BEN Cole is happy that his preparations for his next marathon are on course after an encouraging performance in the Chippenham half, writes KEVIN FAHEY.

After finishing third in last Sunday’s race, the Swindon Harrier confirmed he had used the event, which incorporated the Wiltshire Championships, as part of his build-up to the Frankfurt marathon on October 27.

“The Frankfurt marathon is my big target this autumn, so Chippenham was part of that preparation,” said Cole.

“It will be my first marathon for 18 months. Having been inspired by watching London this year, I wanted to give the event another crack.

“Frankfurt is smaller than some of the major autumn marathons like Chicago, Berlin and New York, but I know England have been sending teams to it and it is a fast course.

“Its profile may not be as high as those other races but that should give it a more relaxed feel rather than the hassle of running with 50,000 other runners and all the problems you get with that.”

Frankfurt is actually Germany’s oldest marathon race and the second biggest, behind Berlin, in terms of participation but still significantly smaller than the high-profile event in the capital.

It also boasts solid depth at the standard Cole is looking at with his ambition of beating the personal best of 2hrs 27mins 16secs which he set in London four years ago,

“Running a PB is definitely the goal for Frankfurt,” said Cole.

For now, the 34-year-old Network Rail employee, from Shaw Ridge, is content with his form having clocked 69mins 16secs for third in a top quality race in Chippenham.

“With the race also incorporating the South West Inter Counties Championships there were some good lads there like Tom Merson (winner) and Simon Nott (runner-up),” explained Cole.

“I came off a very hard week of training so was just looking to run at marathon pace and did that.

“But overall, it was a strong work-out and next I’ll race the Great Scottish Run (half marathon) in Glasgow at the end of this month.”

Leading local woman at Chippenham was Hayley Lewis of Swindon Striders in 30th as she sliced 1min 8secs off her PB with 1hr 37mins 26secs.