I really think so… this week the sun rose in the East and brought across with it some high temperatures and a distinctly Japanese theme. Whilst teens and adults alike scampered around hunting virtual Pokémon, the runners of East Anglia gathered on Sunday for the Ekiden relay, hosted by Ipswich Jaffa.

An Ekiden relay is a long distance running race originating in Japan and is an integral part of the Japanese school and collegiate athletic calendar. Here in the UK only one Ekiden is regularly hosted each year and is extremely popular with the running clubs of the local region. The relay legs, amounting to a marathon in total, split into a 7.2k leg, two 10k legs and three 5k legs. Great Bentley running club entered nine teams of 6 in the Ekiden, across four categories: male vets (40-49); male super vets (50+); female open; and mixed.

In the male vets GBRC placed 10th in the category with a time of 3:04:08 the team comprising Jon Tither; Malcolm Jarvis; Chris Warren; Paul Hollidge; Gary Parker; and Phil Presland. GBRC’s male super vets finished 8th in the category with a time of 3:15:36. The team was made up of Michael Simmons; Kevin James; Paul Carlisle; Eric Shaw; Rodger Alexander; and Graham Clarke.

The female open category had three GBRC teams competing: placing 8th with a time of 3:36:44 were Karen Skene; Jennifer Aylen; Lorna Sharp; Eileen Shadford; Anna Mills; and Katie Presland. Placing 13th in 4 hours dead were Caroline Searle; Leoni Lowe; Deborah Cubberley; Belinda Palmer-Barnes; Vicky Presland; and Sandra James. Finishing 15th in the category with a time of 4:29:08 were Sue Sorrell; Lyndsey Apps; Ruth Metcalfe; Sue Thomas; Alison Clarke; and Marion Simmons.

The mixed category included 72 teams overall, four of which were made up of GBRC members. With an improvement on 2015’s 5th, ‘Mixed 3’ finished 4th in the category with a time of 2:44:36. The team comprised: David Wright; Claire Groves; Adam Smith; Vicky Presland; Joe Alexander; and Russ Sharp. In 26th with a time of 3:27:45 were Davina Swindell; Kevin Stevens; Meera Rajoo-Oakley; Michael Oates; Patrick Reynolds; and Rebecca Conran. Placing 65th was a team comprising Luke Groves; John Ferdinand; Louise Upston; Lex Carlisle; Chris Warren; and Gary Hill with a time of 4:03:45. Completing the GBRC representation in the mixed category with a time of 4:26:42 were Anna Lyon; Harvey Lyon; Gemma Colling; Linzi Iddon; John Bush; and David Iddon.

The day was super hot, and with the twisty-turney course being on grass it was not a day to be chasing PBs, however it was a day of enjoyment and getting to know each other.

Gary at Ekiden[Gary Hill feeling the heat at Ekiden]

The GBRC young members also ran in the Junior race with Milly Presland winning the fastest girl under 11 with a time of 6:53 for 1.1 miles. Amie Apps, Megan Hughes and Caitlyn Hughes also ran in the girls under 11 placing 14th, 17th 19th respectively. The team finished 4th in their category.

For the under 11 boys, Charlie Sharp; Ollie Hill; Ben Lyons and Alex Hill ran as a team, finishing 6th in the category.

Ekidon Juniors[GBRC youth at Ekiden]

Completing a marathon all on his own was Paul Blackwell. Participating in the Samphire Hoe Challenge, Blackwell completed his marathon in 5 hours 14.

Earlier in the week the last of this year’s Mickey Edwards series was held. Known for its PB potential the Great Bentley 5k course did not disappoint with 24 out of the 39 runners improving on their expected times and five personal bests.

New to the club, and running the course for the first time this Wednesday were Jessamy Korotoga in a time of 30:28 and Adam Smith with a time of 17:46.

Personal bests were ran by: John Ferdinand, who with a time of 28:12 was over two minutes faster than his expected time; Louise Upston in 26:35, a minute quicker than previous; Alison Clarke who broke 26 minutes for the first time stopping the clock on 25:49; Leoni Harvey who ran the course in 26:35, over 50 seconds quicker than her expected time; and Claire Groves, who flew around the course in 21:17, making her the second fastest female for the series this year.

Improving on their expected times were (in the order runners started): Leoni Lowe (30:10); Barbara Law (29:08, fastest 5k this year); Mark Crittenden (27:30); Sue Thomas (26:11); Caroline Searle (25:55); Sinead Burgoyne (25:11); Luke Groves (24:43); Gary Hill (24:22, fastest 5k this year); Chusa Batis (23:24); Frank Gardiner (22:49);Brian Telford (22:37); Scott young (22:57); Charles Williams (22:47); Michael Oates (22:05); Derek Greenham (21:44); Graham Clarke (22:06, fastest 5k this year); Kevin James (21:51, fastest 5k this year); Simon Miller (21:06); Rob Thorpe (20:15); and Mark Jasper (18:08).

Just missing his expected time by just one second was Joe Alexander with a time of 16:43. Running strong times, all within two minutes of expectation were: Don Welsh (33:29); Sandra James (31:50); Claire Reynolds (30:39); Stuart Baggs (28:05); Jo Morris (28:00); David Iddon (27:05); Jack Wicks (26:25); Meera Rajoo-Oakley (22:02); Matthew Jones (21:47); Malcolm Jarvis (20:57); and Ray Baggs (19:36).

The overall results of the series will be announced at the Geoff Day Memorial 5K on Wednesday 20 July.

Several 10,000 metre races were held this weekend. At the Great Newham London Run 10k runners enjoyed a finish on the running track at the Olympic stadium. Sue Wright, Andulu Stephens and Mark Crittenden all sported their blue vests at the event. In a family affair, Stephens finished in a time of 47:13, running with brothers David and Paul; Wright crossed the line in 1:05:38, a strong performance after a long period of recurring injury; and Crittenden finished in 1:10:10.

Andy with brothers[Andulu Stephens (right) with his brothers David (left) and Paul (mid-left) and friend Richard Hann (mid-right) at the Great Newham London Run]

Crittenden had also ran on the previous day, taking on 10k at Mucky Races – an obstacle course race. Entrants had to battle with hills, lakes, monkey bars, walls and of course mud! Crittenden finished in 2:09:54.

Mark at Mucky Races[Crittenden had fun in the mud at Mucky Races 10k]

Also advertised as 10k was the race attended by Jamie Neill: the Castle Howard trail race in Yorkshire. Of course as is common with trail races the advertised distance was a little shy of the total mileage covered by competitors on the day. Neill completed his run in 52:20, placing 55th out of 290. Also at Castle Howard Bobby Neill and Flynn Neill ran in the childrens’ fun run.

parkrun hosted 11 GBRC members this week. Harwich was the location of much success with Rebecca Conran taking a minute off of her personal best for 5k, completing her first attempt at the course in 26:05 and crossing the line as the 4th lady. Katy O’Leary followed behind in 27:14, the 7th lady finisher; and Claudia Keitch achieved a personal best on the course with a time of 28:17. For the GBRC men Charles Keitch ran a course PB of 18:49, a time good enough for him to cross the line first. Malcolm Jarvis was the 5th finisher in 20:38.

charlie 001

[Charlie Keitch with finishers token 001]

Jack Wicks ran at Basildon parkrun in 26:52, coming home as the 44th male finisher.

At Colchester Castle the first GBRC member home was Richard Moor in 20:40. Andulu Stephens followed in 25:06; and John Bush completed his 5000 meters 30:08. For the ladies, Meera Rajoo-Oakley and Sue Sorrell crossed the line in 26:32 and 29:48 respectively.