Stepto smashes marathon best but can go faster says coach
Respected Cornwall AC coach Alan Rowling believes Emma Stepto can still run faster - even though she smashed her personal best by almost eight minutes in the Amsterdam marathon on Sunday.
Stepto’s time of 2hrs 35mins 02secs carved a staggering seven minutes 54secs off the PB the 43-year-old Cornwall AC runner set in Toronto, when making her England debut, last year and lifted her to fourth in the UK Rankings behind Susan Partridge (2:30.46), Alyson Dixon (2:31.08) and Amy Whitehead (2:34.14).
But Rowling revealed that Stepto, who libes near Redruth, was baulked at the start costing her valuable time and probably ruined her chances of dipping under 2:35.
“Emma said she couldn’t get into her running due to the amount of people at the start,” said Rowing.
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“She wasn’t on the elite start but in the second group but it took her until two miles until she got clear road and managed to get into her running.
“At that point she was on 2:38 pace and said it was awful. We had planned to get under 2:35 but that became really difficult after that start.
“But nonetheless she was over the moon with her run.”
The time, which was just two seconds outside the qualifying mark set by England for the Commonwealth Games next year, also means Stepto becomes the third fastest veteran over 40 female runner in UK history behind legends Priscilla Welch (2:26.51 in 1987) and Joyce Smith (2:29.43 in 1982).
“Emma only started running aged 35 and it is amazing that she has got to 43 and is still improving,” added Rowling.
“And I know that there is more to come as long as she can steer clear of injuries.”
Notwithstanding Stepto’s massive improvement one record that will probably remain elusive is Marian Sutton’s county record of 2:28.42 which she ran in the 1999 Chicago Marathon.