Half marathons seemed to be the order of the weekend with Great Bentley Running Club members appearing at the Maldon half, the Dublin half, the Cheltenham half, The Milton Keynes half, the Ealing half and the Disneyland Paris half. There were also appearances by club members at the Run for Wildlife trail runs, the Felixstowe 10 mile and of course the usual suspects were in action at parkruns on Saturday morning and junior parkrun on Sunday. Finally the determination of Paul Blackwell to enter the 100 marathon club as soon as possible bubbled up again this week with his completion of 4 marathons over the seven days.
The Run for Wildlife started and ended at the Pointer in Arlesford. There were two options available, 4.5 miles or 14 miles. Linzi Iddon represented the club on the 4.5 mile course, bravely navigating on her own and completing the course in just over a hour. Meanwhile, Eric Shaw and Toni Wilson helped each other navigate the 14 mile option and managed not to get lost once.
Sunday morning was also Junior parkrun day. More regular parkrunners Megan Hughes, Caitlyn Hughes and Chloe Iddon were joined by first-timers Mia Iddon and Thomas Colsell.
The Felixstowe 10 mile saw the last of Matthew Jones’ 2015 personal records to fall. A tricky mile 7 looked like it might scupper the personal best attempt, however a speedy last two miles saw him cross the line in 1:15:43. Ruth Metcalfe was also taking on the 10 miles along the coast, completing the course in 2:09:46 and taking home a souvenir blister, ouch!
Four marathons for Paul Blackwell this week: the Lucky Dip in Shorne Woods, Kent was a way for the Saxon, Vikings and Normans team to get rid of spare medals and luckily Blackwell pulled one he had not already received out of the bag at the end. The following day Blackwell took on the Tolkein run, again an SVN event, this time down in Samphire Hoe. A medal depicting the last homely house must have been a welcome sight after the 7 laps of the course required to make up the marathon distance. Then on to Saturday when Blackwell ran the 40th anniversary of the Rocky Film marathon not once but twice that day! This was Blackwell’s first attempt at a double day and although tough he said he enjoyed it. His haul of bling grows again!
Five parkruns saw were visited by blue vests this week. Trotting up the familiar Colchester Castle park hill and clocking strong steady runs were Charles Keitch (19:47); Robert Thorpe (20:35); and Natalie Stewart (26:24). Recovering from his ultra-marathon exploits in India was Andulu Stephens who, accompanied by Anna Mills finished the 5000m course in 26:06. Mills finished just ahead in 25:58. Rounding off the GBRC crew at Colchester was Scott Young who with a time of 23:13, once again ran a fastest time of 2016.
Chelmsford Central was visited for the first time by Claire Groves, Luke Groves and their dog Meatball. Claire led the way in a time of 22:56 whilst Luke, with Meatball in tow crossed the line in 29:41.
Also running a course for the first time was Timothy Ballard who debuted at the Harwich course with a time of 23:25. Kevin James, Deborah Cubberley and Paul Hollidge joined Ballard at Harwich, stopping the clock in 23:16, 27:34 and 27:35 respectively.
Further afield was Louise Upton who laid down a strong run at Basildon with a time of 29:03.
And even further afield at Gorleston Cliffs was Shawn Leek, who ran their course for the first time in 25:11.
On to the weekend’s array of half marathons! First up was the Dublin half on Saturday morning, where Meera Rajoo-Oakley made the most of having been forced out to the Emerald Isle for work. A very wet morning made conditions a little unpleasant and Rajoo-Oakley was pleased to achieve a time of 1:40:24, being the 115th lady to cross the line.
Closer to home Was the Maldon half, where Rebecca Conran was making her debut over the distance. Finishing in 2:03:55 Conran was the 174th finisher out of 306.
The Ealing half is a popular one, heralded as one of the best in the country. Helene Tyler was running there and finished in 2:33:15.
Meanwhile Simon Miller was running the Milton Keynes half, a race put on in aid of NSPCC. A strong result of 1:34:48 had Miller recommending the race for the future despite a tricky hill.
After his success at the Great North Run, Luke Groves was taking a little easier around the Cheltenham half, even taking the time to record some facebook live videos. His time of 2:09:15 however is still one of his fastest, and tells of his improvement over the past year.
Trying something a little different were Janine Simpson and Sam Godden. This weekend saw the inaugural Disneyland Paris half marathon with accompanying 5k. The ladies ran in both and by the look of it had an extremely fun time! Simpson ran her 5k dressed as Snow White whilst Godden ran as Minnie Mouse.