By Matthew Jones
While this weekend’s glorious summer-like weather may not have made for ideal racing conditions, there was plenty of race action for the runners of Great Bentley Running Club. But this week’s race report starts on Tuesday when an impressive sixteen Great Bentley runners travelled to Harwich for the first of the annual Harwich Runners 5k series handicap races.
Good weather conditions and a flat route made for some great times, with the following runners taking part: Ray Baggs (19:43), Malcolm Jarvis (21:02), Graham Clarke (22:13), Kevin James (22:32), Brian Telford (23:42), Frank Gardiner (24:33), Gary Hill (24:38), Victoria Law (27:23), Cherie Hipkins (28:06), John Bush (28:32), Stuart Baggs (29:17), Louise Reeve (30:12), Chris Hayes (30:45), Sandra James (31:49, silver standard), Rita Page (39:19), Dave Nugent (40:39). The next event in the series takes place on 24th May.
On Saturday, as always, many Bentley runners participated in parkrun events. At Colchester Castle parkrun David Wright was the first Bentley runner home and third finisher overall in an impressive 18:33. Also running were Colin Farmer (21:40, bronze standard), Matt Jones (22:23), Meera Rajoo-Oakley (22:35), Andy Stephens (24:41), Katy O’Leary (25:18), Anna Mills (25:19), Scott Young (26:18), Paul Hollidge (26:18), Rebecca Conran (30:16, PB), Belinda Palmer-Barnes (34:14), Luke Groves (34:14) and Ruth Metcalfe (41:35).
Over at Harwich parkrun Malcolm Jarvis went for his second Harwich 5k of the week, knocking a second off of his course PB to finish in 20:36 and 11th position overall. Matt Knowles followed seven seconds later in 12th position. Jack Wicks ran the route for the first time in 24:47. Lorna Sharp finished in 25:03, fifth female finisher and first in her age category. All of this after cycling 16 miles to get to the start line! David Iddon and Megan Hughes (both 30:12), Sue Wright (30:13) and Linzi Iddon and daughter Caitlyn (39:27 and 39:26 respectively), made up the Bentley representation. Meanwhile Louise Upston ran Basildon parkrun in 31:06. Also at 9 o’clock on Saturday, over on Mersea Island Jamie Beadle took on the Island Races Sprint Duathlon. The event consisted of a 5k run, 20k cycle and then another 5k run. Jamie completed the event in 1:27, finishing in 7th place overall.
Sunday was forecast to be like a summer’s day, and for once the forecasters were right. Not ideal running conditions, but it didn’t deter our many runners who were action right across the county. Following on from her 5k PB on Saturday, Rebecca Conran took on the Bluebell 5 mile race. The event was an undulating off-road run through the Little Haven Nature Reserve near Thundersley. The two lap route took runners through ancient woodland and hay meadows. Conran finished in 54:08, earning her a place in this year’s club championships.
Closer to home twenty-one Great Bentley runners took part in the Colchester 10k. Flat and fast, the event is always popular with local runners, especially since most will have booked their places before they knew what the weather was going to be like.
First home was Simon Miller with a chip time of 45:07. He was followed by Graham Clarke (47:02), Andy Fuller (48:39), Jennifer Aylen (50:48), Eric Shaw (52:59), Karen Skene (53:00), Gary Hill (53:16), Claire Groves (53:55), Sue Wright (54:19), Frank Gardiner (54:19), Anthea Colsell (54:56), Darren Willey (54:57), Deborah Cubberley (57:46, bronze standard), Paul Hollidge (57:46), Hien Hoang (60:19), Luke Groves (60:46), Jack Wicks (62:13), Louise Upston (her first ever race, 62:14), Mark Crittenden (64:19), John Bush (65:08), Katy O’Leary (76:37) and John Ferdinand (77:10).
Sunday was also the day of the Alton Water Run event. The event hosted three races – a 10k, a 5k and a 2k fun run. Emma Town took on the 10k, which she described as ‘hot hot hot… & hilly’. Despite this she crossed the finish line in 51:56. Leoni Harvey ran her first race in seven months when she took on the 5k and finished in 29:49. Darian Harvey completed the 2k in 10:20. Also running a 2k on Sunday was Harrison Leek, who was 6th finisher out of a field of 122 at Ipswich junior parkrun, finishing in a speedy 8:40.
Now onto the the big one. Five Great Bentley runners took on the hills of the notoriously challenging Halstead Marathon in some unsuitably hot weather. Tom Fowler and Ben Ficken ran together and finished in a very impressive 3:50:04 and 3:50:03 respectively. Richard Bryant wasn’t far behind in 4:05:15. Also running were Chusa Fructuoso and Lee Clarkson, those two do love a challenge. Chusa finished in 4:23:15 and was the 22nd female out of a total of 116. As an added bonus, Chusa’s impressive performance earned her a silver medal for the Essex Championships. Lee finished in 5:22:38, remarking ‘too hot, too hilly… …pleased to have finished it’.
That concludes this week’s race report. The coming week’s racing is sure to be eventful with round 2 of Rodger’s trail runs taking place at Alton Water on Sunday. Best of luck to all racing in the coming week.