By Derren Howard
Eastbourne distance runner Todd Leckie said his gamble paid off as he powered to victory at the notoriously tough Beachy Head Marathon last Saturday.
Leckie, competing in his first ever marathon, led home the 3,000-strong field home in an impressive time of 2:56:45.
“I ran the first hour very quickly and I thought I was going to get to halfway, around the Cuckmere, and completely blow-up,” said the Team Bodyworks athlete.
“It was a massive gamble to go out so fast but luckily the legs stayed strong. I had trained well but I didn’t expect to get the win.”
Leckie was on the pace from the start and he took the lead at around 10 miles and dominated the race from there on in. “I knew I was out in front but I just didn’t want to look behind me as it would have stressed me out. I was aiming for the 3 hours 10 minute mark, so I was delighted to go under three. You can train well but you also need a bit of luck on the day and luckily my body felt good.
“It’s the first time I’ve competed in more than a half-marathon distance, it was a great feeling to cross the line in first place.”
The 30-year-old former Hailsham Harrier, who works as a doctor at the DGH, had been training between 20-30 miles a week prior to the race.
“My teammates took the mick but they were really pleased for me,” Leckie added. “They knew I’d been training well but I tried to keep it low key as I didn’t want any expectations.”
Leckie previously competed for Great Britain as a triathlete but a badly broken arm at the age of 24 saw him focus on a career in medicine.
“The broken arm was a turning point. It did heel but I was getting pain in the swim section of the triathlon. I decided to concentrate fully on my career and run in my spare time.” Leckie grew up in Eastbourne and watched his mum complete six Beachy Head Marathons. He has been a qualified doctor for three years and recently moved to the Eastbourne DGH.
“Work is demanding but for me, running in the Downs is a great way to unwind. I have a few exams coming up so I won’t be running seriously for a while but I do plan to be back and compete in the Beachy Head next year.”