Club members partook in the entire spectrum of distances this week, from 2000m at junior parkrun to 50+ miles both this side of the channel and on the continent.

The week started with excitement as John Booty, along with his family / support crew, travelled to France to take on the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB). Qualifying for the race is a challenge in itself as wannabe UTMB challengers need to have completed both 50 mile races and 100 mile races to prove their worth. Having qualified it is then up to the race-ballot gods as to whether you run; after two years of asking, Booty was granted a place in the world’s toughest trail.

The race itself travels the base of Mont Blanc, journeying through France, Italy and Switzerland. Dramatic altitude changes are accompanied by temperature swings and runners need to tackle a variety of terrains as they navigate the 171km through the mountains.

A prelude to ‘the big one’ came in the shape of the mini-UTMB in Chamonix. An 1800m course that saw young trail runners ascending a killer hill twice. In this race, Harry Booty represented the club.


[Harry Booty running the mini-UTMB]

The weekend approached and with it the weather, blowing in daunting clouds and warnings of rain, wind, hail, snow, ice, roasting sunshine and everything in between. At 18:00 (local time) on Friday 1 September Booty set off. Our blue-vested adventurer completed over half of the course before weather warnings necessitated a change in cut-off times meaning that he was unable to continue past Courmeyer. With over 50 miles under his belt in hideous conditions and at altitude Booty has inspired us all.

[Chaos at the checkpoint! John Booty in Courmeyer having been told he could not continue]

Another inspirational group took on the Shotley 53 mile trail through constable country. Joining the walkers from the LDWA were Gemma Colling and Karen Skene. Fourteen hours after setting off, Colling complete the 53 mile course, which enjoyed local treasures such as Flatford Mill and Willy Lotts Cottage as well as vistas of the rivers Stour and Orwell. Skene had joined her throughout the day to clock up 28 miles, a foot injury preventing her from running the whole way.


[Team James running the Shotley 50]

John, Gemma and Karen were tackling their distances to help promote and raise funds for charities, which you can read about here:

It was the other end of the spectrum for Milly Presland and John Bush as they took on the 1.5 mile family run in Maidenhead on Sunday. Presland was the first finisher in the run with a time of 9:12, a full 47 seconds ahead of the next challenger. Bush came home in 15:25.

The longer event at Maidenhead was a half marathon where Deborah Cubberley bagged herself a personal best run in 1:53:01. Vicky Presland ran with her, finishing at the same time.
For the GBRC gents were Paul Hollidge and Phil Presland who finished in 1:38:47 and 1:39:30 resepctively.


[Vicky Presland checks they are on time as Deborah Cubberly runs towards a personal best]

Sunday also saw the Takely 10k road race, and for Bentley this was a family affair. Charlie Keitch managed to stop the clock in just under 40 minutes with a time of 39:37 and a 6th position finish. Brother Scott Young followed in 50:08 and Claudia Keitch was close behind in 59:18. Having been warned pre-race of brown cows on the course, all three gave the event a high recommendation.

Also testing themselves against 10k were Ben Ficken and Janice at the Shorham 10,000m race in Kent. A tough course that was both muddy and hilly. Janice won the canicross category, taking home a prize of dog treats. Running buddy Ben was awarded a bottle of prosecco for helping her round the course in 50:36.


[Ben Ficken and Janice with their prizes]

The BMX course at Hadleigh hosted the Havens Hospice Sprint Triathlon in which Any Young and Emma Wakeling took part. The course comprised a 400m lake swim, a 10k cycle and a 5k run.

Another pair of GBRC members enjoying off-road adventures were Malcolm Jarvis and Martin West. The pair participated in the Essex Way Relay, which follows the Essex Way footpath from Epping Station to Harwich Old Lighthouse. Teaming up with members of Harwich Runners, the Jarvis placed 20 out of 69 for his leg. West placed 50th in his leg, beating his from previous years by 2 minutes.

There was a personal best for Angel Jasper this week at junior parkrun in a time of 9:53. Coupled with her steady improvement in finishing position she looks to be coming into form for the winter XC season!

At Colchester Castle parkrun Caroline Seale fought jet-lag to finish in 27:54. For the GBRC gents were Jake Darkins in a personal-best-equalling 20:01 and Andy Stephens, fresh from Africa, who crossed the line in 26:08.

James McCullagh took on the Ashton Court course for the first time, finishing in 21:53.

Also the sole representative from the club was Paul Connell at Maldon prom. Connell finished in 19:21.

Clacton Seafront saw the largest representation from the club, with six members running. There was a course personal best time and a best-ever finishing position for Matthew Jones who crossed the line in 21:03. Ray Baggs also put down a string performance, consistent with his usual achievements, stopping the clock in 19:56. And completing the mens trio was Kevin James with a time of 23:32.
For the ladies, Heather England led the way home in 30:35. She was followed by Liz Jones, who stopped the clock in 32:17 and Sandra James with a time of 34:50.

At Harwich it was M&M as Malcolm Jarvis and Matthew Knowles completed the 5000m course. Jarvis finishing in 21:40 and Knowles in 23:33.

Finally it was a first taste of Mersea for Nicholas Goodman who crossed the line there in 23:30.