PB’s, Standards, Near Misses And The Big 100

In this week’s race report it is peak autumn racing season. That means PB’s, standards and some near misses over the ten mile, half marathon and marathon distances. All of these longer distance races meant that we had lower than usual parkrun representation, although we did provide a few tourists. Also this week Paul Blackwell ran some more marathons.

With so many races on Sunday there wasn’t much parkrunning this week from Bentley runners. Just six club members took on the hills of Castle Park at Colchester Castle parkrun. Despite hard workouts on Thursday and Friday, Charlie Keitch still managed to dip under 20 minutes when he finished in 19:53. Lee Clarkson treated the 5k as a tempo run for his 10 miler at Tiptree the following day, finishing in 22:10.

Jamie Beadle (22:38) returned to Castle Park after a four month absence. Scott Young was happy with his time of 23:22. Andy Stephens, recently returned from his extreme marathoning adventures, finished in 22:36. Andy remarked ‘Legs slowly getting back to normal!‘ Darren Willey (26:34) completed the Bentley representation.

Karen Skene ran Ipswich parkrun for the first time in nearly three years, finishing in 28:25. Simon Miller undertook a little parkrun tourism and completed Pontypridd parkrun in 21:01. Surprisingly there wasn’t a single Bentley runner at Harwich parkrun this week. That was partly because Harwich regular Malcolm Jarvis was doing a spot of tourism and ran Hatfield Forest parkrun. Despite having to dodge the cow pats, which Malcolm casually dismissed as ‘cross country training’, he still managed to dip under 21 minutes, finishing in 20:56.

Also partaking in some parkrun tourism this weekend was Matt Jones who ran Brandon Country Park parkrun. Another good cross country training course consisting of woodland sections and uneven trails. The tree cover meant GPS watches were of little use for pacing and so Matt had to run by feel and was very happy with his time of 21:30.

The weather on Sunday made for truly perfect running conditions. A cool, dry pleasant October morning saw Bentley runners toeing the line at the Tiptree 10 mile race and the Peterborough and Royal Parks Foundation half marathons. Starting in Tiptree, Lee Clarkson continued his recent run of good form with yet another PB. Lee came in under his 1:12 target and crossed the line in 1:11:37, just 97 seconds away from that bronze standard.

Liz Jones ran her first 10 miler at Tiptree, smashing her 1:45 goal to finish in 1:41:29. Alison Clarke was happy with her time, finishing in a respectable 1:37:45. Ruth Metcalfe (2:16:52) managed to develop blisters on eight toes over the course of the ten miles, ouch! Lynsey Apps (1:40:26), Antoinette Wilson (1:27:36) and Charles Williams (1:20:15) all put in solid performances.

Bentley Runners in Peterborough

Bentley Runners in Peterborough

Also on Sunday Peterborough hosted its annual half marathon, the Perkins Great Eastern Run. This year the flat and fast course combined with perfect weather provided a great opportunity for Bentley runners to attempt their PB’s and standards. One of those runners was Debs Cubberly, who was hoping for her first sub-2 hour half marathon after coming so close at Pleshey the week before. Debs achieved her goal, finishing in 1:57:43.

Meera Rajoo-Oakley was hoping to earn her gold standard by finishing in or under 1:38:00. Meera had missed out by just 16 seconds at the Colchester Half back in March. But unfortunately it wasn’t to be and Meera missed out by 43 seconds this time, finishing in 1:38:43. Keep trying Meera, remember it is those near misses that make the successes so sweet. Louise Upston completed her first half marathon at Peterborough, accompanied by Jack Wicks. Both crossed the line very happy with a chip time of 2:18:33.

Paul Hollidge had been hoping to finish in 1:34:00 or under to earn his silver standard. But recent niggles made him adjust his target to a 1:44 – 1:47 finish time. Paul was happy with his time of 1:47:44. Frank Gardiner ran his fastest half marathon of the year and earned himself a silver standard to boot, when he finished in a very impressive 1:46:56. This time also enters the club championships, replacing Frank’s time from the Colchester Half Marathon earlier in the year.

Meanwhile, two other Great Bentley runners were taking part in another half marathon. Luke and Claire Groves ran the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon in central London. Luke achieved a PB by a massive 7 minutes and completed his quest to run a sub-2 hour half marathon, crossing the line in 1:58:55. Claire finished in 1:45:41, achieving both a PB as well as a silver standard.

Luke and Claire Groves at the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon

Luke and Claire Groves at the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon

Paul Blackwell has been working hard for many months towards that 100 Marathon Club membership that he so desires. With all of his races booked the date was set. If everything went to plan he would run his 100th marathon on 23rd October and members of the 100 club would be there to congratulate him and help him celebrate with some cake.

But as is so often the case in our chosen pastime, things didn’t go to plan. In Paul’s case, I’m happy to report, things went better than planned. Paul saw the opportunity to complete some unplanned midweek marathons. The result of this decision was that when Paul crossed the finish line at the It’s A Numbers Game Day 1 marathon on Saturday, he had actually, rather quietly, completed his 100th marathon.

A truly great achievement and Paul now joins Keith Scrivener in that small group of Great Bentley runners who have run 100 marathons. But the question we’re all asking is what next? After all these months of working his way to that 100th marathon, what will Paul do now? In the short term the answer appears to be business as usual. On Sunday Paul completed marathon number 101, and his 100th celebrations (including the pre-celebration marathon) on the 23rd are still scheduled to go ahead.

Paul wasn’t the only Bentley runner participating in a marathon this weekend. Fellow experienced marathoner Janine Simpson ran the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon on Sunday. The picturesque race route allows runners to take in the sights of York and its surrounding scenic country lanes. Janine completed the marathon in 4:22:54 and earned herself a silver standard in the process.