The Cold has arrived – but so has Cross Country !

Wednesday – Final Club series Trail run.

On Sunday, several club members travelled to Ramsey, near Harwich, to take part in the final trail run of the series. As usual, with the last one being a night run, headtorches were a must. The 5 mile (and quite a bit of a mile plus) run involved hills, cows, horses, and a few brambles to negotiate. Nevertheless, it was thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable evening, and hot dogs all round at the finish. Once again, this has been a fantastically enjoyable series this year. A big thanks from all at the club to Rodger Alexander, assisted by Eric Shaw, for all the time and effort put in to organise these trail runs, and to the club volunteers who have helped throughout the series with timekeeping and scorekeeping.

Snowdonia Marathon Eryi.

On Saturday, Eileen Shadford tackled the Snowdonia marathon. First run in 1982, this is a demanding and spectacular route, which encircles Snowdon, the highest peak in England and Wales. Twice voted as Britain’s best marathon, it is also described as one of Britain’s toughest; Eileen described it as “Very tough with 3 long hills – first one starting at mile 2, then 12 & 22 (which had a lot of walking! Unrunnable!”. On a bright day, but with a cold wind at times and a bit of sleet, Eileen finished with a time of 3:50:04 (having set a target of 4 hours) which was 2nd in age category. Well done Eileen on yet another brilliant performance this year.For any brave souls who fancy following in Eileen’s brave shoes next year, entries will be live on Saturday 01 December 2018, with the marathon taking place on Saturday 26th October.

Eileen’s slate medal from Snowdonia

Dublin Marathon.

Sarah Davison and Kathy Bishop travelled to Ireland to take part in the Dublin Marathon. Sarah, enjoying the crazy supporting crowd, ran in a time of 4:03:52, which was a marathon personal best by seven minutes. This run earned Sarah a club silver standard. Kathy, running in her first marathon, (helped by Sarah calming her pre-race nerves), managed to not only enjoy it, but ran a brilliant time of 3:51:44, which earned Kathy a rarely achieved club diamond standard. Well done ladies, a fabulous representation for the club.

Kathy and Sarah enjoying the craic

Thetford – Loki (Run with the Gods)- 10K Cani-cross trail race

Ben Ficken, and Janice, ran the Loki 10K trail race on Sunday, in Thetford, finishing the men’s (and dogs) 10k in 2nd place. The race started at Thetford Priory and followed the river out of the town and into the forest. After a loop through the forest it was back along the river to finish. The course was largely flat with a couple of small hill climbs and very uneven underfoot in places. Unfortunately for Janice the course only measured 6 miles as it would have been a 10k PB if the full 6.2 miles. Well done Janice (and Ben) for a time of 40:55 on an uneven trail course.

Janice, “Gremlin” and Ben

Stortford 30m ultra.

Jason Skelton took part in this 30 mile race, running along the River Stort navigation channel in Hertfordshire. Jason bravely took on the course, despite ongoing injuries, and a lack of training, to grit his teeth and drag himself through the last 10 miles to finish the event in a time of 5hrs 48 minutes, to get the well-earned finishers medal and t-shirt. Jason commented that it was a lovely course, for anyone looking to try an ultra in the future, with next to no elevation, along a pretty canal path.

Thurrock 10k.

Chusa Batis and Lee Clarkson ran the Thurrock 10k on Sunday, which took place at Belhus Woods Country Park, near Aveley, a trail race along the coastal wall footpath. Chusa ran a great time of 54:53, but amusingly was put down as a male! Lee meantime ran to 11th, place, with a time of 45:36.

Cross Country – First race of the season.

Winter is now upon us, and it is once again the start of the Cross Country (XC) season. For this year, this league is now called the NESS Cross-country league (after the, for many of us, sad closure of the superb 53-12 shop who in previous years sponsored the series). For those of us fairly new to running, XC running in general, is all about strength. Even if the races are fairly short, these events, often with mud, hills, twists and turns (and occasional streams) make strength a bigger asset than speed. XC running is excellent for developing strength. The different terrains (compared to road running) mean you use your whole body, which improves your core strength as well as your leg strength. XC races for our GBRC are a brilliant experience, and with post-race tea and cake on offer, as well as reliving your race with your running colleagues and friends, what is not too like?

There are six races this season, which take place over the winter months and finish in February. The first race took place on Sunday, and was in Writtle, and hosted by Springfield striders. There was a terrific turnout of blue vests, with 4 juniors, 24 men and 21 ladies. The large turnout, alongside some great individual performances, contributed to a fantastic result of 3rd place for the Male seniors, and 4th place for the ladies seniors, resulting in a combined position of 4th in pool A after the first round.

Specific mentions ; our juniors blues, who braved the cold morning and early start ; James Blacker, Frankie Laverack, Leni Laverack, and Cienna Telford, and honorary blue (running in green for the harriers), Milly Presland, who finished in first place ladies juniors; for the ladies, it was a great return for Emily Zethraeus, who finished 4th lady overall; for the men, Mark Jasper, who continued his impressive run of points scoring positions, despite commitments over the Summer meaning a relative lack of training. Well done everybody though; you all did your club proud.

For the full results of the first race including all individual positions, and more details about this series, log onto the website The next round is this weekend, (Sunday 4th November) at Great Notley discovery centre, near Braintree.

A big blue turnout at Writtle for XC round 1

Saturday Park Run update;

Colchester Castle Park Run; With fewer numbers than usual on the hilly course, Deborah Hollidge aimed to run 26 minutes but was “paced” round by Meera (who was saving herself for cross country) to a time of (25:37) to equal her CCPR Pb! Charlie Keitch, with Cassius in the buggy, ran (25:04) also taking it easy ready for XC. Paul Connell was in 8th position, with a time of (19:36), Andy Stephens with (22:49) Danny Draper (not running an extra lap this time) with (22:54) Richard Moor, recovering from injury, ran (23:46). Stephen Walsh (25:30), Natalie Warriner (again saving herself for XC) (25:38), Meera Rajoo-Oakley (25:39) and Stephanie Mills with a time of (27:41)

Clacton Sea Front; Mark Gare was first blue home, in13 position, with a time of (22:17), Brian Telford followed with a time of (25:01), Bev Shortley finished as 5th lady, with a time of (26:10) for 2nd in age category, Alison Clarke with (29:47), and Peter Reeve, with (33:23).

Harwich; Rob Blackman powered to 2nd position overall, with a time of (19:43) Dave Jones in 49 position, with a time of (27:44) Claire Poole with a time of (28:35), Teresa Jones with a time of (28:46) surprised herself by smashing her previous PB of 30 minutes, after working a night shift! Cherie Hipkins finished with a time of (32:45).

Mersea Island; Taking part on the Island, (which had a parkrun takeover by running Colchester this week), were Mersea Island; Robert Ferguson in 12 position, with a time of (21:03) Kevin Stevens with a time of (23:14) Tomasz Komorowski with a time of (23:56), having cycled from North Colchester (a mini journey for Tom).

Junior Park Run – Sunday

The blue vested juniors chose to take part in the XC this weekend, rather the Junior park runs.