I think it is fair to say that August is a holiday month: school’s out and suddenly there is an increase of photos in social media of airports, beaches in idyllic locations, city breaks and such. To say that I am a little bit envious of you all is to understate the matter – I am positively green with envy. Alas! Someone has to hold the fort and write the race report. Besides, I will be saying hello from an airport beer in hand soon enough.
But back to topic, the topic being running because all the holidays in the world cannot take the Bentley shirts away from the several running events up and down the country.
At Clare Castle some of our blue vests were doing tourism of sorts, parkrun tourism of course. It was Phil Presland’s 50th parkrun and he celebrated the milestone with friends and family and a season’s best time of 23:52. This was his 10th different parkrun in three months. I’m dying to know which one will be next! Vicky Presland was nice enough to let Phil finish before her on this momentous event and was 3rd lady with a time of 23:55. Also running at Clare Castle were Debs and Paul Hollidge, who finished in 53rd and 54th position respectively with a time of 28 minutes. Rumour has it that Debs brought a cake to mark the occasion but it must have disappeared so quickly that John Bush did not get to taste it when he finished in 35:02. Some may say it was an imaginary cake (wink, wink, Scott).
Meanwhile in Brentwood Rob Ferguson was also doing a bit of parkrun tourism and recommended the pretty but challenging route that would be great cross-country training and which he completed in 13th finishing position with a time of 24:40.
Gemma Colling also opted to run on Saturday but she eschewed parkrun in favour of the Midnight Marathon on the South Downs. She highly recommends the hilly route for the experience of a night run rather than for the possibility of achieving a PB, which would have been extremely difficult.
Sunday started with the promise of sun and fair weather and then quickly dashed our hopes with wind and rain. I was caught out on my bike and what I had hoped would be a nice, gentle ride to stretch my achy legs ended up being a little bit of hell on two wheels. As I peeled of the soaking wet Lycra I couldn’t help but think of those running in Clacton and Rodger’s Trail and I cheered up a little knowing someone out there must be feeling at least as miserable as I did.
Clacton offered two distances: a 10k race and a two-lap half marathon. Justine Sheekey ran her first 10k race in a fantastic time of 47:53 despite the adverse conditions, earning a silver standard and finishing third in her age category and 9th female overall. Not to be outdone, Bev Shortley also finished third in her age category in 56 minutes 26 seconds. David Jones must have been stalking Bev as he crossed the line with a time of 56:34. Other Bentley participants in the 10k were: Chris Warren (40:19, 9th place overall); Sam Beardsell (50:12); Brian Telford (53:23); Alison Clarke (1:04:01) and Teresa Jones (1:06:15).
On to the half-marathoners and Paul Hollidge noticed a marked improvement in the organisation of the event since he last took part in 2015. The conditions were not favourable with the wind blowing hard by the seaside but he managed a fantastic time of 1:44:35 which earned him a bronze standard. Anna Young has been quiet on the running front lately due to on-going health issues but decided to get back on it in style and tackle the half marathon in 2:19:44 before changing into fancy dress and head to the Forest Fiesta, where she ran again finishing third lady and winning a bottle of Prosecco for her outfit. Great work Anna! No point in telling you to take it easy, right? Russell Clarke also took place in the half marathon distance with a time of 1:49:48.
Clacton Festival of running also included a Golden Mile fun run (although anyone who has raced a mile will tell you it is not necessarily fun when you really go for it). Angel Jasper participated in that event and I am sure that if she did not have fun during she certainly had it afterwards as she was the first overall finisher which is a new achievement for her and she was incredibly happy with, as she should be. I am sure there will be more first finishing positions in the future for this talented young lady. Understandable Angel’s father was very proud and proceeded to find a suitable trophy as the organiser sadly had nothing to mark the momentous occasion.
Sunday also saw a bunch of intrepid blue and purple vests take onto the fields to run Rodger’s Trail. The Preslands kindly offered their house as a base and it would appear that despite the compulsory detour that some runners took everybody made it back for the apple crumble.
And with this we wrap up yet another week of running fun! The days may be starting to shorten and I am already having a kind of nostalgia for the summer that has not yet finished but there is still a little bit of sunshine, a little bit more summer saying “don’t write me off yet! I can still give you nice sunny days so you can go out and enjoy yourself”.