Reporter: Matt Jones

This weekend’s action started as so many do with Saturday’s parkruns. Colchester Castle parkrun celebrated its third birthday. To mark the occasion the normal route was run in reverse. A total of 366 runners took park, the second highest attendance to date. Before the run the annual presentations were awarded, and Great Bentley Running Club’s Meera Rajoo-Oakley picked up her award for finishing 1st in the female points table. Great work Meera!

First home for Great Bentley was Ben Ficken (20:37), who incidentally was also the first Bentley runner home in that inaugural event three years ago. Ben was very closely followed by David Burrows (20:45). David was followed by Scott Young (24:03), Charles Williams (24:08), Frank Gardiner (26:32) and Andy Stephens (28:51). Claudia Keitch (29:00) was first Bentley female finisher. Luke Groves knocked nearly a minute and a half off of his course PB, finishing in 29:21. Sue Sorrell (31:06) and John Ferdinand (37:02, PB) completed the Bentley representation.


John on another PB runJohnF

Over at Harwich parkrun Richard Moor was the first Bentley finisher in 21:30. Not far behind him was Malcolm Jarvis (21:51). Antoinette Wilson was the first Bentley woman to finish in 25:16 and Helene Tyler achieved a course PB of 30:02.

The first of Rodger’s trail runs for the year took place on Sunday morning. A total of 31 runners took part. The trail was a 5 miles long starting from the Stour estuary nature reserve. The route went through the woods and then alongside the estuary, which was very tranquil on that beautiful spring morning. The route then headed across the fields and past Grayson Perry’s gingerbread house. But as idyllic as it sounds, tree roots, mud and long grass kept our runners on their toes.

Despite getting lost, Charlie Keitch managed to finish the run in first position in the men’s table. Second place in that table was jointly claimed by Paul Carlisle and Joe Alexander. Running with Paul and Joe was Meera Rajoo-Oakley, who secured first place in the ladies’ table. She was followed by Vicky Presland and joint third placed ladies Trish Stacey and Toni Wilson.

Sunday also saw two Bentley runners take on the Wymondham 20. Ben Ficken was in action for the second day in a row and finished in 33rd place out of a field of 293 with a time of 2:21:28. Tom Fowler also put in an impressive performance, finishing in 2:35:44, a PB by four minutes and achieving a bronze standard.

The beautiful spring weather this weekend made for perfect road racing conditions. But for some Bentley runners the allure of off road spring mud proved too hard to resist. One such runner was Paul Blackwell. Paul only ran one marathon this weekend, but he didn’t pick an easy one. He took on the hilly and muddy Queen Elizabeth Spring Marafun – his 62nd marathon.

Chusa Batis and Lee Clarkson also had more than their fair share of mud and hills as they took on the notorious Orion 15. A 15 mile cross country race through the hills of Epping Forest. Chusa was first to finish in 2:54:50 and Lee followed in 3:08:09, describing the course as the toughest he’s ever run.

Across the channel Emma Town ran the Paris Marathon in just over 4 hours, despite the heat. Emma described it thus: “fab scenery, great crowds, water stations were brilliant with fresh/dried fruit stalls – thoroughly recommend it!!”

That concludes this week’s race report. Next weekend is sure to be an action-packed weekend for Great Bentley runners with several of you running the Manchester Marathon. Good luck to all taking part and to all racing next weekend. Until then, happy training!