the love of running! We forgot about Ophelia this week and instead felt the force of Storm Brian as the club donned their trainers and prepared for racing. Not put off, those in blue vests had hearts on fire this week as they pushed themselves against the wind over a variety of distances.

Showing us the best of him was Matthew Jones at Northumberland Castles Marathon. A personal record time of 3:23:47 was good enough for an 11 place finish in the less than ideal conditions around Bamburgh castle.

[Matt Jones after his marathon PB]


Also bagging a marathon was Andy Stephens: his tenth in as many months! It was a one night love affair with the streets of Bilbao as runners competed after dark to cross the line and join in the finisher’s fiesta! A time of 4:18:38 made this a night to remember for Stephens as he looks forward to a period of rest before the new year.

Closer to home it was Chelmsford marathon, in its third year of the current improved course, changed after the disaster that was 2014. Helen Carey completed the course in 3:51:47 and John McKay crossed the line in 5:25:39.
Unfortunately disappointment cut like a knife for Tim Ballard has he injured himself on the morning of the race and had to sit out: Ballard will be back and marathon-ing in the new year no doubt.

At the Suffolk Coastal Trail Half Marathon Tricia Stacey was rock steady as she came home in 2:09:01 on a course that she recommends for its heaven-like scenery.

As part of the same event was the Coastal Trail 10k. This featured Ben Ficken and trusty friend pugalier Janice as the GBRC representation. Although not fans of the timing system (that involved inserting a tag worn on your wrist into a small box held by a marshal along the route) the pair completed the race in 46:33. Janice was the first canine to finish and experienced fame when others at the race recognised her: what a star!

[Janice with Ben after the Coastal Trail 10k]


Down at the Great South Run for a second time was Sarah Fletcher. Selecting to enjoy the race, and her return from injury, she completed the 10 mile course in a leisurely-but-still-rather-speedy 1:23:31.

Across the sea was Paul Connell who tested himself against 10,000 meters at the Aghagower 10k. Connell finished around the 43 minute mark and enjoyed meeting a blast from the past Robert Malseed who used to run for Colchester Harriers and recognised the brilliant blue vest of GBRC as Connell ran.

[A blaze of blue: Paul Connell!]


The club was out in force on Saturday with 16 blue vests toeing the line at various parkruns. Furthest afield was Magdalena Komorowska, in Poland, at Kolobrzeg parkrun. Her first attempt at this course saw her finish as the fourth lady in a time of 25:52.

[Magdalena at Kolobrzeg parkrun, with Tomek who volunteered]


At Clacton Seafront Robert Thorpe was flying as the fifth finisher in 21:57. He was followed by Patrick Reynolds in 22:55 and Kevin James in 24:16. It was a personal best run from Kieron Hayes with a time of 29:26. On the Clacton course for the first time was Sally Harman, who finished in 30:50. Alison Clarke completed her 5000 meters in 32:37 and Sandra James stopped the clock in 38:35.

There will never be another first time for Gemma Colling who debuted at a parkrun this week. Colling completed the Ipswich course in 28:06, the 21st female in a field of 114.

Let’s hope it was cloud number nine for Claudia Keitch as she completed her parkrun number 100 at Colchester Castle in 28:51. Making up the blue-vested-team at Colchester were Scott Young and Paul Hollidge, running together in a time of 27:33; James McCullagh who finished in 25:01; and Meera Rajoo-Oakley made her way back to the bandstand in 23:52.

It was  a northern adventure for Vicky Presland and Katie Presland. Taking on Pontefract parkrun (their favourite course to date) Vicky crossed the line as fourth female in 21:40 and Katie finished in 21st position with a time of 27:29.

The open road called on Sunday as GBRC took on Harwich Road Runners over 10 miles looping from Great Bromley to Little Bromley and back. The inaugural running of the race was 2016 in which the men’s race was won by a Harwich Runner, whilst the Ladies’ were led home by Bentley. This year, the second running, the roles were reversed when Bentley’s Joe Alexander led the charge for home in a time of 59:09. The ladies race was won by Harwich’s Claudine Benstead in 1:14:41.

Full results from this race can be found here on the club website:

The day was completed with enjoyment of the Great Bentley bake off: a display of sponge cake, biscuits and apple crumble back in the village hall whilst Storm Brian continued to make himself known outside.

[Joe Alexander after his win at the GBRC 10 miler; and Toni Wilson sprints to the finish]