So the weekend kicked off with the eagerly awaited conclusion to the Friday Five series. Just under four hundred runners were looked after as Great Bentley was playing host. The race got underway on time and it took Andrew Rooke from Aldershot, Farnham & District 25 minutes 22 seconds to bound around our famously flat course. He won comfortably by just over two minutes, appearing to glide effortlesley in front of Gavin Davies (Ipswich Jaffa) 27m 25s and Gavin Allen (Springfield Striders) 27m 25s. Racing for St Edmund’s Pacers and not far behind the chaps was Odette Robson in 29m 21s. She was swiftly followed by Tamara Jordan from Stowmarket Striders, 29m 57s, whilst third place went to an unattached runner, Kerry Dennett in 32m 58s. Flying the flag for the club was Matthew Knowles, Rob Thorpe, Graham Clarke, Tonie Wilson, Jennifer Aylen, Caroline Searle, Karen Skene, Matt Seward and Bee Palmer Barnes. Aylen and Searle both gained bronze club standards with PB times of 40m 54s and 41m 31s. Palmer- Barnes achieved a Gold standard, finishing in 44m 28s (PB).
A great turnout for the junior events this year, a 1 kilometre and 2km race was held over on the village green. A total of eighty three young runners of fifteen years and under made their way along the courses laid out. Bentley’s very own Joe Alexander played the hare for the 2km run with Nina Simmons acting as sweeper. GBRC juniors taking part were, Amie Apps, Emily Cook, Eve Cook, Evie Foster, Caitlyn Hughes, Megan Hughes, Chloe Iddon ,Mia Iddon, Olivia Stevens, Lucy Warren, James Blacker, Darian Harvey, Alex Hill, Rufus Keitch, Michael Knowles, Harrison Leek, Ben Lyon and last but not least Charlie and Connor Sharp.
Four trusty club members turned up at Castle Park for Parkrun. Meera Rajoo Oakley led Lee Clarkson, Chusa Batista and Claudia Keitch back to the bandstand.
Having spent several weeks training, a few disgruntled Bentley bods awoke on Saturday morning to twiddle their thumbs. The annual Colchester Paras 10 mile event had been called off late on Thursday evening. Having moved the original start time from 11am to 9am to try and beat the predicted temperatures of above 80 degrees, the organisers took the reluctant decision to cancel the event so as to avoid any medical incidents. This is a multi terrain endurance race, through much of military land. Runners, Canicross and tabbers in full kit carrying 35lb bergans (rucksacks) navigate their way through water crossings, swamps and almost vertical gravel pits in the fastest time possible. Some will do this for fun, others for the honor of completing what forms part of the Parachute Regiment’s P Company challenge. A new date has been released.
Sunday drew this weekends racing to a close. Gary Hill travelled to Bishop Stortford, Tricia Stacey to Gosfield and Charlie Keitch to Kent. Hill competing in his first ten-mile race completed the hilly rural route in 1 hour 31m 49s (PB). Stacey chose to take on the Olympic triathlon distance promoted by Born2tri in a total time of 2hrs 48m 21s (current results unavailable, so unable to provide splits). The race starts with a 1500 metre open water swim in Gosfield Lake. Next up the cycle course, which is mainly on rural roads. It’s formed of two 20km laps passing through Sible Hedingham, Blackmore End and Beazley End. This is finally followed by a two lap 10km run over a mix of paths and grassland. Following an injury, Charlie Keitch had to pull out of Benfleet earlier in the year. Since then he has been chomping at the bit to get a time laid down. A fifteen mile race is hard to find, so it makes it all the more exciting for our club championships when a member has a crack at one. Trekking to the borders of Kent and Sussex, Keitch steered his way around the lake of Bewl water, the quiet lanes and hilly undulations to finish just one second shy of Ben Ficken’s Benfleet time with 1hr 53m 44s. Long distance events don’t really get much closer!
The third race of this years Essex Championships was arranged by Thrift Green Trotters. Starting and finishing in Blackmore, this single lap undulating course winds its way through the villages of Nine Ashes and Stondon Massey. First home for the Bentley men was Darren Horner, in exactly 43minutes. For the ladies, with a time of 48m 1s was Eileen Shadford. Other runners were Steph Horner, Caroline Searle, Barbara Law, John McKay and Alison Clarke. A great run, despite the humid conditions saw Law finish in 59m 25s. This time entrusted her to another Essex Gold medal for the FV65 category. Searle attained another PB and another bronze standard with 51m 17s.