TWO Whalley businessmen, Andrew Ronnan and Garry Wilkinson, competed in the Stockholm Marathon on June 9 and both turned in good personal performances.

With 10,467 runners this year, it is Sweden's biggest sporting event.

The start and finish centred around the Olympic Stadium which is a magnificent listed building constructed for the 1912 Olympic Games, but maintained in pristine condition with the latest athletic and football facilities.

Garry, 36, a leading athlete with Clayton-le-Moors Harriers and running his second road marathon, was 131st home in 2:53.05.

Andrew, 46, secured a personal best performance clocking 4:46.57 putting him in 7,126th place. The race was won by a Swedish athlete, Anders Szalkai in 2:18.56.

The route took the runners on two laps through Stockholm running past Sweden's Royal Palace and over a few of the many bridges which link a city built around 147 islands.

"It certainly is a beautiful course to run with plenty of support along the way, but to finish in the Olympic Stadium with a good crowd inside was special and made all the hard effort worthwhile," said Andrew.

The weather took a nasty turn after 21 miles with about one inch of rain and hail falling in about 15 minutes which made the final part of the race demanding for any runners left out on the course. "I don't think I'll get much quicker, but it would be nice to be back at the hotel a bit earlier if only to miss the thunderstorms. At least Garry had a pint ready for me when I got back," joked Andrew who is looking forward to another European marathon later this year.