A good number of Blue Vests turned out to compete in the Essex 20 race on Sunday 15th March, for many a vital stepping stone to a spring marathon. Despite the weather forecast, the rain mostly held off, providing near perfect cool, cloudy running conditions with little to no wind on this open course. First Bentley man to finish was Michael Simmons in 2 hours 21 minutes and 2 seconds, and first Bentley woman was Vicky Presland, who gained an elusive diamond club standard time of 2:30:20, a PB by over 3 minutes. Steph Horner, running her first race at this distance, beat her hoped-for time of under 2 hours 50 to cross the line in 2:41:20, a gold club standard. Also racing 20 miles for the first time was Paul Hollidge, who finished in 2:45:47, bronze club standard. Barbara Law took the Essex Gold medal in the FV65 age group, plus a diamond club standard in 3:23:18. Other runners were Lee Clarkson 3:02:24, Chusa Bautista Fructuoso 3:05:55, Paul Carlisle 2:34:49(PB), Linzi Iddon 3:55:44, Lesley Fuller 3:13:27, Andy Fuller 3:13:28, Jamie Neill 2:34:29(PB), Dave Wright 2:21:50, John Booty 2:30:14, Anna Lyon 2:56:53, Laura Emms 3:06:21, Miriam Mark 3:08:24 and Luke Groves 3:41:29(PB).
At other races, Helene Tyler ran the Silverstone half marathon in very cold weather in 2:23:48, and Gary Hill clocked a PB in 1:52:43.
Kevin Stevens ran the North London half marathon in 1:31:27, and John Bush ran Weymouth half marathon to clock 2:12:58, a PB by 38 minutes.
In Parkrun news, Claire Groves ran Colchester in 25:15(PB), Ruth Metcalfe in 32:30(PB), Belinda Palmer-Barnes 28:48, Patrick Reynolds 21:11, Kevin James 22:23, Sandra James 30:56, Shawn Leek 26:24, Harrison Leek 26:24, Claire Reynolds 30:42, Malcolm Jarvis 22:35, Scott Young 25:34 and Claudia Keitch 25:33.