It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

The temperature is dropping, the nights keep getting longer and the John Lewis ad has hit our TVs. All the signs point to the only logical conclusion: Christmas will be upon us very soon. The season of office parties that may end with an embarrassed co-worker or two, of get-togethers with family and friends and of frantically go from shop to shop like a headless chicken because you have not bought all the presents yet. But it seems that all that activity can’t keep the Bentley Blues at home and whilst yours truly was stuffing her face with galette saucisse and drinking Breton cider on the other side of the Channel, you were out en masse running up and down East Anglia.

Saturday saw Anna Young taking part in the Festive Forest Challenge near Bury St Edmunds. Runners could choose a distance of 10k, half marathon or 20 miles. Anna went for the latter distance having taken part in the festival every year since 2015 but fears this may be her last time as a runner as her allergy to trees has worsen and she felt unwell during the run. Nevertheless, she highly recommends the event as it is family-friendly, caters for runners and walkers and raises money for a local charity.

Also raising money for charity and running with little Amelia was Tim Ballard, who took part on Sunday in the Santa Run at Colchester Castle Park. Father and daughter completed the 3k course in 18 minutes.

Emma Levett-Welham was also out and about on Sunday taking part in the Raynedeer 6-hour challenge with Zoe Reynolds. Emma ran 16 miles and Zoe went for the half marathon distance.

Sunday also saw Sue Wright, Belinda Palmer-Barnes and John Bush, aka the Three Amigos (I just made that up, go with it) running the self-navigating Santa Shuffle narrative trail run. They had fun and found the route good and muddy, with the odd hill or three thrown in for good measure. Anna Young also took to the run with a potential new recruit, Lauren, with whom somehow managed to get locked in the zoo. Luckily, they managed  to escape in time to win the fancy dress competition!

And now, ladies and gentlemen, for the main dish, the piece de resistance, the competition to end all competitions …. The Great Bromley 10 miler race between the Bentley Blues and the Black and Whites of Harwich!  Scott Young, Tomasz Komorowski, Paul Carlisle and Rodger Alexander did an excellent job organising the event and everybody who helped, be it in the kitchen trying to feed the hungry runners, out on the lanes encouraging them and ensuring their safety or taking down their times made it another great event and reminded us all that when the Club comes together great things happen.

I can imagine Eric’s printer asking for some well-deserved holidays after printing all the certificates for those who achieved Club Standards. There were so many! Paul Hollidge and Leoni Harvey achieved Bronze. Rob Dyer got a PB by some 4 minutes with a time of 1:14:59 and feels positive about achieving a Bronze Standard in the future. Those achieving a Silver standard were David Wright, Jon Mann, Craig Mitchell, Jason Cook, John Booty, Peter Benton, Mark Stevenson, Paul Carlisle, Kate Deyn and Martin West. After 18 months beating cancer and having recovered from a broken foot, Catherine Ott also achieved a Silver Standard with a smile on her face.

Are you still with me? I hope so because we have more standards to mention. Colin Farmer and Emily Zethraus landed Gold standards and so did Justine Sheekey who, with a time 1:12:26, also got a place in the Club Champs. Both Emily and Justine also attained a position in the Bentley Top-10 performance Hall of Fame. Proving that ageing can have some silver linings was Rodger Alexander also getting a Gold. Mags Komorowska ran in a PB time of 1:18:06 and not only got her hands on one of those Gold certificates, but also beat her nemesis whilst expertly paced by Paul Davison.  Alexandra Hennessy, Kevin James and Alison Clarke also obtained Gold Standards. And last but certainly not least in the Standard roll-call is Fiona Gosling with a Diamond.

Whether they achieved standards or not, one thing all runners agreed is that the event was a success, and not only because we retained the trophy (although that always helps, of course). Ryan Day was the first Bentley to cross the finish line and with a time of 1:02:18 got himself into the Club Champs. Danny Draper was very pleased finishing in ninth place with a time of 1:08:49 and thought that the route was fantastic despite the wind and the massive blister that he got for his efforts. Dave Jones (1:29:52) added that the breakfast was great, as well as the event.

I don’t know about you but just learning about your achievements makes me want to organise my holidays better to ensure I can take part in next year’s event!

A race report will not be complete without some mention of parkrun and this one is no exception, especially as we have a parkrun birthday to celebrate. Claudia Keitch ran her 150th parkrun at Colchester Castle on Saturday with Scott Young. Congratulations Claudia!  You don’t look a day over 149!

And with that dreadful joke I will take a bow and say goodbye to you all. For now, of course,  I will continue to write silly things after the Christmas break. I may not be able to get to the Club very often but you won’t get rid of me so easily (insert evil laugh here).