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Newmarket Joggers member Troi Baxter making impressive marathon progress

Troi Baxter has come a long way since running the London Marathon back in 2018.

Having not long been a member of the Newmarket Joggers, her preparations for race day were badly hampered by shin splints.

And with the mercury a touch higher than 24 °C – making it the hottest marathon in the English capital on record – she suffered badly, fainting on two occasions before eventually finishing in a time of five hours, 25 minutes and 47 seconds.

Newmarket Joggers member Troi Baxter
Newmarket Joggers member Troi Baxter

"The shin splints meant a lot of my training had to be done on the elliptical machine," reflected the Newmarket dentist.

"People warned me not to see off too fast but I probably did and after 14 miles, with the heat and everything else I fainted for the first time.

"I was a long time in the medical tent because they weren't happy for me to continue. Eventually they let me go but at mile 24 I fainted again.

"I couldn't carry on running but I was determined to finish and I managed to do it, but it was a tough day."

Yet rather than put Baxter off from returning to compete in such a gruelling race, it was an experience that only made her more determined.

Eighteen months later in New York her marathon personal best time dropped to 4:13:26 – and it has only gone one way since.

She ran again in London in 2021, clocking 3:30:08, followed by 3:13:58 in Berlin and then 3:09:13 in Boston, USA.

But the big question was could she dip under three hours? After taking on the 2021 Los Angeles Marathon winner Natasha Cockram as a coach, it started to become a realistic target.

Training has been gruelling, with Ashley-based Baxter out running six or seven days a week and clocking up anywhere between 75 and 80 miles during that time.

Yet it all came to fruition in London earlier this month when she took a hefty 16 minutes off her previous time, stopping the clock in 2:52:32. And for good measure just seven days later Baxter recorded a time of 2:56:16 in Chicago.

"A while ago I couldn't see me going better than the 3:30 in London in 2021 but Natasha thought I'd get sub three hours easily," she added.

"She is an elite runner, she has ran in so many big races and she was adamant I had it in me.

"I don't like to disappointment people and so I kept to the training plan she gave me.

"Sometimes it's 15 miles and you're building up and up. It's tough and I'd never have done that on my own, but even though it's pretty brutal because Natasha knew it would help me.

"I got through every single session and ultimately you get out of running what you put in. I was so happy to go under three hours."

Not there is much time for Baxter to wallow in her achievement.

Cockram believes there is still plenty to shave off that personal best and while it will be tough, the 28-year-old is up for the challenge.

"She thinks I can go sub 2:45," said Baxter, who just needs to run the Toyko Marathon to complete the Abbott World Marathon Majors, a series of the six most renowned races in the world.

"It's going to be really, really hard to achieve that but it's something I'd love to be able to do."