A festival of running

Well, well, well … for my own selfish reasons (i.e. to have a nice short race report) I was hoping that the Bentley Blues would take a break from this running malarkey. Alas! It was not to be and you have been a very busy bunch, as usual. But, faced with all the great performances how can I complain? You all did amazingly well during the past week and deserve a round of applause.

Things got underway early on a wet and dreary Wednesday evening with the third Micky Edwards heat. The results have been uploaded to the club website for all to see. After that heat Russell Clarke tops the table with 50 points, with Sam Beardsell second with 49 points and Bev Shortley claiming a provisional bronze position with 48 points. It’s too close to call! Special mention goes to Mark Harris who liked his first Micky Edwards race so much he got a PB. That rainy Wednesday was also the day of the Essex County 5000 metres Track Championship. The event was not as popular as our own 5000-metre race and ladies’ captain Meera thinks that was a shame, hoping that next year we can field a bigger team. As things stood, it was down to “Meera and the Robs” (get your copyright for the next cover-band at the ready) to represent Bentley on the track. Meera Rajoy-Oakley was pleased with her time of 22:50, her fastest 5k time this year, even if she lost some precious seconds running on the second lane. Robin Oakley completed the 12.5 laps of the track in 21:13 and rounding up the “Robs” was Rob Ferguson, who ran a magnificent “tempo” run of 19:35, as he trusted his watch to guide his pace and was let down by that particular piece of GPS technology. Rob, I think it is fair to say a sub-19 cannot be far away for you and I look forward to report on that one.

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The “Robs” and Meera in the Essex 5000m track champs

Also running the 5k distance that day was Helen Carey who achieved a first in her age category in the Birketts Race4Business at Chelmsford despite the rain. She did not mind so much the rain as the lack of silverware, mind you.

Saturday got off to a running start at 9.00am with parkrun. In Highwoods Magdalena and Tomasz Komorowscy run together finishing one second apart in 28:06 and 28:07 respectively, with Tomasz encouraging Mags not to walk up the hills. Phil and Vicky Presland headed to South Woodham Ferrers for a spot of parkrun tourism. Vicky was first lady home with a  time of 22:55 whilst Phil improved his last time at the course (not that difficult considering that was a post-wedding celebrations run) with 24:30. In Mersea Island Chusa roped her brother, who is visiting from Spain, into joining her in the 5k run. She finished in 24:50 and her brother achieved his 2nd parkrun. At Colchester Castle parkrun the run became an unintended “ultra” when events in the lower park meant that a route other than the standard “yellow” route was used and there was a hiccup with the placing of a marshal by the river. Never mind! Who doesn’t like a little bit extra added to their morning run? Rob Ferguson completed his 97th parkrun in 28:16 and is edging ever so close to that important milestone that is parkrun number 100. Caroline completed the extended route in 34:44 and Anna Lyon was first in her age category with a time of 28:57.

Saturday saw the beginning of the Suffolk Trail Festival, an event hold on farmland near Bury St Edmunds that offered runners the possibility to participate as teams, pairs or solo runners. We all know how some Bentley Blues like their running combined with camping (crazy people if you ask me) so several members headed to the event which offered several distances as well as a 24/12hr options to complete as many laps as possible.

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Happy campers at Suffolk Trail Festival

Paul Connell went for the 10k option, finishing 5th overall in 44:55. He enjoyed the course despite not being happy with his performance, no doubt affected by a very sore right foot. Taking part in the 10k option were also Kevin Pyle with a time of 58:54 and Sue McKay, 1:36:39.

Nick Goodman opted to run solo for 12 hours and, after amending his running strategy to incorporate some walking (and finally do without running altogether), completed 50 miles during that time, stopping only to answer the calls of nature.

And then we have those runners who decided to tackle the 24-hour race,  starting with the solo runners. Tim Ballard proved that he’s going from strength to strength completing 100 miles and finishing third in the solo male category. In this his first 24hr event he won the coveted 100-mile buckle despite admitting a certain lack of training that was probably the reason for the trouble he had with his right foot (seems to be a theme of the festival) which meant that he had to resort to walking. Tim wisely decided to stop the laps once he reached his 100-mile target to avoid making his injury worse and  greatly enjoyed the event and the atmosphere near the start/finish line.

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The coveted 100-mile buckle

Also flying solo were Paul Davidson, who completed 75 miles, and John McKay with 30 miles. Emma Wakeling was doing it for the solo girls. She was aiming to complete 40 miles but after having an epiphany at mile 27 during which she decided that she was going to enjoy herself, she achieved 50 miles involving a very tough last lap, some walking breaks to enjoy the surroundings and some very smelly portaloos. She reported perfect weather, lovely marshals, plenty of food and drink to keep her going and a very dodgy walking style after finishing (we want video evidence, please).

