A MAGNIFICENT seven Denbigh Harriers joined thousands of others on the start-line for last weekend's Virgin Money London Marathon.

Shaun Hughes lined up on that elite start line having achieved qualification for the elite race thanks to a previous sub two hours and 45 minutes marathon, the qualifying time as a senior man.

Joe Welch also joined him on the elite start line having previously achieved a ‘good for age’ qualification time.

Fellow Denbigh Harriers members Steve Gadd, Melina Morris, Katy Baugh, Billie-Jo Davies and Hawys Roberts also lined up in soaring temperatures – even harder after a winter of very cold training - with over 40,000 runners, racing in what was a first marathon and fundraiser for many.

Shaun Hughes was the first Harrier home, completing the race in 2-48.48 and placing 378th in the race, 267th in his age category.

That is such a fantastic achievement for Shaun, who is only 23 and has never raced in London before, but has such a sensible head and knows how to train and race.

Already looking forward to next year, Shaun said it was “a great experience with the crowd and support making it all worthwhile”.

Also one of the first 1,000 runners home was Joe Welch.

Joe, 38, was competing in his ninth marathon and he only had one goal - to run sub three hours.

He had run the London Marathon on three previous occasions, most recently in 2007, completing the course in three hours and 22 minutes.

In spite of the heat, all of his early morning training runs around the roads of Nantglyn paid off.

He smashed his target and previous personal best by six minutes, finishing in 2-55.40 to place 711th in the race and 480th in his category.

The spirit of London is not just about the elite runners, it’s everyone else who lines up in a club vest, charity vest, or just looking to see if they can race London.

Coming home third for the Denbigh club was Steve Gadd, finishing in the top 10 per cent of runners in 3,517th.

His incredible time was 3-24.25.

Melina Morris, Katy Baugh, Billie-Jo Davies and Hawys Roberts were fundraising and to date, they have raised nearly £10,000 for local and national charities.

Mel was the first of the quartet home in 4-29.14 (15,737th) and 596th in her category.

Katy, who won Denbigh Harriers' club place to compete at London, finished in 18,743rd - and 2,908th in her category - in 4-42.17.

She was closely followed by Billie-Jo Davies (4-47.17), who was 19,949th overall and 3,174th in her category.

Hawys Roberts, who only started running six months ago, finished in 5-37.59, for 30,826th overall and 5,885th in her category.

A club spokesperson said: "The achievements of all our Harriers in London cannot be underestimated given the heat, pressure and the crowd support.

"A big well done to them all."