It was the turn of Colchester to host a fantastic half marathon this week. Of course, not quite as good as the Great Bentley half, but still pretty fab; and there were some pretty fab performances from the ladies and gents in blue vests too!

A whopping 46 members of the club were out on the course, include five gents who gave their time to act as pace makers, helping others achieve their goals.

It was happy faces all round when it came to the medal too. In the shape of Colchester’s famous “Jumbo” water tower (the second largest in the country at the time it was built).

[Left: Marion Simmons with her medal; Right: Frank Gardiner and Paul Davison at the finish]

Members of the club then celebrated with a jumbo meal. And for one member it was a little too much as he fell asleep over his meal! Wixy: you deserved that nap – 13.1 miles is a long way!


[Jack Wix falls asleep; Lousie Upston, Luke Groves and John Ferdinand are full of beans though!]

So getting to the details, and as always ladies first:

Samantha Godden and Anna Mills ran a close race, stopping the clock on 1:37:04 and 1:37:50 respectively. For Mills that time is a personal best by over three minutes.
Next across the line was the formidable Eileen Shadford in 1:45:04: 6th in her age category and the fastest she has covered the distance in over a year.
Jennifer Aylen crossed the line in 1:47:13; she was followed by Tracey Bennie in 1:48:07.
After several months of injury, Chusa Bautista Fructuoso celebrated having full use of her legs with a time of 1:50:05.
The ladies in blue vests then started crossing the line in quick sucession: Rachel Giles in 1:58:07; Laura Green in 1:58: 26; Karen Skene in 1:58:42 (just one week after running the Essex 20!); and Deborah Cubberley in 1:59:16 (also having ran the Essex 20 the previous week) which is her second fastest time for the 13.1 mile distance.
Anthea Colsell finished in 2:04:26 just ahead of Marion Simmons who, having previously declared she would never again run a half marathon, finished the distance in 2:04:49: only 10 seconds shy of her previous time for the course.
Katy O’Leary stopped the clock 2:05:00 dead to be followed home by Gemma Collings in 2:09:54 and Hien Hoang in 2:09:28.
Rebecca Conran, having ran the Thorpe Park half only two weeks previously, completed the course in 2:15:29, with Sarah Greenham hot in her heels with a time of 2:15:38.
Gemma Camp and Sinead Burgoyne ran together, finishing in 2:16:52.
Louise Upston finished in 2:22:01 in what was her second time running the half marathon distance. Clare Ferdinand finished in 2:32:12; Vicki Parker in 2:51:29; and completing the representation from GBRC ladies was Liz Jones, who ran with friends in 3:11:32.

And now for the GBRC gents:

10th in his age category and 36th overall was Christopher Warren in 1:22:23. He was followed home by new-to-the-club Jake Darkins with a 10-minutes-faster-than-last-year time of 1:29:40.
7th in his age category was GBRC’s Ironman in training Michael Simmons in 1:31:08; and hot in his heels was Gary Parker who crossed the line in 1:31:28.
Colin Farmer ran a personal best time of 1:33:24 and was 10 in his age category; and Charlie Keitch found some unexpected speed with a time of 1:33:20 after a long period of injury. Also with a personal best run was Paul Hollidge in 1:33:59. Paul Davison followed in 1:35:19.
Andy Stephens “surprised himself” with a time of 1:41:09. Of no surprise was a strong run form Richard Bryant who stopped the clock on 1:41:45.
Steven Black took a break from healing other people’s legs to test his own, finishing in a time of 1:45:38. He was followed by Jamie Neill who achieved a time of 1:48:45.
Continuing his speedy season is Frank Gardiner with a time of 1:56:30. Brian Telford followed Frank to the finish line with a time of 1:58:37.
Luke Groves ran a personal best time of 1:58:16, having ran his second fastest time at the Colchester Castle parkrun the day before.
Gary Hill was the next GBRC gent home in a time of 2:01:16. He was chased in by Kevin Stevens who stopped the clock on 2:05:44.
Jack Wicks had ran the course with Hien Hoang, running a personal best time of 2:09:59, although a little bitter sweet as failure to beat Luke’s time means he owes Luke a curry.
John Bush finished in 2:31:47, finding the course hard this year; and completing the GBRC line-up was John Ferdinand with his first attempt at the distance. Ferdinand crossed the line with Wife Clare in 2:32:12.

Also out on the course, not in Bentley blue but in pacer vest green were Benjamin Ficken (1:28:28); Kevin James (2:09:37); Ryan Day (1:34:28); Lee Clarkson (1:54:42); and Patrick Reynolds (1:39:49).

Also taking on the half marathon distance was Helene Tyler at the Silverstone Half Marathon. The course travels the Silverstone race track and has many twists and turns to enjoy. Tyler finished in 2:40:47.

Milly Presland was out on Saturday representing Essex at the Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships. Running in the under 13 girls category, Presland placed 141st out of 305 runners.


[Milly Presland in her red Essex vest at the Inter-Counties Cross Country]

Sunday also saw the running of junior parkrun with nine GBRC juniors running the 2000 course at Colchester. Harrison Leek was the second finisher that day in a time of 8:06. He was followed by Megan Hughes who had a personal best run of 10:04.
Bobby Neill tried junior parkrun for the first time and stopped the clock in 10:56. He was followed by Flynn Neill, also a first time run, in 11:20.
Caitlyn Hughes finished next for the club in 12:26 with Rufus Keitch not far behind in 13:54.
Chloe Iddon ran a personal best time of 15:29 followed by Yasmin Leek, who was close to best with 16:28. Completing the line-up for the GBRC juniors was Mia Iddon in 20:47, which was her second fastest time over the distance.

At parkrun on Saturday were 21 club members. Robert Thorpe took on York parkrun, finishing in 20:34. Also exploring out of the area was Phil Presland at Braunstone parkrun with a time of 22:01.

Cherie Hipkins is becoming a regular at Harwich, completing the 5000m in 25:20, her second fastest time for the course; and Paul Connell took on Mersea Island for the first time with a time of 20:45.

There were eight members of the club at Clacton Seafront this week: Ray Baggs bagged a personal best with a time of 19:37; as did Richard Moor in a time of 20:09. Lee Clarkson ran his second fastest time on the course of 20:52; and Matthew Jones followed him home in a personal best of 21:38.
Kevin James finished in 23:03; whilst Neil Robbins was taking on the course for the first time in 25:34. Alison Clarke and Claire Reynolds represented the GBRC ladies with finishing times of 29:02 and 31:30 respectively.

And finally, it was battle of the buggies at Colchester Castle. Charlie Keitch ran his fastest time with Cassius in his buggy, finishing in 22:00. Although not the fastest buggy on that day, Keitch is targeting the buggy record for the course this summer.
Finishing ahead of Keitch was Malcolm Jarvis in a time of 21:06; whereas the first man after Keitch was Tim Ballard who remarkably achieved a personal best time after arriving at the park late. Ballard finished in 23:01.
Andy Stephens warmed up for the following day with a run of 23:34; as did Luke Groves who ran his second fastest time for the course: 25:33.
For the ladies, Meera Rajoo-Oakley ran her first Colchester Castle parkrun of 2017. Finishing in 22:04 Rajoo-Oakley had her fastest run on the course since March 2016. Claudia Keitch finished in 28:03 just ahead of Sue Sorrell, who was also at Colchester Castle for the first time this year. Sorrell finished in 29:45. Completing the ladies representation at parkrun this week was Ruth Metcalfe who crossed the line in 38:12.