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A very happy Emma after a mammoth 50 miles

Debs Hollidge and Scott Young ran as a pair for Team Hoof Hearted, with Scott running 40 miles not fast enough to allow for a final lap for Debs, who completed 35 miles. Team Waldaf and Stadler, aka Rodger Alexander and Paul Carlisle, ran a total of 110 miles. To round the Bentley Trail Festival presence in Suffolk were Team GBRC Team 1 (Mike Deed, Helen Carey, Sara Davidson, William Woodhall and Peter Benton) covered a total of 165 miles and were first amongst the small teams.

Trail running seemed to be the theme of the weekend with a group of intrepid Bentley runners taking on Ridley’s Half Marathon Trail Run on Sunday. Some of them had a better sense of direction than others meaning that the total mileage per runner varied between 13.1 and 15 miles, depending on whether you got lost or not. The group was formed by Neil Robins, Dave and Teresa Jones, Emma Levett-Welham, Leoni Harvey, Mark Crittenden (who may or may not have been scared by a field of cows), Veronica Alexander and Jo Smith. They all agreed that it was a great event, a bargain at £5 entry and will highly recommend it, especially as judging by the photos circulating in social media, the hydration stations looked a lot like pubs.

Sunday was also the chosen day for the Maisie Fun Run/Walk, a charity 5 miles run in Clacton. Anthea Colsell run with Phil Presland and was first lady home with a time of 41:26. Tom was second runner home in a time of 33:55. Davina Swindel also took part completing the course in 42:42.

But that is not all! At Capel St Mary the Capel Cheetahs held their annual 5 mile run. Bev Shortely finished the race, which she described as a very well organised event, in a time of 43:20. Anna Young was not far behind her and finished in 44:29. Frank Gardiner took home the award for first in his age category with a time of 41:36.  Also running at Capel was Mags, who seems unable to stop running at the moment. But what should she, when she achieved a prize for being first in her age category with a time of 39:12? I don’t know you but I’m going to find out what she and Frank have as pre-race breakfast!

Also on Sunday Emma Young accompanied by four-legged Jynx completed 3 laps of the 1.5k Foxes Farm OCR. This was a timed event, recommended for the whole family. Emma could have started a fourth lap within the time-frame by Jynx was too tired for that.

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Jynx and Emma enjoying the mud

I am sure by now you will be thinking: “this report is all well and good but … what about the Friday 5?” What about it, indeed! I have been saving this for the end in what I would like to call a Friday 5 Special brought to you by Colin Farmer, who was so kind as to provide his first-hand account of the proceedings at the Sudbury race last Friday.

Sudbury Friday 5 miles

Points for individuals and teams are usually published near the end of the week. It seems on a Thursday so you go into the race the next day knowing where you are and put pressure on yourself to maintain position or improve. After two races Emily ZethraeuSTAR is joint second in the female category and also in her age category. MagsNIFICENT is first in her age category. Sue Wright and Colin Farmer are both fifth in their age categories. GREAT BENTLEY are sixth, surprisingly, as we just managed to field enough runners. Points that count are the first five females and first five males. Females are carrying the men. At Sudbury we only had four females and it is thanks to Anthea Colsell who only entered in the week leading up to the race otherwise we would have had only three. So if there are runners out there that cannot make the next race at Bury, post on Facebook or contact Mags. You might be able to transfer to another Bentley runner via the Friday 5 website. Female team is one short.

Now onto the Sudbury race. Rob Blackman also entered late for the race and should have led the Bentley team home but struggled. Maybe the hill caused the main problem which will be a common theme. It fell to Emily to bring the team home. Emily was very impressive coming in as first female [33:40] and it will show when the points come out next week as being in second position, not joint anymore. Also what might have helped is a few runners mentioned the course profile to her. The first one and half miles being flat followed by a mile of a hill. It does level out a bit before resuming the climb in the mile and then it is downhill after that with a few bumps. Easy!! Emily and Frank were the only two to improve on their times from last week.

Duncan Scott [34:45] brought the men’s’ team home followed by Rob Blackman [34:58]. Colin Farmer [36:44] was next and very disappointed with his time. Maybe the hill was tougher than he thought. Mags [37:54] was next and second in her age group and will probably stay in first place when the results come out after three races. Mags does realise that there are two runners that have 500 points and have only raced once. Standings can all change between now and the last race and if she can keep coming in the top three she has a chance of a medal. Only four races count.

Tomasz and Rob Dyer were playing cat and mouse during the race trying to chase down Colin. In the end Tomasz [with a 5-mile PB time of 36:57] beat Rob [37:03] with Tomasz being only 13 seconds behind Colin and Rob a further 6 seconds behind Tomasz. Anthea [41:26] was next but third for Bentley and 6th in her age category, very impressive. Frank [42:43] was next and then Teresa [50:37]. Teresa being fourth lady home for the team and found the hill a challenge but improved on her age category by a few places from the previous race.

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The Sudbury Friday 5 runners

Nearly the whole team had the obligatory feed after the race with Caroline Talbot [Ipswich Jaffa] (4th in her age category). No, not cake, McDonalds.

That’s all from me folks! Remember to keep hydrated when running in the warm weather. I can’t wait to read what you all get up to next week!