finished, whether it be a race or a training run.”

And over the past six years or so as her two boys have grown older she’s been able to take part in a lot more races.

In 2012 she joined Belgrave Harriers, the top athletics club based in Battersea Park and Wimbledon, even though she continued to live in Cheltenham.

“I was there for four years,” she said. “I was headhunted by them to join their marathon team as I was ‘unattached’ to a club, and after a lot of convincing from Graham I thought, ‘Why not?’.”

And it turned out to be a very good decision because she helped the club win the England Marathon Championships twice.

And the mantelpiece in her Hatherley home has continued to creak with trophies since her return to Cheltenham Harriers in April 2016.

So what made her rejoin her hometown club?

“I wanted to race more on the local scene and train with a quality group,” Fee explained. “It was nice to come back to the club where it all started and complete the circle.”

And she’s certainly made an impression since returning home, winning the Cheltenham and County Harriers Ladies’ Cup last year.

“That was pretty good,” she said.

And it was certainly fully deserved. Her performances in races, particularly in the Manchester Marathon, speak for themselves and last year she was ranked second nationally in the vet 45 category, and then third nationally in the vet 50 category once she turned 50 in August.

She was also a committed member of the Harriers’ cross-country team which competed in the Gloucestershire League.

“I love the team aspect of club running,” she said.

And it was that love of team sport that also encouraged her to turn out for the club’s track and field team, even though she admits it’s not something that she particularly enjoys.

“I ran on the track for the first time since I left school,” she chuckled. “Normally I’ll race over anything from 5K to a marathon but I ran 3K on the track.”

She admits that running “round and round in circles” is not her favourite format but ask her about the Manchester Marathon and she talks almost as quickly as she runs.

“It’s my favourite marathon,” she enthused. “It’s a really flat course – every little helps when you’re 50! It’s always a fast race.”

And she won’t be short of support in the north west.

“My husband is taking me up on Saturday night,” said Fee. “He’s always there supporting me.”

And her coach Dave Newport is a big support too. “He does so much for the endurance squad at the Harriers,” added Fee.

Both her husband and her coach will be pretty confident that Fee will put in another of those typically top performances in Manchester tomorrow.

She has been training hard with the couple’s two English Pointers at nearby Leckhampton Hill and Crickley Hill.

“Yes, they are faster than me,” she laughed.

In fact, Fee is often out and about running with a variety of dogs. “I run dogwalkdogrun, which is my own dog walking business,” she said. “And part of what I do is take individual dogs out for a run, literally!”

That helps Fee as well, of course, and she is certainly in good shape for tomorrow’s race. She ran two hours, 56 minutes, 40 seconds in Frankfurt in October and is aiming for something similar tomorrow.

If she achieves that she will finish just outside her personal best, so has she thought about setting a new PB?

“That would be amazing,” she admitted, “but that’s not the target.”

That may be so, but no one who knows her would be surprised if she didn’t go very close to that time she set in Frankfurt five-and-a-half years ago.

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