The first day of the week was the last of the year and for one Bentley runner the chance to achieve the amazing milestone that is running her 100th marathon. On New Year’s Eve, Gemma Colling travelled to Kent to take part in a six-hour challenge held in Betteshanger by Saxons, Vikings & Normans. She completed the marathon distance gaining the coveted 100th Marathon top in the process. Janine and Ella Simpson were also in Kent supporting Gemma. Not happy with just supporting, they completed the half marathon distance. This was Ella’s first half and I am sure it won’t be the last!
Paul Blackwell also took part in the challenge and bagged his 157th marathon. But that number didn’t seem a good one for Paul. He went on to run marathon number 158 on New Year’s Day at Dymchurch. Paul then took a short break only to be back on his feet and running the East Hanningfield Trail Marathon on Sunday 6th January. I’m exhausted just writing it up!
New Year’s Day antics
Anna Young took part in the aptly named Hair of the Dog narrative trail run on Tuesday 1st January. The six mile-ish run was organised by Mid Essex Casuals and provided excellent value for money, as the five quid entry entitled runners to a voucher for tea and cake. What better way to kick-start the new year?
New Year’s Day happens to be the only day where runners can attempt to participate in two parkruns on the same day. That proved to be a massive incentive for Bentley runners who descended upon the local parkruns by the dozen.
Both Harwich and Colchester Castle offered the possibility to run at 9.00 whilst Clacton Seafront catered for those wanting the double (or simply a little bit longer in bed) with the parkrun there starting at 10.30.
Ben Ficken (aka the 60-Seconds Assassin) and Janice (aka the Fastest Pug in the West) got things started at Harwich where they ran the 5 km course in 20:29. They then swiftly moved to a very busy Clacton parkrun, finishing in 21:02. Dave Jones and Leoni Harvey also did the Harwich-Clacton combo with finishing times of 28:04 – 27:54 (Dave) and 28:16 – 27:59 (Leoni).
At CCPR (not to be confused with CCCP), Charlie Keitch ran like the wind to finish in 19:23 before heading to Clacton and improving his time to 19:21 despite fears that he may have gone too hard at the first 5,000 meters. Lee Clarkson also doubled the parkruns but, unlike Charlie’s, his time increased from 20:53 at Colchester to 21:18 at Clacton.
A few Bentley couples also opted for the Colchester/Clacton double, doubling up the fun. They were Colin and Teresa Farmer (24:20/22:46 and 31:14/32:09); Paul and Sarah Davidson (25:31/21:41 and 25:28/25:09); Tomasz and Mags Komorowscy (25:31/23:39 and 25:27/24:00) and Paul and Debs Hollidge (28:50/28:38 and 28:41/28:36). Two other couples decided to remain monogamous to a single parkrun course.
The Groves decided to stick to Clacton and make a family competition out of it. Team Meatball had the edged on Team Noah thanks to a blistering start from Meatball who saw Luke flying at the front and finishing in 24:47. Claire meanwhile pushed Noah along the promenade and finished in 28:30.
In Colchester, Rob Oakley got to a great start of the year with a new CCPR PB of 20:20, inching ever closer to the coveted sub-20 parkrun. Meanwhile Meera Rajoo-Oakley got to a more unsteady start as she took a stumble and hurt herself in the process. But Meera is not one for giving up and she finished in 23:09.
Other Bentley runners who decided to stay single, figuratively speaking of course, were Bev Shortely (happy with 25:30 at Clacton); Claire Poole (a steady 30:45 at Clacton); Caroline Searle (28:09 at CCPR); Emma Levet-Welham (32:17 at Clacton) and yours truly, who walked Clacton in 48:51 due to having twisted a muscle in my back on NYE.
Essex Cross Country Championship
On Saturday 5th a small group of intrepid runners made it to the Essex XC Champs. Described as a super-fast field, relatively flat 10k course with a couple of short but sharp hills to keep runners on their toes.
Meera was the sole female Bentley representative and she did represent us well by finishing within the top half of the county female runners, 60th out of 144 in 49:02. Understandably she was very pleased with her performance. Also running and finishing in 115th and exactly half way in the males table in 40:40 (I’m loving the symmetries here) was Charlie Keitch. Russ, Adam and Andy H. completed the Bentley representation in the Championship. Perhaps next year we can unleash a sea of blue on the field.
Great Run goes local
Sunday saw the first Great Run Local at Alton Water. The run is free, with 5k and 2k options that will be held from now on every Sunday at 9:30. Tim Ballard was the first Bentley to test the route and reported it to be mainly grass with sections of mud, tarmac, bark and gravel and mostly flat. He achieved a 4th finishing place in 19:11 by his watch. I’m sure many of you are thinking about giving the Great Run Local a try – I know I am!