Reporter: Rebecca Conran

The Easter weekend is one that usually sees people sitting about eating mountains of chocolate, but not the boys and girls in blue! Or if they did it, it was after a well earned race. We kick off this race report on Good Friday in Sudbury with their 5 mile race hosted by Sudbury Joggers. Club champs were to be had and the first member home was David Wright who was seconds off a PB from “a long long time ago”. Wright finished in 13th place with a time of 29:49 and was first to gain a club champ on the hard course. Continuing her recent success, Eileen Shadford was second in her age group and 38:54 saw her gain another club champ. The ladies were strong and Karen Skene was delighted with her time of 40:45 which also saw her achieve a club champ. Gemma Colling was the next blue vest across the finish line in 42:44 with Eric Shaw following in 43:02, and like his daughter also gained a club champ. 47:06 was the time on the clock when Sue Sorrell stormed through the finish line which gained her a silver performance standard. Hot on her heels was Belinda Palmer-Barnes at 47:09 and two fine gents Luke Groves and John Bush finished the Bentley representation at 49:54 and 51:21 respectively.

[The blue-vests at the Good Friday 5-mile at Sudbury]
Luke Groves was celebrating his 50th parkrun Saturday morning and plenty came out to join in the fun at Colchester Castle parkrun. Tim Ballard finished 10th place with a PB of 19:29 and very closely followed by Paul Davison coming in at 19:31, knocking 50 seconds off his course PB. Richard Moor zoomed through at 20:24 followed by Milly Presland who was first lady home and achieved a PB in the process stopping the clock at 20:38. Another Presland was next across the line but with frustration as Phil was just one second outside his parkrun PB. Charles Keitch and Andy Stephens followed in 22:18 and 22:57. Next came the man celebrating his big 5-0 with Groves achieving a course PB coming ever so close to the 25 min mark with a time of 25:01. The 25 minute mark was a popular time for the blue vests with a flurry coming through including James McCullagh 25:18, Frank Gardiner 25:21, Katie Presland 25:28, Vicky Presland 25:31, Marion Simmons 25:52 and Meera Rajoo-Oakley in 25:54, with the latter two both wearing their ‘go faster’ shorts which Simmons hopes see her a 10K PB soon. Next we have dynamic duo Debs Cubberley 27:18 and Paul Hollidge 27:19 followed by Lee Clarkson who decided to arrive fashionably late (2 mins 40 to be precise) which saw him finish at 27:25. Jake Darkins completed his 97th run on the course finishing at 27:37 and Chusa Bautista came through the funnel at 28:11 who also was a late arrival with Clarkson. Finishing the line up at Colchester Castle Park was Claudia Keitch 28:23, Scott Young 28:24, Sue Thomas 28:42, Belinda Palmer-Barnes 29:47, Louise Upston 31:19, Claire Groves 31:22 and Jack Wicks in 32:55.
[Top left and bottom right: the go-faster shorts, modeled by Meera Rajoo-Oakley and Marion Simmons; Top right: Luke Groves on way to completing his 50th park run; Bottom left: GBRC celebrated their parkrun successes with breakfast]
Clacton Seafront parkrun reversed the route again for the runners Saturday which saw PB’s for GBRC. Tom Fowler got his fastest parkrun time since 2015 coming in 4th place at 19:51 with Ray Baggs one second behind him 19:52. Ben Ficken and the infamous Janice decided to brave Clacton where he sadly had to disappoint her dreams of a PB as he got tired and finished in 20:19 however enjoyed the look on the marshal’s faces when they realised that yes, a pugalier really can run that fast. Neil Robins saw a new PB set with 25:07 which also gained him a club champs. Knocking a huge 3 minutes off her PB was Emma Levett-Welham in at 34:23 which shows great improvement and gives confidence for her 10K next month. Also running were Brian Telford 22:58, Patrick Reynolds 23:01, Kevin James 23:25, Alison Clarke 29:05, Davina Swindle 32:14 and Sandra James 33:17.
Mersea Island saw just one blue vest with Craig Warriner completing the 5km in second place with 18:15. Harwich parkrun saw regular Malcolm Jarvis 21:27, Antoinette Wilson 24:43, Cherie Hipkins 29:40 and Sue Wright in 31:58.
Easter Sunday only saw one race for GBRC and who else to complete it but marathon man himself, Paul Blackwell. Having not completed a marathon for 6 weeks  due to some niggly pains, Blackwell headed up to Northampton for the six hour, very aptly named Chocathon challenge and decided to come back with a vengeance and complete an ultra marathon, running over 30 miles.
On a roll, Blackwell continued his running , completing the Enigma Easter Eggstravaganza on Easter Monday. Blackwell “only” completed a marathon distance but with heavy legs from the previous day, over seven laps of Caldecott Lake in Milton Keynes would be tough for anyone. Still, another medal to the collection made the pain easier to put up with.
[Another marathon, another medal for Paul Blackwell]
Also on Easter Monday, Great Bromley village hall was taken over by blue vests and giant white bunnies for the annual GBRC Easter Bunny Doubles event. A huge amount of effort went into organising this and making it a successful well loved event by runners and their families alike. Runners were taken by Russ Sharp on a warm up of the two mile course to make sure no one got lost and were able to follow the wicker bunnies en route followed by the pairings of faster and slower runners together with the fast hares completing three laps and the slightly slower hares doing two. The winning pair were Claire Fathers and Tim Ballard who were both lucky enough to get a spectacular looking Easter Egg. Also receiving eggs were second place finishers Vicky Presland and Kathy Bishop, third place Michael Simmons and David Iddon, fourth place Barbara Law and Joe Alexander, fifth place Scott Young and Debs Cubberley and sixth place the Presland sisters, Milly and Katie.
[GBRC juniors enjoyed an egg-hunt with the Easter bunny]
Junior parkrun saw Megan Hughes finish in 10:20, Angel Jasper 10:22, Caitlyn Hughes finish with a PB in 12:05, Rufus Keitch 12:12 also a PB, Chloe Iddon in 16:35 and Yasmin Leek in 19:52.
Well done to all runners with plenty of club champs, PB’s and performance standards gained this Easter weekend. Best of luck to everyone running the London Marathon this weekend, you have the full support of GBRC behind you and look forward to next weeks report.