Angela singing in the rain

The rain and hail came down like stair-rods in Edinburgh at the weekend - but it couldn't stop Angela Hibbs knocking more than four minutes off her previous best marathon time.

The rain and hail came down like stair-rods in Edinburgh at the weekend - but it couldn't stop Angela Hibbs knocking more than four minutes off her previous best marathon time.

Over 7,000 wet competitors lined up in Princes Street - and the Claremont athlete, just five weeks after competing in the London Marathon, stormed home to an excellent second place in a new personal best time of 2hours 55mins 27secs.

The 25-year-old came close to picking up the winner's prize, but Falkirk Victoria's Fiona Matheson held on by around 30 seconds.

"I was absolutely delighted to run so well," said Angela, who only started running a couple of years ago while working in Australia.

"That's three marathons I've now run and I've improved in all of them which is very encouraging."

Angela, who is originally from Surrey, has no background in running but started jogging while she was working Down Under with the Australia Institute of Sport.

"The beautiful weather in Australia was an integral reason why I came to start running," she confessed.

"I worked in Australia for a year before being offered a split post as sports biomechanist/performance analyst here in the North East with the English Institute of Sport at Gateshead Stadium and Durham County Cricket Club.

"I've been here two years now, and although the weather is somewhat different to Australia I've carried on running and really enjoying myself.

"Claremont is a real friendly club and they made me very welcome from the start."

Angela's first competitive race since moving to the North East was the AAAs Half-Marathon Championship in Silverstone in March 2006 and she finished in 11th place in 88:06.

The following month she made her debut in the London Marathon and finished in 166th position, recording 3:10:01.

However, this year she knew what to expect, and the roads of the capital held no fears as she dipped under three hours to finish in 54th place in 2:59:54.

Now Angela has run even quicker and that time has been eclipsed with her second place in Edinburgh.

And it may not end there, for she has two more marathons planned before the year ends.

"My next race is the Blaydon, which I've heard so much, about and then the Tynedale 10km (she finished third last year) before getting ready for a marathon in Bordeaux in September," she added.

"That will be used as a holiday visiting the surrounding vineyards, so I don't expect anything special there, especially as the Great North Run is later in the month.

"But the marathon I am really looking forward to is New York in November.

"It's one of the classic marathons and I gather it's quite a fast course, so hopefully I can get my time down even further!"

The way things have gone there's no reason to believe that won't happen for the adopted Geordie who, despite being surrounded by leading lights from a number of sports at the International Stadium, looks after her own training programme.

"Looking for someone to give me guidance is something I have to consider if I want to progress, which indeed, I do," she admitted.

"I'm only 25 and top-class marathon runners are usually well into their 30s.

"So while I have the time, I also want to know I'm going about things in the right way, and that will only come about if I seek advice from someone with a specific coaching background in endurance running.

"If there is anyone with this experience I would be very interested to get in contact with them."

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