…And Charlie, Rodger and Matt came tumbling after!

Yes it was that time again, the South of England Cross Country Championships, this year at Parliament Hill. Used for many XC champs, the churned up mud at Parliament Hill has previously been described as “a scene from a medieval battlefield”. For many the sheer relentlessness of this course makes it a one-in-a-lifetime event: do it once and say “never again”.

Members of Great Bentley Running Club were not to be put off though, with Charlie Keitch, Rodger Alexander and Matt Knowles all running in the senior mens race on 30 January 2016. Keitch was first home in 1:12:31, placing 710th out of over 1000 competitors. Alexander followed with a time of 1:16:44 with Knowles hot on his heels, completing the 15,000m course in 1:22:54.

Earlier that Saturday two parkruns welcomed GBRC members. At Harwich Malcolm Jarvis continued his streak of top-ten finishes, being the 6th runner back in 21:51. Also at Harwich, Tonie Wilson’s first attempt at the course saw her as the 4th lady home in 25:01.

Colchester Castle parkrun welcomed the usual suspects with Lee Clarkson being the first GBRC member home in 21:36, followed by Meera Rajoo-Oakley (21:49). The return to the regular ‘yellow’ route after weeks of the adjusted ‘Winter Wonderland’ course proves to be welcome as next for the GBRC contingent was Andy Stephens in 22:33, a personal best that has been two years in the making and Chusa Bautista Frustuoso who equalled her personal best with 24:12. The GBRC representation also included Scott Young (24:38); Paul Hollidge (25:05); and Lynsey Apps (29:45) who all finished in the top 100 of over 300 finishers.

Looking to the Bentley youth, Colchester Castle parkrun also saw Megan and Caitlyn Hughes make their second attempts at the 5000m distance. Both ran in the under 11 category with Megan completing the course in 38:28, Caitlyn close behind in 39:31. Linzi Iddon accompanied the girls, finishing with Caitlyn in 39:31.

Sunday 31st January was unusually quiet although little puts John Bush off from finding a race. Running for a second year in the UK Winter Run London, a 10,000m course that loops around St Paul’s Cathedral and enjoys a fast finish on Whitehall, Bush improved on his time from last year finishing in 1:01:04. Also completing the 10k was Meera Rajoo-Oakley in 59:31.

Paul Blackwell followed up his marathon run of the previous Sunday with a half marathon. Again selecting the county of Kent in which to don his trainers, Blackwell went off-road this week completing a wet and muddy 13.1 miles as part of the ‘Chocathon Challenge’, a timed event where laps of the multi-terrain course are punctuated with chocolate eating.