Weekend Running Extravaganza

What a week! The sun was shining, the birds were singing and the Bentley Blues were running (and swimming and cycling, but we won’t hold that against them).

Where to start!? Well, let’s start at the beginning and that, if you subscribe to a linear concept of time, will be 9.00 Saturday morning, with parkrun as the backdrop for 5k racing, I mean, 5k timed running with finishing positions.

Colchester Castle saw Milly Presland finishing first lady in 20:10. She may have been wearing a green Harriers vest but she’s a Bentley at heart. Charlie Keitch took son Cassius for a stroll in his pram and was the first Bentley male to cross the line in 21:13, closely followed by Andy Stephens in 21:25. Phil Presland and Meera Rajoo-Oakley were happily chatting the run away before their competitive nature took hold and they both sprinted to the finish in 22:40 and 22:43 respectively.

Clacton Seafront saw the biggest contingent of Bentley parkrunners this week. Magdalena Komorowska finished 3rd female in a time of 23:37, a course PB for her. She was followed by Kevin James in 24:24, Sandra James in 35:44, Dave Jones in 37:04, Teresa Jones in 38:46 and David Nugent in 42:21.

Up the coast from Clacton Richard Moore, Nick Goodman and Leoni Harvey ran Harwich parkrun in 21:03, 22:18 and 29:22 respectively.  And staying on the coast but travelling in a south-westerly direction we found Paul Davison running Maldon Prom parkrun in 20:03. With him were Kathy Bishop finishing in 23:19 and Sarah Fletcher, who completed the run in 23:46.

Saturday also saw Bentley’s answer to Ant & Dec take onto the Hanningfield Triathlon. Ade Cherry and Luke Groves swam, cycled and ran in the event organised by Essex & Suffolk Water in support of WaterAid. Luke took on the Olympic distance and completed it in 3h 10min despite having to deal with a pesky bicycle chain that decided to break 6 miles into the ride. Undeterred, he refused the offer of a van-ride home and continued after changing the chain. Ade opted for the sprint option and completed it in 1h 36min, being 4th in T2, which sources inform me is the 2nd transition from bike to run. Imagine how much time he would shave of his first transition if only he wouldn’t dry his hair!

Rounding up the action on Saturday we have Louise Upston and Jack Wicks participating with friends in Nuclear Rush. This is a mud and obstacle race that is well-organised, with great marshals and a fantastic atmosphere. They both finished together in a time of 3:20:56 and, as the photo below shows, covered in mud and ready to be hosed-down.


Muddy Happy People

You’d be forgiven for thinking this is the end of the report but this was a fun-packed weekend and we are only half way through it. Stay with me whilst we dive into Sunday’s activities: we have Red Devils, we have hills and even a elephants!

You may remember that back in March we had a rather “nippy” week when England’s green and pleasant land got all covered in snow. The inaugural Colchester Zoo Stampede 10k race had to be postponed due to the hazardous conditions and it was eventually rescheduled for Sunday 20th of May. A total of 14 Bentley runners participated in the race that started in the zoo and then made its way through country lanes, which were not as flat as some might had hoped, before being welcomed back by the African elephants.

First in for the boys was Russell Clarke who completed the race in 43:22 bagging himself a PB in the process. Hot on his heels was Lee Clarkson, loosely pacing a friend, who finished in 45:54. James McCullagh and Scott Young were not far behind finishing in 47:07 and 47:26 respectively. Brian Telford followed in 50:43. Andy Stephens was pacing a friend and crossed the line with a time of 1:02:22. Rounding up the Blue Boys contingent was John Bush in 1:10:16.

Claire Groves achieved a fantastic PB by almost 2 min, finishing first Bentley female and 14th female overall in 46:57. Magdalena Komorowska and Caroline Searle ran together in a twin-time of 52:27 each. A mere four seconds ahead was Marion Simmons in 55:23. Anna Young and Claudia Keitch completed the course in 55:40 and 59:09 respectively. Unfortunately Nina Simmons, who also ran the course having signed up to the original March date, had issues with her bib and her time (estimated to be around the hour mark) was not recorded in the results. #justicefornina

Mags and Caroline

Caroline and Magdalena showing off their medals


Marion crossing the line more focused on her watch than the camera

Over at Boxted another 10k event was taking place. Runners highly recommend the event and report that it was a lovely route a tad on the hilly-side and not one for PBs but with a great atmosphere. Dave Wright was first to cross the line for Bentley and 5th overall in a fantastic time of 39:46 which earned him a silver standard. Peter Benton followed in 44:30, as did Meera -Rajoo-Oakley in 47:13. Michael Deed achieved a Bronze Standard with a finishing time of 50:23 and Eric Shaw collected the trophy for first Male V70 finishing in a time of 51:28. Other runners were Gemma Camp (51:27), Fiona Gosling (1:00:18), Gary Hill (1:00:41) and Alison Clarke (1:08:56).


Eric with his trophy for 1st Male Vet 70

This Sunday also saw the second run in the Rodger’s Trail series, which was greatly enjoyed by all taking part. After two races Paul Connell, Charlie Keitch and Chris Warren share first position with 200 points each. Debs is the top female with 195 points, a mere 5 points ahead of Trish Stacey in second. Melanie Moore completes the provisional podium with 189 points. The latest standings can be found following this link.


Happy Trail Runners

Not happy with a one trail run, Tim Ballard decided to run two! He described the locally sponsored Witchfinder 5k Trail as tough with grass, gravel, steps, woodlands and road, with some killer hills thrown in for good measure. Apparently that was just what the doctor ordered as he was the first finisher in 19:52 and got a trophy for his efforts. Davina Swindell and Charlie also run the race finishing in 26:44. Charlie was first dog but got no trophy. #justiceforcharlie


Last but not least we have the annual Paras 10 race with the Red Devils putting on a show 30 min before the start and smoke grenades used as course “entertainment”. This 10 mile endurance race is based on the parachute regiment’s 10 miler selection race. Would-be parachuters need to complete the race carrying a 35lbs bergen, water and a weapon in 1h 50min or less. Fortunately, tabbing is an option for regular runners although it was the option chosen by John Booty who completed the course in 1h 51min, just one minute outside the selection criteria. Tomasz Komorowski ran bergen-free with his dear friend Darren Willey and both completed the course in 1:33:47. Benjamin Ficken rounded up the Bentley contingent running with Janice, who enjoyed a lovely swim to cool-down on such a warm day. They finished in 20th position, crossing the line in 1:21:12.


Tomasz and Darren after completing Paras 10

Wow! I am sure you all would agree with me that this past weekend has been a veritable running extravaganza. I am so exhausted just writing the report that I might need a piece of cake to recover!