Race report – week ending 19 September

I hope you are all well and have been enjoying the pleasant late summer/early Autumn running weather (until it came to an abrupt end today!), even if we do have to start digging out our high-vis and headtorches for those early and late sessions.

31 GBRC runners took part in a parkrun on Saturday. There was an even bigger Bentley turnout than usual at Clacton parkrun. Mark Jaspar and Harry Swinbourne continue to be among the first finishers, with Mark finishing 2nd in 18:32 (achieving a new PB) and Harry 4th in 18:59. David Balfour was pleased to get an impressive new PB of 23:40. Vicky Presland and Debs Hollidge completed it as part of a 14 mile long run, but still achieved speedy times of 24:42 and 25:36 respectively. Other finishers at Clacton were: Dave Jones (25:58), Bev Shortley (26:00), Claire Reynolds (29:28), Emma Welham (33:22), Stephen Cartwright (38:48), Brian Telford (39:37) and Sandra James (46:51). At Clacton junior parkrun on Sunday, Poppy Welham achieved a new PB of 14:10 and Albie Welham finished in 15:38.

Five runners completed Colchester Castle parkrun with impressive times: Charlie Keitch (19:31, 8th finisher), Paul Connell (20:04, 15th finisher), Scott Young (25:45), Claudia Keitch (26:28, 9th female finisher) and Teresa Farmer (49:07). Four took on the hills of Highwoods: Danny Draper (21:30, 6th finisher), Russell Clarke (23:17, 11th finisher), Christopher Warren (23:43, 13th finisher) and Paul Hollidge (38:37). It wasn’t a PB for Paul, but was a PB for Betsie, who we applaud for her resilience in getting over her previous DNF, but would still probably benefit from signing up for some hills sessions over the coming months. Martin Owen and Alan Johnson took a trip to Ipswich, completing the course in 25:48 and 30:24 respectively. Richard Moor was the lone representative at Harwich (22:21), and Rob Dyer and Caroline Talbot completed Felixstowe parkrun in 22:35 and 26:35.

Parkrun tourism is still alive and well, with Robin Oakley and Meera Rajoo-Oakley paying a visit to Congelton parkrun in Cheshire while in the area for a wedding, where Robin was the 16th finisher with a time of 21:39, and Meera was the 10th female finisher with a time of 26:47. Anna Mills completed Thetford parkrun in 27:52.

Paul and Betsie after Highwoods parkrun. I think it’s clear who tried the hardest.

Moving onto this week’s races … Phil Presland took part in the ‘Race4Business’, a 3.5 mile evening event around Chelmsford’s High Street and city parks raising vital funds for Havens Hospices. Phil was quite rightly very pleased to finish in 44th place with a time of 26:18, especially given some recent injury issues.

On Sunday, myself and 5 other Bentley runners completed the Pleshey half marathon, organised by Springfield Striders. It was a lovely route through the undulating country roads of Pleshey and the surrounding villages, and the event also served as the Essex half marathon championships. Mags Komorowska was the 18th female and 9th in her age group, with a fantastic new PB of 1:41:46. Paul and Sarah Davidson ran together to finish in 1:53:45 and 1:53:47 (although I hear Sarah might be hiring him out for their next event to anyone who would enjoy continuous in-race coaching). I was pleased to achieve a sub 2 hour half marathon time for the first time, finishing in 1:58:54, and Frank Gardiner and Alison Clarke finished in 2:14:22 and 2:20:29. We all enjoyed seeing the Great Bentley unofficial cycling club in the form of Tom, Daniel, Martin and Alex, who cycled a roundtrip of over 70 miles to be at the finish line. Thank you for your support!

GBRC runners before the Pleshey half

I continue to be impressed by the range of talents our members have. Only a week after completing the Brighton marathon, Leoni Harvey completed the one mile Swim Serpentine, an amazing achievement for someone who only learned to swim properly in April. Fiona Gosling walked 50 miles in 20 hours as part of the Surrey Tops event, organised by the Long Distance Walkers Association, and Claire Poole completed the Weymouth half Ironman in 6:09:33, taking 3rd place in her division. Congratulations ladies, great achievements all round!

Leoni with her Swim Serpentine medal

I wish you all another enjoyable week of training, and hope to see some of you at the new Thursday session at the Northern Gateway Park and/or at Geoff Day Memorial 5k on Sunday!