The 53-12 cross country league season opener took place on a mild Sunday 26th October at Great Notley Country Park, hosted by Witham Running Club. As usual, the course included more than one climb of the infamous hill. 44 Blue Vests turned out to run, along with 7 juniors. Craig Warriner was the first Bentley man to cross the finish line in 13th place overall, leading the men’s team of Chris Warren (22nd), Russ Sharp (31st), Charlie Keitch (35th), Ben Ficken (48th), Dave Goldsmith (52nd), Michael Simmons (57th) and Malcolm Jarvis (85th) to 4th place. The ladies were led home by Sophie Apps (21st lady), followed by Anna Mills (29th), Eileen Shadford (38th) and Steph Horner (41st) to finish in 5th place. Overall, the club finished in 4th place in Pool A. Other runners were Mark Crittendon, Andy Horlock, Andy Fuller, Martin Owen, Phil Presland, Darren Horner, Paul Carlisle, Frank Gardiner, Don Welsh, Mark Ross, John Booty, Scott Young, Graham Clarke, Del Godden, Michael James, Patrick Reynolds, Rob Thorpe, Kevin James, Lesley Fuller, Sue Sorrell, Lex Carlisle, Barbara Law, Rebecca Cook, Karen Skene, Natalie Stewart, Lorna Sharp, Claudia Keitch, Alison Day, Claire Reynolds, Claire Groves, Sandra James and Belinda Palmer-Barnes.
The junior team finished in 8th place, just one point behind Springfield Striders. Ben Disney ran home in 16th place, and was followed by Michael Oates, Amie Apps, Hallie Booty, Emily Cook, Eve Cook and Eliza Morton. Eve and Eliza made their cross country debut with this race, and both ran very well.
Great Bentley juniors could also be seen in the south of the country on Saturday 25th, as Harrison Leek, Bobby Neill, Olivia Stevens and Katie Stevens all took part in the Bupa Great South 1.5k mini run in Portsmouth. Harrison came in the top ten finishers with an excellent time of just 5 minutes 50 seconds. Bobby’s time was 6m 40s, Olivia 8m 45s and Katie 9m 20s. Not to be outdone, their fathers also did a little running, competing in both the 5k event on the same day and the 10 mile event the following. Jamie Neill scored a PB in the 5k race with 20:59 then followed that with 1:14:54 for the 10 mile event the next day. Shawn Leek clocked 1:58:02, Kevin Stevens 1:10:28, Janine Simpson 1:22:33, Darren Willey 1:25:44 and Paul Blackwell 1:49:36.
Lee Clarkson and Chusa Bautista Fructuoso took on the Stort 30, finishing in 5:27:07 and 5:01:24 respectively.
At the Colchester Parkrun, Malcolm Jarvis was the first Blue Vest across the line in just 20:35, followed by Ade Cherry 22:31(PB), Ben Ficken 22:04, Claire Groves 28:47, Charlie Keitch 25:18, Sandra James 33:23, Gary Hill 26:27 and Scott Young 32:58 pacing his daughter.