HARRY CARTER returned to racing with a bang in the Portsmouth Coastal Waterside Marathon on Sunday.
His brilliant effort after four years away from the scene saw him record a time of 2hr 44min 48sec to finish in third place.
The race was won by Jonathan Albon, from Essex, who is a top-class ultra runner and obstacle event specialist.
He clocked a time of 2.31.14 – smashing the course record which had stood at 2.40.46 since the first edition of the event in 2010.
Albon has previously won the prestigious Skyrace in Tromso, Norway organised by mountain running legend, Kilian Jornet.
So the Portsmouth event which is run on a mixture of pavement and energy-sapping trail held no real fears for him.
Meanwhile, Sarah Hill, of Farnham Runners, shattered the ladies’ course record as well with her time 3.01.14 as the runners enjoyed perfect weather.
And Carter’s spectacular first marathon certainly caught the eye.
The former City of Portsmouth 5k and 10k track specialist is now a member of Gosport Road Runners.
He enjoyed great support with many of his club-mates and friends running or marshalling for the event hosted by Rob Piggott and his fantastic legion of helpers.
But with his running background and his sights on a possible track return for next year Carter admitted he found it tricky to adjust to the trail and the off-road sections of the course.
He said: ‘Going into it, I didn’t know what to expect. It was my first marathon.
‘Training has been quite good since October but I’m still about 40 to 50 per cent fit and I’m still about 7k or 8k overweight.
‘I was on my own for most of the run and it was a strange experience to run by yourself in a race with more than 1,000 people.
‘I cannot lie, I’m not the biggest fan of the course. I like a track or a nice flat road.
‘But the timing of the event makes it such a good way to end the year.
‘And I didn’t know this but if you run under 2.45 it qualifies you for the elite race for the London Marathon in 2018.
‘It means running well in London could be a target. I would like to go under 2.20. I think that’s achievable.’
Carter has been running with his dad Nick in training and they also team up to run Absolute Running, the specialist retailer in Gosport, where they are at the centre of the fantastic sports community there.
The marathon is a great fun event and the fancy dress on show from runners and helpers contributed to a brilliant occasion with 1,014 finishers.
Harry added: ‘The atmosphere is unbelievable, there’s so much support and encouragement.
‘The timing of the event is fantastic, you can finish the marathon and then you can have a break for Christmas and do what you want really. That was the plan.
‘I’ve been off the beer for about three months so I had a little drink to celebrate afterwards.’