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There are still seats available on the coach to/from the Virgin London Marathon on 24 April 2016. Seats are for runners and supporters alike and are a bargain at £15 per person.
The coach leaves at 6:40am from Colchester Leisure World. To book seats on the coach and for more details, please contact Eric Shaw ( ). At last check there were 8 seats remaining.

Great Bentley runners chose four different parkruns  at which to show off their blue vests this week:

Lee Clarkson was at Hatfield Forest, finishing as the 51st male out of 146 in a time of 24:57.

Meanwhile at Milton Keynes, Paul Hollidge was a little late to the start line meaning his time of 30:57, whilst still a strong performance, probably does not do his legs justice.

Colchester Castle saw David Wright run his fastest 5k of 2016 to finish in 7th position. Wright stopped the clock in 18:34. Next home for GBRC and taking the first lady position in a time of 20:09 was Vicky Presland. Also running at Colchester were Jamie Beadle (21:27); Meera Rajoo-Oakley (21:58); Philip Presland (24:30); Charles Williams (24:37); Sue Sorrell (28:28); Leoni Harvey (28:46); and Helene Tyler (30:01).

Over at Harwich first position was claimed by Benjamin Ficken in a time of 19:23. He was accompanied on the 5000m course by Malcolm Jarvis (22:24); Patrick Reynolds (26:11); Kevin James (30:58); and Sandra James, who achieved a personal best for the second week in a row. Sandra crossed the line with Kevin in 30:58.

Having enjoyed parkrun, Ficken, Jarvis and Reynolds went on to compete in the Essex Road Relays with their team of four being completed by Matt Knowles. The relay comprises four legs of 5000m along the Harwich seafront and as per a traditional relay competitors must transport a baton, which contains the timing chip. The Great Bentley line up was Leg 1: Jarvis, who ran his leg in 22:18; Leg 2: Knowles, who clocked 19:47 for his portion of the race; Leg 3: Reynolds, who improved on his parkrun with a time of 21:07; and Leg 4: Ficken, who backed up his parkrun with another sub-20 time of 19:10.

Further afield, Paul Blackwell returned to Caldecotte Lake in Milton Keynes. As part of the Week at the Knees 7-day event, Blackwell ran 7 laps of the lake and was able to put another marathon to his name by Saturday evening. Waking up to warmer conditions on Sunday, Blackwell then repeated the feat with another 7 laps of the lake, this time in the opposite direction. The times for Blackwell’s two marathons were 4:55:38 and 5:11:00 respectively.

The warmer Sunday weather was also appreciated by Claire Groves, who was undertaking her longest race to date. Groves completed the Cranleigh 15, a 15-mile road race in Surrey, in 2:11:43 and placed 69th overall out of 472 competitors and was within the top 20 female finishers.

There were two half marathons that welcomed GBRC members this weekend. The Brentwood half marathon welcomed Natalie Stewart, who after pacing others around the Colchester half the week before, raced for herself and completed the course in 1:59:12.

Around the M25 a little way, the North London half marathon was taking place. Three GBRC men entered and first home was Jamie Neill in 1:36:15; a personal best time. Crossing the line just after Neill was Kevin Stevens in 1:36:17; and completing the line-up for the club was Gary Hill, who finished in 1:57:29.

Neill and Stevens after the North London Half Marathonbubbles and stevens

The final piece of race action this week was at Chantry Park in Ipswich, where a large pink bunny could be found chasing runners over a 5k course. ‘Beat the Bunny’ was a handicap format race: runners are set off at different times according to their previously achieved personal bests with the intention that everyone finishes at around the same time. The last runner to set off was the Easter Bunny who had a personal best time of 16:32. Eric Shaw and Karen Skene ran together and crossed the line 27:59 minutes after setting off and, more importantly, just before the bunny managed to hop home. John Bush also ran against the bunny, not managing to beat him home, but nevertheless running the 5k in a strong time of 31:04.

Shaw and Skene running from the bunny at Chantry ParkKaren and Eric