This weekend’s main event for Great Bentley Running Club was the Colchester half marathon. A phenomenal 46 GBRC members ran the 13.1 mile course, a further four acted as pace makers helping others achieve their goals.

The race starts and finishes at the Weston Homes stadium, home of Colchester United. A fast first two miles took runners into the historic town centre where the crowds gathered giving great support. After travelling through town the race then meanders out to the North Essex villages of Langham and Boxted before runners are challenged with two miles of stereotypically straight roman road before arriving back to the stadium.

The course is described as undulating yet fast and with perfect weather conditions there was a high potential for personal best (pb) runs. For 12 GBRC runners this was the case, with many others achieving close to best runs, or fantastic times after coming back from periods of injury.

For the Great Bentley gents there were 19 representatives:

  • Chris Warren, men’s captain, led the blue vests home. Warren was the 16th male finisher in a pb time of 1:19:18 and becomes the 9th fastest GBRC member for the half marathon distance;
  • Charlie Keitch improved on his time from last year, arriving back at the stadium in 1:27:28
  • Tom Fowler finished in 1:30:15, a pb by four and a half minutes;
  • Kevin Stevens finished in 1:35:11;
  • Andy Stephens, fresh off a plane from Africa ran a pb time of 1:36:27;
  • Richard Moor completed his race in 1:38:06
  • Del Godden stopped the clock in 1:38:56;
  • Jamie Beadle ran the course in 1:40:36;
  • Andy Fuller ran a personal best time, finishing in 1:40:33 – his best performance for the distance since 2013;
  • Jamie Neill ran with Fuller, also finishing in 1:40:33;
  • Charles Williams was the next GBRC man home in 1:47:12;
  • Frank Gardiner improved three minutes on his time from last year, finishing in 1:54:26;
  • Shawn Leek finished in 1:56:04;
  • Darren Willey followed in 1:57:24, a minute quicker than his time from last year;
  • Slipping inside 2 hours was Brian Telford with a time of 1:58:40;
  • With a pb time of 2:10:50, Luke Groves was the next gent home in a blue vest;
  • Ryan Bedingfield clocked a time of 2:14:16;
  • John Bush was seconds behind in 2:14:02 an improvement on his 2015 attempt at the course;
  • Emmanuel Popoola rounded off the GBRC male representation in a time of 2:50:57.

For the Great Bentley ladies, 27 were out on course:

  • First home was ladies’ captain Vicky Presland in a pb time of 1:31:04. This run makes Vicky the second fastest GBRC lady over the half marathon distance;
  • Sam Godden crossed the line next in 1:36:41;
  • Meera Rajoo-Oakley finished in 1:38:16, a pb that was over two minutes faster than the previous year;
  • Next across the line in a blue vest was Rosie Harrison in 1:39:59;
  • Jennifer Alyen bagged a pb in 1:45:48;
  • Also with a pb time was Chusa Bautista Fructuoso who stopped the clock in 1:47:10;
  • With a goal of 1:52:00, it was success for Karen Skene who finished in 1:51:03;
  • Alison Day began her racing season with a strong time of 1:52:03;
  • Anna Lyon completed her 13.1 miles in 1:52:41;
  • Katy O’leary finished in 1:53:07;
  • Followed closely by Hien Hoang, returning from injury after having to defer in 2015, who crossed the line in 1:53:34;
  • Next to stop the clock was Janine Simpson in 1:56:07;
  • Vicky Parker finished her race in 1:56:12;
  • Rachel Giles came over the line next in 1:57:15;
  • Anthea Colsell ran a pb time in 1:57:23, a minute faster than her previous attempt of the course;
  • With her third best time at the distance Caroline Searle clocked a time of 2:03:40;
  • Geraldine Springett finished in 2:05:53;
  • Bagging herself a pb was Alison Clarke who finished in 2:06:52;
  • Sue Sorrell was the next GBRC lady to arrive back at the stadium in 2:09:58;
  • Fiona Gosling was the next back in a blue vest with a time of 2:12:44;
  • Sue Wright celebrated her birthday in style, coming home in 2:12:18;
  • Louise Reeve, on her first attempt at the half marathon distance completed the course in a strong 2:14:15;
  • Helene Tyler ran a pb time of 2:21:32, seven minutes faster than her previous record for the distance;
  • Willow Carlisle finished in 2:42:25;
  • Laura Greene came home in 2:45:36;
  • Ruth Metcalfe finished in 2:56:08;
  • Linzi Iddon completed the line-up of GBRC competitors in 2:54:40.

The GBRC members volunteering as pace makers were Ben Ficken, who paced for 1:35:00 and finished in 1:34:23; Scott Crawley paced for 1:45:00 and finished in 1:43:29; Lee Clarkson was charged with completing the course in 2 hours, and finished in 1:59:43; and Natalie Stewart paced for 2:10 and finished in 2:09:41.

There was plenty of GBRC representation within the team of volunteers also; helping to ensure all of the runners completed the course safely.

Slightly less local, but keeping with the ‘L’ theme, Paul Hollidge and Deborah Cubberley spent the weekend in Liverpool and took part in the Liverpool half marathon, running together they crossed the line in 2:02:22, a personal best time for Cubberley.

On the previous day Hollidge and Cubberley enjoyed some parkrun tourism, completing Princes parkrun together in 28:18.

At our local parkruns, GBRC members ran at Colchester Castle and Harwich. At Colchester Castle Meera Rajoo-Oakley led the GBRC representation home in a time of 25:38, Belinda Palmer-Barnes followed in 30:16. Hot on her heels were Mark Crittenden and GBRC youth member Megan Hughes. Megan achieved a personal best time of 30:54, an improvement of 5 minutes whilst Crittenden stopped the clock just after at 30:56. Rounding off the Bentley runners at Colchester Castle were Linzi Iddon and Caitlyn Hughes, who like Megan ran in the under 11s category. Caitlyn finished just ahead of mum Linzi, their times being 39:34 and 40:29 respectively.

Over at Harwich parkrun, Matthew Knowles placed as the second male finisher in a time of 20:12. Malcolm Jarvis followed as the 9th finisher, crossing the line in 21:50. Kevin James and Sandra James completed the GBRC members at parkrun, running together and both finishing with a time of 31:36, a personal best time for Sandra over the Harwich 5000 meter course.

The last piece of race action for this week comes from Paul Blackwell, who travelled to London for the Thames Meander marathon. Blackwell completed the 26.2 mile out-and-back course in 4:58:09 whilst being serenaded by English and Welsh rugby fans from the pubs lining the banks of the Thames. Out of 216 runners, Blackwell was the 180th home.