It cannot be said that we have had a terrible winter. Nevertheless, I for one welcome the first signs of spring: the warmer air, the longer days, the daffodils, the hay fever… Well, maybe not that last one but what I love about this time of the year is that going out for a run is much more appealing than in the dreary winter months. And I am pretty sure many of my fellow Bentley runners share this belief as I counted over 40 of them taking part in the big ticket local event of the weekend: the Colchester Half Marathon. Conditions were ideal for running and the support along the route was amazing: even on the quieter country roads there were supporters offering words of encouragement and jelly babies to the runners. It is no wonder that there were so many PBs achieved by the blue vests on the race and so many positive comments in general.
The first Bentley vest to cross the finish line in a time of 1:22:35 was Dave Wright. He was 41st overall beating his 10-year old PB by almost a minute. Also in the top-100 finishers was Ryan Day, in 1:25:17. James Royce also achieved a PB, a silver standard and a place in the club champs with a time of 1:31:42. Another runner to jump on the PB bandwagon was Ade Cherry. Finishing in 1:41:13 he took over 3 minutes of his half marathon PB and over 6 minutes of his CHM PB, bagging himself a bronze standard in the process. Meera Rajoo-Oakley run in 1:43:28 and was pleased with the pace that she hopes to replicate at London Marathon. Kathy Bishop was not far behind Meera as she finished with a PB time of 1:43:53 which earned her a diamond standard. Tomasz and Mags Komorowscy ran together and both achieved a PB. Tomasz’ time was 1:44:54. Mags’ time of 1:44:56 was 25 minutes faster than her last CHM two years ago and means she is now the proud owner of a gold standard and a place in the club champs. Another couple running together were Paul and Sarah Davison, both finishing in 1:45:13. Sarah ran a half marathon PB and achieved a gold standard as well. Kevin Pyle didn’t let the pain in his legs stop him and finished in a time of 1:46:47. Anthea Collsell achieved a PB of 5 minutes and a course PB by 8 with her time of 1:49:07. Jennifer Aylen and Hien Hoang both ran together and finished under Hien’s self-imposed sub 1:52 goal in 1:51:47. Bev Shortley ran her first half marathon in 1:55:45 and achieved a gold standard in the process. Congratulations on your first half marathon Bev!
All that marathon training is paying off for Nina Simmonds who trashed her PB by 20 minutes, finishing the course in 2:00:05. Dave Jones ran his first CHM in 02:07:03. He was accompanied by Leoni Harvey, who with a finishing time of 2:07:09 was some 12 minutes faster than last year. Also running with Dave and Leoni for the most part was Neil Robins who was very happy with his 6-minute PB of 2:08:34. Christina Foreman ran in 2:08:10, Mark Crittenden in 2:16:41 and Claire Poole in 2:21:04. Emma Levett-Welham ran over 30 minutes faster than last year in 2:24:48.
Other runners on the course were Andrew Edwards (1:32:37) and Peter Benton (1:33:42), both with gun times as there are some teething problems with some of the chip times; Richard Bryant (1:37:05); Danny Draper (1:37:43); Patrick Reynold (1:38:37 also gun time); Anna Mills (01:40:57); Duncan Scott (01:49:02); Emma Town (02:00:03 gun); Fiona Gosling (02:00:05); James Carter (02:01:30); Stephen Walsh (02:01:43); Frank Gardiner (02:02:50); Michael Deed (02:02:10); Wixy (2:29:11); Sue Sorrell (02:29:20); Alison Day (02:32:44); Teresa Farmer (02:34:12) and Sandra James (2:53:28).
A special mention goes to Andy Stephens. With a finishing time of 01:38:04, he ran what could possibly be his last race in a Bentley vest as he takes a new job in Kenya from August. On behalf of all Bentley members I would like to wish Andy best of luck with the move and hope to still see some post of him running in whatever colour he chooses next.
Of course, we can’t forget those Bentley runners who were part of the pacer team. They swapped blue for pink and took on the task of encouraging runners, acting as markers to follow and eventually overtake. Pacing 1:35 was Ben Ficken (1:34:12); Craig Warriner was the 1:40 pacer (1:39:26) and Craig Mitchell the 1:45 (1:43:59). Kevin James ran into difficulties as a 1:50 pacer (1:53:37) demonstrating that it is not an easy task. Lee Clarkson (1:54:46) carried the 1:55 pacer-flag. New to the pacing team this year was Chusa Bautista pacing the 2-hour mark (1:58:54) and closing the Bentley pacing ranks we had Luke Groves pacing 2:10 and winning the prize for the closest finishing-to-pacing time (2:09:54). Well done all of your for giving up your time to pace others!
I have lost count of how many standards, PBs and club champs places were gained at the weekend but I am certain that Erik’s printer may have to work overtime to keep up with all those standards and Paul Davison will be going over that club champs spreadsheet a few times. To all the runners, I’d like to say “well done!” whatever your time. And to all of you cheering us on, offering jelly babies, water and words of encouragement I’d like to say “thank you!” This event is so popular because of your support and no one should underestimate what a well place placard or a high-five can do for runners.
You’d think this be the end of the report but alas! How can we ignore that run that isn’t a race but it is time and offers finishing positions? Yes, of course I am talking about parkrun. They were quieter than usual in the eve of the big event but a few Bentley runners made it to several 5k courses.
AT CCPR Robin Oakley was first Bentley to cross the line in 8th place with a time of 20:06. Charlie Keitch finished in 21st place in his first proper buggy run of the year with a time of 20:58; Lee Clarkson practiced his pacing pace in 26:48 and Chusa practiced and failed at her pacing pace in 28:11. Other Bentley runners on the course were Malcolm Jarvis (21:37); Gemma Camp (23:44); Meera and Anna Mills (26:07 for both of them); Stephanie Mills (27:17); Russell Clarke (27:31); Claudia Keitch (27:44); James McCullagh (30:44) and Craig Warriner (37:26).
Clacton Seafront saw Kevin James (25:51); Patrick Reynolds (29:24) and Claire Reynolds (31:54). At Harwich we had Ben Ficken (20:28); Richard Moor (21:06) Emily Zethraeus (29:57); Anna Young (32:32) and Cherie Hipkins (44:51). And to round up the parkrun report we head to Highwoods were John Booty momentarily lead the runners (no doubt pulled by his four-legged assistant). He went on to finish 7th overall in a time of 20:34. Also running with a furry friend was Craig Mitchell who finished 3rd in a time of 19:38. Paul Connell ran in 21:38 before heading out on holidays to snowy slopes. Completing the Bentley representation at Highwoods were Colin Farmer (24:06); Debs Hollidge (28:14) and Tomasz Komorowski (28:15).