Snow, hills and mud!

Apparently it snowed on Sunday which added to the fun of the challenging multi terrain single lap course starting in Hadleigh Country Park for the Benfleet 15. This race is among the most challenging and takes runners through the undulating Hadleigh Downs, along sections of the Benfleet and Canvey Island Sea Wall before finishing back at the Country Park. However, what the course description misses is the copious amounts of mud, the long steep hills and of course, on Sunday, the inclement weather.

There were seven blue vests who were prepared to take on the 15 mile race with some excellent results. Charlie Keitch (1:51:53) and Debs Cubberley (20:20:37) both secured Bronze standards, Cubberley knocking a massive 9 minutes off her time last year. Paul Hollidge also knocked (not sure if knocked is the right word maybe chopped or sliced maybe better….) off 11 minutes from his time last year recording 2:03:40 but agonisingly just outside a club standard. Running his first 15 mile race and claiming a personal best was Luke Groves who finished in 2:45:44. The weather didn’t agree with Meera Rajoo-Oakley who recorded a personal worst but still finished in a brilliant 2:11:11. Barbara Law described the conditions as amongst the worst she’d seen finished in 3:15:17 and Frank Gardiner also recorded a great time of 2:26:18. Well done to you all this looked like a hell of a run; one which I’m happy to leave to you!

[Paul Hollidge (left) and Charlie Keitch (right) take on Benfleet 15]

Taking on the more modest 5k parkruns around the local area on Saturday were the usual abundance of Bentley blue. Colchester Castle still proves to be very popular with 15 club runners  this week; enjoying the hills and improving all the time is Mags Komoroska who secured a course PB on Saturday finishing in 25:25. Both Rich Moor and Belinda Palmer-Barnes reached parkrun milestones at Colchester; Moor completing his 100th run (21:33) and Palmer-Barnes her 50th (28:23). Ryan Day led the way for the club this week finishing in 19:46 followed by Craig Warriner (20:31), Russell Clarke (23:09), Tomasz Komorowski (24:01), Lee Clarkson (24:42 but if he had arrived on time would have run 23:00 according to his watch), Anna Mills (25:12), Andy Stephens (25:14), Ade Cherry (25:42), Scott Young (28:08), Claudia Keitch (28:19), Jack Wicks (28:40) and Louise Upston (35:11).

A cold Clacton Seafront welcomed Kieron Hayes who secured a bronze club standard finishing in 27:21. Kevin James (24:03), Brian Telford (24:18) and Sandra James (35:43) made up the smaller than usual attendance this weekend. Ben Ficken had to fight off an amorous suitor for run partner Janice at Harwich parkrun this week, the run was going well for the pair with a first place finish in sight until Janice’s unwelcomed distraction, however, second place was secured in 20:36, Ben and Janice were followed home by Leoni Harvey in 27:53. Warming up for Benfleet on Sunday was Luke Groves at the country park in Mersea, Groves finished the 5k in 27:11.