This year’s Harwich Runners 5k series ladies title was won by Great Bentley Running Club’s Rita Page. Rita achieved an impressive improvement of almost 4 minutes for her time over the 5000 metre course from 39:18 ran on 3rd May 16 to 35:28 ran on 26th July, with each race over the 6 race series being an improvement on the last. Another GBRC lady faring well in the competition was Alison Clarke with an improvement of 45 seconds between the first and last races. Clarke finished 7th overall in the points table.
In the male points competition John Gwillim took the title. GBRC’s Stuart Baggs achieved a top 20 finish, with Kevin James right behind him in the points table.

The last race of the series contained 12 GBRC runners: Cherie Hipkins was first to cross the finish line in 4th position with a time of 26:28. Hipkins was followed by Kevin James (24th) 22:08; Rita Page (25th) 35:28; Alison Clarke (29th) 26:34; Frank Gardiner (33rd) 23:35; Sandra James (48th) 31:50; Richard Moor (53rd) 19:53; John Bush (58th) 28:17; Ray Baggs (62nd) 19:40; Malcolm Jarvis (67th) 21:04; Dave Nugent (98th) 42:48; and Stuart Baggs (99th) 44:47.

The first Harwich 5k series was held in 1992 and the format remains unchanged, with faster runners being set off behind slower runners. Beating one’s handicap thus results in a higher finishing position and a greater haul of points. Points are collected over the 6 race series.

Having had a ‘pleasing’ run at Harwich, Richard Moor then went on to run in the Ipswich 5k series on Thursday night. Finishing as the first male over 50 he received a bottle of wine. His time of 20:43 was also good enough to bag 8th position overall for the hilly course.

A headwind greeted the runners for the race three of four in the Clacton 5k series on Friday night. Representing the GBRC ladies, Linzi Iddon ran the course in 42:20. For the gents, Ray Baggs backed up his performance at Harwich with another sub 20 minute run, placing 3rd in 19:55 and bagging himself a bottle of red. There was also a youth race at Clacton on Friday: Linzi’s daughter Megan Hughes, under 10, finished in second place and the first girl across the line.


[Megan Hughes heading for a second place finish at Clacton]

Staying with the shorter end of the distances, the weekly representation at parkrun was as good as ever, with GBRC members at four UK parkruns and one across the Atlantic. For the second time this week the flat Harwich promenade drew the largest crowd with 8 blue vests toeing the start line. Richard Moor finished his fantastic week with a course personal best. In 19:57 Moor was the 7th male finisher that morning. Colin Farmer was hot on his heels in 21:39 and 12th position. Lee Clarkson also ran a course PB, and achieved his fastest 5k since January in 21:40. Patrick Reynolds chased him home with a time of 21:47. The 21st male home at Harwich this morning was Kevin James in 22:43, followed by the first GBRC lady at Harwich that morning Sandra James in 33:54. Clare Reynolds stopped the clock in 34:34 and Linzi Iddon improved on her time from the previous night, finishing in 41:54.

Fancying a change, John Bush travelled to Ipswich parkrun, finishing 153rd out of 229 runners that morning, Bush set a time of 31:22 over the grassy course of Chantry Park.

Also doing some parkrun tourism were Jack Wicks and Louise Upston at Southwick Country parkrun. Wicks finished 79th out of 230 runners in a time of 25:43. Upston was close behind in 27:38 and was the 21st lady home that morning.

Taking parkrun tourism to the extreme were Clare and John Ferdinand. On holiday in Washington DC they found Fletcher’s Cove parkrun. Clare finished the course in 31:59 and was the 9th lady to cross the line. John finished in 33:05 and was the 35th gent to cross the line. The day was humid and as described in Dee Coughlan’s run report for the event, the finishers were “blissfully trenched in sweat” – lovely!


[Clare and John Ferdinand at Fletcher’s Cove parkrun]

Finally we look to our ‘home’ parkrun, where 291 runners took on the hills of Colchester Castle. This week was the slightly more difficult ‘Orange’ route; however this did not put the blue vests off, three of whom ran personal best times for the course. Kevin Stevens bagged a PB in 21:04, the 33rd male finisher of the day. The only GBRC member to cross the line before him was Charlie Keitch who is in fine form and enjoyed an 11th position finish in 19:31. Also with a personal best was Rebecca Conran. In 25:45 not only was Conran’s time a PB for the course, but it was a 5k PB by 20 seconds. Finishing just ahead of Conran were Charles Williams in 24:26 and Scott Young in 24:45. Completing the GBRC parkrun representation for this week was Liz Jones who in a time of 30:00 was the 47th lady home and took a brilliant 43 seconds off of her previous time for the course.

The running this week really was at both ends of the spectrum with the only other races containing GBRC members being at least 26.2 miles.

Paul Blackwell celebrated the 50th anniversary of England’s world cup win in the only way he knows how: a marathon! Returning to a familiar course in Milton Keynes, Blackwell ran his laps of Caldecotte lake in some very humid conditions to take home this fantastic piece of bling and of course moving himself one step closer to the 100 marathon club.


[Blackwell’s medal for the England World Cup Winners 50th Anniversary Marathon]

For those not happy with 26.2 miles, the Grim Reaper event offers the challenge of 40, 70 or 100 miles over a 24 hour period. Gemma Colling took on the 40 mile challenge, finishing 4 laps of 10 miles in a time of 12:18:40 and placing 10th. Colling actually had a goal of running 50 miles and achieved this on the day.

[Gemma heading to the finish after 50 miles]

gemma finishing