Doing things by halves


Our very own race director Scott Young

It is said (by Google at least) that February is the border between winter and spring and also the month of (commercial, fake, enforced – pick the adjective you prefer) love. If that is to be believed then this past weekend we experienced a lovers’ spat between the milder spring temperatures and the chilly winter wind. But a blustery day is nothing to our Bentley runners who went out running in several events, starting with parkrun on Saturday and finishing with the event of the season: our very own half marathon race.

Parkrun attracted blue shirts like our half marathon attracts cake eaters and by the windy coast at Harwich Dave Jones bravely fought the wind to complete the course in 25:51. Justine Sheekey wasn’t feeling 100% but despite a pesky winter cold she finished first lady in a time of 22:02.

Also on the coast Magdalena talked Felixstowe parkrun. She has been neglecting running on tarmac in favour of the mud of Highwoods but we all fancy a change every now and then and Mags decided to give the flat course of Felixstowe a go and encouraged by Paul Davison attained a PB by 14 seconds which came with a Gold Standard and Club Champs place with a time of 22:45. Mags has now achieved six of the available eight Gold Standard distances. Great work Mags!

Meanwhile Charlie Keitch tagged on Highwoods parkrun to a longer training run for Grizzly later in the year and as a consequence arrived 6 minutes after the start. He proceeded to overtake runners to finish 72nd in an official time of 30:48. One runner he could not overtake was Claudia Keitch who crossed the line in 29:27 and therefore beat Charlie fair and square. Phil Presland took to Highwoods in a relaxed manner with Paul Hollidge who graciously let him finish before him in a time of 26:02.

In Ipswich parkrun Martin Owen ran an unexpected time of 23:36 whilst in Clacton Poppy Welham achieved a new PB with a time of 44:43. Well done Poppy! Also on Clacton, the mysterious “Carry on Running” took 4 minutes of her/his time finishing in 34:01.

Also on Saturday some blue vests decided to run with their furry companions and took part in the Fido’s Forest Frenzy event. Davina Swindell took Charlie for what she expected to be a 5k run but ended being almost 4 miles long. They both finished in a time of 30:48. Kim Louise Booty also took to that distance in a sedate way, having not run in what for her feels like ages, and went round in 43 minutes. John Booty went a bit further, just over 7 miles. He finished in second place for that distance and was the first (and only) two dog male entrant.

Sunday say the unstoppable Anna Young (honestly, Anna – when was the last weekend you didn’t run? I’m impressed by your consistency) participating in the Suffolk Running Centre “Sushi” 10k. this was her longest run tabbing to date. Anna completed the winding and undulating route in 1hr 11min 31s. Great effort!

Sunday saw a sea of blue descend onto Great Bentley for the fantastic, sold-out event that is our very own Great Bentley Half Marathon. A race loved by local runners due to its flat course, the amazing cakes on offer and the no less amazing volunteers that help make it a success, it always sells out fast and is an excellent way for runners to test their fitness form as we enter the peak training season for spring marathons.

As race organisers, the majority of the blue vests tend to be hidden under a sea of hi-viz and dotted around the course as marshals, photographers and water-dispensers, behind the cake stall, in the kitchen, dealing with bags and doing all the bits and pieces needed to ensure that the race goes smoothly. It is thanks to all of you who help on the day that the race is the success it is and you just need to read all the positive comments on social media to realise just how amazing of a job you did. Or should I say we did, as I was also one of the hi-viz-clad people shouting nonsense at the runners.

Despite the high number of volunteers needed we always provide a few places to our runners – who always get extra loud cheers along the way. Paul Connell fought the wind surprised himself finishing better than expected in 1:32:00, claiming a spot in the Club Champs.  It was his first time running our half and he looked very happy with the race. Rob Dyer achieved a PB by three and a half minutes completing the course in 1:41:31. And Veronica Alexander worked hard on the course to achieve a Gold Standard. Congratulations for your achievements!

Robin Oakley was not as pleased with his time but admits that his training had not been the best. He set off too hard and didn’t have it in him to keep the pace past the 10-mile mark. Still, he was very happy to have participated in such a great event and thanked everybody for their encouragement.

Other Bentley runners on the course were Matt Julier (01:34:54); Rachel Rodgers (02:02:57) and Debs Hollidge (02:07:48).

David Jones had recovered from the windy Harwich parkrun and was a tail runner. It is hard work to not be able to run at your own pace but it is a much appreciated role by those runners at the end who may need the extra encouragement to keep going. As far as I know all runners came in under the three hours so I’m not sure what Dave told them but it certainly kept them going!

Special mention goes to Tonie Wilson who ran so hard that she almost collapsed in the last 50 meter but she kept going to cross the line in a Diamond-standard time. She then crawled out of the way and was attended by medics. She recovered well and made sure here chip was handed back so she would get her time officially recorded. Tonie – you’re an inspiration to us all!

I think it’s safe to say that at Bentley we don’t do things by halves, except marathons,  of course. But then, we do them pretty well, don’t we?