Midsummer’s night running dream

The summer solstice on Thursday 21st June marked the arrival of summer in a week characterised for the lovely weather and high pollen count. Nevertheless, Bentley runners have been undeterred by the warm temperatures and itchy noses and were out and about covering a wide range of distances and topping up their tans.

The week’s racing started by the coast with the North Sea as the backdrop for the third of the Harwich 5k series. This series is not unlike our very own Mickey Edwards, where runners’ starting time is determined by their handicap or time in the previous race. Eleven Bentley Blues added some colour to the proceedings. Ray Baggs bagged himself a sub-20 min 5k, completing the race in 19:11. Other runners were Colin Farmer (21:06); Richard Moor (21:12); Kevin James (23:25); Eric Shaw (24:22); and John Bush (30:00); Belinda Palmer-Barnes (30:09); Barbara Law (31:20); Peter Reeve (32:03); Stuart Baggs (34:23) and Sandra James (34:32).

Bury St Edmunds was the location for the next instalment of the Friday 5 series. The 5-mile course included some off-road sections that added to the scenery. It is John Bush’ favourite course in the series and he completed the course in 50:33, his best time in the Friday 5 series this year. Paul Connell’s time was bittersweet: with 31:04 he achieved a PB and grabbed a Club Champs spot but missed on his Gold Standard by a mere 4 seconds. Rather than dwelling on those pesky seconds, Paul was pleased as he has been battling an Achilles injury recently. Also running and with published chip times were Colin Farmer (34:27) and Mark Ross (39:33). Magdalena Komorowska could only see her gun time (38:40). Although finding the course hard, she was happy with her legs performance after running a marathon the previous Saturday.  Other runners who were only given gun times were Rob Blackman (32:59); Frank Gardiner (39:23 and a Club Champs spot); Hien Hoang (40:02) and Teresa Farmer (51:13).

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Friday 5 Crew

Saturday is parkrun day. Runners, walkers and buggy-pushers converged on (loosely defined) parks all over the country to run, walk, crawl or otherwise complete the 5k timed-but-not-competitive event. Colchester Castle saw the largest number of blue vest despite it being the dreaded orange route. First Bentley to enter the finish funnel in 17th place was Rob Blackman in 20:27. The orange route didn’t; seem to affect Charlie Keitch who pushed his son Cassius to his best buggy time in 20:57. As an additional bonus he finished ahead of his “buggy nemesis” (clearly this is not a competitive event). On the other hand Jason Skelton found the route hard going but you wouldn’t think so with a time of 21:28. Richard Moorse and Russell Clarke finished very close together in 21:47 and 21:48 respectively. Meera Rajoo-Oakley was clearly embracing the non-competitive nature of the event finishing first lady in 21:59. She also let it slip that Mr O completed the route in 23:25 after weeks of physio to recover from a busted knee. Lee Clarkson completed the course in 23:54 after a bootcamp session. Team Collerley were undeterred by jet-lag and all that running they did in Canada.  They completed the course in 25:57 (Debs) and 26:01 (Paul) despite crossing the final line together. Another pesky 4 seconds there! Other runners were Stephanie Mills (27:16), Chusa (27:36), Tomasz Komorowski (27:48), Scott Young (27:55) and Claudia Keitch (30:01).

Clacton saw five blue shirts strutting their stuff on the promenade.  Kevin James was first to finish in 23:34. He was followed by Jem Gibson in 25:58, Beverly Shortley in 27:57, Alison Clarke in a palindrome 30:03 and David Nugent in 44:40.

Over in Harwich three brave souls brave the black bugs that seemed to have gone out en masse to attach themselves to runners’ shirts. Ben “justiceforJanice” Ficken was first to finish accompanied by the lovely Janice, who after being sidelined with injury was eager for a good run. Wearing black (to confuse the bugs, no doubt) they finished on 6th place (but remember, not a race, or so we have been told). Leoni Harvey achieved a PR in 27:29 and John Bush battled the bugs to finish in 31:57.

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Good guys wear black, or so I heard.

Saturday also saw Anna Young completing the Pretty Muddy course. The event was not timed, so clearly highly competitive wink, wink) and Anna had loads of fun running in the mud and overcoming obstacles in a great atmosphere. Clearly that was not enough for her and on Sunday she was at it again running round a certain tidal island. She had a slow run as she forgot her trainers (insert gasp of horror here) and had to make-do with an old pair (insert sigh of relief). Also going round and round and round (head spinning yet) Mersea Island was David Wright who found it tough in the heat and reported that the Harwich black bugs had migrated to Mersea and were everywhere. Bugs or no bugs, he completed the race in an amazing 18th place after 1h 39min 17sec.

Another runner for whom running on Saturday was not enough was Leoni. She completed the World War Run OCR, which Google informs me stands either for Obstacle Course Run or Optical Character Recognition – think we are safely assume is the first option here. She reported it was good fun and well organised.

Meanwhile, back to Saturday Janine Simpson was “recovering” from HR24 with a 50-mile endurance running challenge in Kent. She completed it in 12:08:14 and described it as a “tough day at the office”.

If Saturday is parkrun day, Sunday is Junior parkrun day. Yasmin Leek completed Colchester Junior parkrun on 15:10. On the coast, Clacton Junior parkrun saw Angel Jasper running within a second off her PB. Unfortunately the results were messed-up and she was assigned a time some 38 seconds slower (10:23) which could not be amended. I’m sure that Angel was very upset but hopefully this incident will spur her determination to chase a new PB and get it officially recorded.

Sunday also saw a few Bentley babes running the Hong Kong Phooey Trail Run, a six-hour time event on the Brightlingsea coast. Magdalena Komorowska completed 3 laps equating 19.65 miles in 3:25:45. Also running 19.65 miles was Claire Poole in 4:26:35. Claire Groves went for the half marathon option in 2:11:12 and Christina Foreman completed 6.55 miles in 1:16:11.

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Finally,  not so long ago (Sunday 24th June to be precise) in a galaxy far, far way (well, Surrey) Matt Jones was running away from evil Storm Troopers along the river Thames. The Storm Troopers could not carry on with the running due to their helmets melting in the heat but our Matt ran and ran until he found a new hope … ok,ok! This is not exactly how it happened but Matt did run and completed 9 laps of the themed “Star Runs Episode IV: A New Run” race totalling 29.5 miles. No official times had been released by the time we went to the printers so we will trust the 4hr 55min on his watch.

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And to really, really finish this report …. a big shout out to all those who took part in Rodger’s Trail on Sunday. Participants agreed that the course was great and a great time was had by all. I am a bit concerned about the reports of “long necked cows” but having consulted the Made-up Department for Genetic Mutation on the Essex-Suffolk border I have been assured that there a no such things as long-necked cows as all their research budget has gone into extra-fluffy miniature sheep. I’m sure you would all agree that it is fake research money well spent!