Saturday morning started crisp and cold and with a large number of the club heading in to Colchester to volunteer at Colchester Castle parkrun. Ben Ficken, with the help of Linzi Iddon has arranged for the club to ‘takeover’, and the run was well and truly a Bentley-blue event with GBRC’s Meera Rajoo-Oakley also happening to be the run director on duty that morning.

20 GBRC members ran (most as pacers trying to run a specific time to help others) and 37 members volunteered, filling roles such as timekeeping, marshaling and scanning finishing bar codes.

Those that ran as pacers should be very proud as 19% of the field on Saturday achieved personal bests. First home to the bandstand was Benjamin Ficken, who finished in 20:50 as the 21 minute pacer. He was followed by Paul Connell who with a time of 20:56 ran a personal best for the Colchester Castle course. Rich Moor was close behind in 21:31 and Anna Mills stopped the clock in 22:42 as the first GBRC lady across the line. Lee Clarkson finished in 23:55 (was pacing for 24 minutes), followed by Scott Young who crossed the line in 24:33 and Andy Stephens in 25:40. Jack Wicks paced for 28 minutes and finished in 28:04, which was also a personal best time for the course. Deborah Cubberley finished in 29:16 after letting her 29 minute paced group finish ahead of her and Luke Groves paced the 30 minute group, finishing in 29:40. Alison Clarke also finished just ahead of her pace time in 31:53.Two personal best runs followed with John Ferdinand finishing in 32:10 and Clare Ferdinand in 32:46. Next came Megan Hughes who had ran with Helene Tyler; Hughes, finishing in 32:47, was second out of four girls in the under 11 category. Tyler finished in 33:00. Louise Upston stopped the clock in 34:50 (pacing for 35 minutes) and finishing in quick succession were Ruth Metcalfe and Nicola Thornton who crossed in 37:38 and 37:41 respectively. Finally, Linzi Iddon volunteered as tail runner and finished in 50:34.

[Left: Ben Ficken pacing for 21 mins; Right Jack Wicks on his way to a PB time for the course]

At Clacton Seafront parkrun there was one personal best and three first timers on the course. Patrick Reynolds was the proud owner of that personal best, finishing in 21:11 and bagging a top 10 finish. Also finishing within the top 10 was David Goldsmith in a time of 20:37, just a few seconds from his best. On the Clacton course for the first time were Matthew Jones, Liz Jones and Scott Crawley who finished in 21:41; 28:50 and 22:16 respectively.

On Sunday Luke Groves was a lucky participant at the Adnams 10k in Southwold. The 10k is in its 8th year and sells out: its beer station and post run goody bag succeeding to attract runners from far and wide. Groves ran a personal best, one of many in 2016, finishing in a time of 52:43. He celebrated with a trip to the Adnams shop to pick up some after run refreshment.

[Right: the runners’ wall, listing all of the entrants at the Adnams 10k; Left: Luke Groves with his medal and post run refreshment]

Also running the 10,000 meter distance on Sunday 20 November were John Bush, Lee Clarkson, Ryan Day and Katy O’leary. Ryan Day placed 20th with a time of 37:50, well inside his goal time of 40 minutes. Lee Clarkson ran his second best 10k ever, stopping the clock in 43:35. Back running after a break is John Bush who crossed the line in 1:09:27. The only female representation for the club came from Katy O’Leary who completed the course in 50:45.

The blue vests also invaded Suffolk’s ancient market town of Hadleigh, taking on the Hadleigh 5 and 10 mile races. Conditions were described as tough, the course being hilly and the November weather providing some water obstacles on the course.

GBRC’s only representation in the 5 mile came from Charlie Keitch who had swapped from the 10 mile following an injury. Showing no signs of a sore knee, Keitch’s competitive streak came to the fore and he finished in 12th with a time of 35:04.

In the 10 mile event Paul Davison bagged a personal best by four minutes with a time of 1:07:56. Also with a personal best was Matthew Jones in a time of 1:15:28. Sarah Fletcher followed with a time of 1:21:09, having lost time to having to the puddles. Rounding off the GBRC runners were Deborah Cubberley and Paul Hollidge who finished in 1:33:07, 10 minutes faster than Cubberley’s time from last year.