Santa Claus is Coming to Town

In this week’s race report it is a cross country weekend. No Great Bentley Running Club members reporting being in any other races this Sunday. Matt Knowles will provide a detailed report of the cross country action, so this race report will just focus on Saturday, which was still full of Great Bentley running.

December is now upon us and with that the Christmas running events have started. The first Christmas event to host Bentley runners this festive season was the Inflatable 5k Santa Run in Ipswich. Three Bentley runners took on the untimed 5k course and its ten large inflatable obstacles. Linzi Iddon, Mark Crittenden and Ben Ficken all donned their finest Santa costumes and all had a thoroughly good time. Linzi and Mark completed the course together, helping each other out with some of the more challenging obstacles. Linzi said she will definitely be back next year, but she would go out in one of the earlier waves of runners, as she and Mark had to spend a lot of their time on the course queueing to get to obstacles.


Mark takes on the 'Leap of Faith' at the Inflatable Santa 5k Run in Ipswich

Mark takes on the ‘Leap of Faith’ at the Inflatable 5k Santa Run in Ipswich


Also running on Saturday was Paul Blackwell. Paul decided to warm up for Sunday’s cross country race the only way he knows – he spent Saturday running a marathon. Paul ran the Dymchurch marathon in Kent. The route consisted of five times up and down a wide sea wall. The flat route (less than 50′ elevation gain over the entire 26.2 miles), with its sea views had the potential to be a pleasant experience (if a marathon can be such a thing). However, the December temperatures and blustery conditions could have made for a rather gruelling event. But Paul isn’t a novice when it comes to marathon running, and he wouldn’t let a little thing like the weather get in the way of his passion for running marathons. Another marathon successfully completed, and Paul was ready to tackle all the mud that cross country could throw at him.

Paul Blackwell's medal from the Dymchurch Marathon

Paul Blackwell’s medal from the Dymchurch Marathon

Saturday also saw Bentley runners participate in parkruns across the country. A total of five parkrun courses played host to Bentley runners this weekend. At Clacton Seafront parkrun there appears to have been quite some competition, with four Bentley runners appearing in first ten finishers. It was also a day for course PBs. First home for Bentley, and second finisher overall, was Dave Goldsmith in a course PB of 20:01. Not far behind was Robert Thorpe, also with a course PB, who finished in fifth position with a time of 20:47. Next home was Patrick Reynolds in ninth place with a course PB of 21:02. Patrick was very closely followed by Clacton Seafront first timer Colin Farmer, tenth position, 21:04.

Staying at Clacton Seafront parkrun, Rebecca Conran also ran a course PB, finishing in 27:01. Brian Telford kept up his remarkable course PB-streak, five events run and each a little faster than the last. Kevin James (23:06) and Sandra James (35:09) made up the Bentley representation at Clacton. A little further along the coast at Harwich parkrun, Antoinette Wilson was the sole Great Bentley Running club representative. She finished the coastal course in 24:18, just two seconds outside her course PB.

Jack Wicks did some parkrun tourism this weekend, running Cambridge parkrun. He described the event as ‘Ok course but quite narrow and lots of people‘. Jack ran 24:45 and felt he may have been on for a PB if the first kilometre hadn’t been so congested. Over at Colchester Castle parkrun, Andy Stephens ran a course PB for the second consecutive week, finishing in 21:39, 10 seconds faster than the week before. Andy said this week’s time was just 8 seconds slower than his overall 5k PB. Also running at Colchester Castle were Leoni Harvey and Debs Cubberley, who ran together, finishing a second apart in 28:13 and 28:14 respectively. Richard Moore was the fist Bentley finisher at the event, crossing the line in 20:31 and 19th position. Meera Rajoo-Oakley completed the Bentley representation. Meera finished in 22:39, saving herself for her Harwich XC the following day.

Matt and Liz Jones were away on the Sussex coast this weekend and they took to Hove Promenade parkrun in search of PBs. Consisting of two laps of the wide tarmac promenade, the course is very flat and (wind permitting) fast. Neither were successful in their bids, but Liz did run her second fastest 5k to date, finishing in 27:38. Matt crossed the line in 21:27, one second slower than he ran at Kesgrave the weekend before, and exactly the same time as he ran at Chelmsford Central parkrun two weeks before that. They also got to race a celebrity at the parkrun, as Liz finished two seconds ahead of comedian Joe Wilkinson.


Racing with the stars – Matt Jones with comedian Joe Wilkinson at Hove Promenade parkrun

That concludes this week’s running report. Next weekend it is cross country time again! Happy training and good luck to all of those running on Saturday.