Trails, Hills and Mud!

There was no snow this week, but this week’s race report does start with some wet and muddy trail running. On Wednesday evening, when the Presland family traveled to Terling for the Nightmare At Owl’s Hill 5 mile trail race. The event was hosted by Mid Essex Casuals and Vicky and Katie hoped they might finish as the race series ladies’ winners. However, the results were accidentally deleted before they were uploaded. Vicky and Katie clocked their times at 53:56, and Phil and Milly recorded theirs as 45:27.

Just two paragraphs into this week’s race report and Milly Presland is due another mention. On Saturday morning she took over 30 seconds off of her Colchester Castle parkrun PB, running sub-20 minutes and finishing as first female finisher in 19:48. Colchester Castle was this week’s most popular parkrun venue for Great Bentley runners. The usual suspects were getting their weekly fix of those Castle Park hills: Scott Young (28:12), Claudia Keitch (28:35), Deborah Cubberley (26:58), Paul Hollidge (27:02) and Nick Goodman (26:54) all completed the undulating 5k course.

Lee Clarkson (23:29) completed the event as part of a ‘9 miles parkrun sandwich’, which consisted of running 3 miles to get to the bandstand, completing the 3.1 mile event, and then running the 3 miles home again. Completing the Bentley representation at Castle Park were Jack Wicks (29:04), Louise Upston (33:47), Anna Mills (25:10), Kathy Bishop (25:12) and Russell Clarke (27:04).

At Clacton Seafront parkrun Ray Baggs bagged another podium finish, with his 20:25 performance seeing him third across the line. The Clacton regulars were out in force: Sandra James (37:44), Kevin James (24:26), Brian Telford (24:23) and Alison Clarke (30:56) all completed the three out-and-back loops along the promenade. Andy Stephens (24:25) ran the event for the second time, and his 94th parkrun in total.

There was only one human Bentley runner at Mersea Island parkrun this week. Luke Groves and his four-legged running companion Meatball covered the 5k course together. Luke had plans for a sub-25:00 finish, but Meatball wasn’t so bothered about the finish time. Several toilet stops made Luke’s time target unachievable, but Meatball was the first canine finisher as the pair crossed the line in 26:11.

Luke Groves and Meatball at Mersea Island parkrun.

Great Notley parkrun has proved popular with Bentley runners recently. This week Malcolm Jarvis took part, finishing in 26:58. Malcolm reported that the course was rather muddy this week, and he was pleased that he wore his trail shoes. Over at Harwich parkrun this week there was just one Bentley runner. Leoni Harvey finished the coastal event in 27:42.

Also on Saturday were the SEAA XC Championships races at Stanmer Park in Brighton. Two Bentley runners participated in the event. Geraldine Springett completed in the ladies’ race (which was over a 5 mile route), and Charlie Keitch competed in the men’s race (9 miles). Charlie reported that the course had more than double the elevation rise of the notorious Benfleet 15 race course, but over the distance of just 9 miles! Add to that the wet and windy conditions, and our runners were in for a truely authentic cross-country experience.

Geraldine completed the tough 5 mile route in 43:02. Not content with 43 minutes of adverse whether conditions, after crossing the finish line she proceeded to move around the course to cheer on fellow Bentley runner Charlie at every opportunity. Charlie completed the arduous 9 miles in 1:12:31, finishing in 710th position out of 1026 runners.

Also tackling some elevation gain this weekend was Matt Laverack. He took part in the Hadleigh 2012 Legacy 10k. Despite vowing never to take part in the race again after his last time running the course a couple of years ago, Matt was once again toeing the start line. After an initial downhill, Matt described the course as ‘up and down, with some very steep climbs over rocks and mud.’ Despite initially being disappointed with his finish time (49:08), Matt changed his opinion when he realised that he had finished in 37th place out of 432 runners.

Matt’s medal from the Hadleigh 2012 Legacy 10k race.

Like so many weekends that have gone before it, this weekend saw Janine Simpson ran a marathon. Janine covered 26.2 miles at the Yorkshire Cakeathon in 4:37. This was an extra-special marathon for Janine, as this was Janine’s 90th marathon finish! Janine now aims to complete another nine marathons before she completes the big 1-0-0 at the London Marathon in April. Good luck Janine!

Six Bentley runners took part in junior parkruns this weekend. At Colchester junior parkrun Angel Jasper clocked a speedy 10:22 finish, and Rufus Keitch finished the 2k course in 12:14. This was Rufus’s fastest time at the event since August.

Meanwhile over the border and into Hertfordshire, four Jones juniors took part in the inaugural Hertford junior parkrun. After running with his sisters for the first three quarters of the 2k course, George Jones got bored and sped off to complete the last quarter on his own, finishing in 25:35. Clara Jones opened up a lead over her remaining siblings and finished next in 28:02. Isabella and Darcey crossed the line together in 30:39.