The Bentley Benfleet Take Over

There wasn’t a huge variety of races this week (thank you for making my life easier!) but that’s because one of the favourite races in the running calendar was taking place and so many of you wanted to get stuck into the mud and hills that make the Benfleet 15 a sold out event year on year. So I am going to turn this race report on its head and start at the end and work backwards! I am personally yet to tackle this race but have previously done a sprint triathlon at Hadleigh Park so have a fair idea of the brutal yet perversely fun nature of the terrain!

Mud and hills – what Benfleet is all about

The website describes the race as a challenging multi terrain single lap course starting in Hadleigh Country Park, the route takes runners through the undulating Hadleigh Downs, along sections of the Benfleet and Canvey Island Sea Wall before finishing back at the Country Park. 19 blue vests took on the challenge, many had done it before and smashed their previous times and crazy Charlie Keitch came back for an incredible 6th time finally reversing the slower every year curse and achieving his 2nd best time just over 1.50. In addition to this course veteran the Bentley line up included: Richard Heath, Doug McGillivray, Tim Ballard (who were the first 3 blues back and nabbed the 1st team which is fantastic), Paul Connell, Paul and Sarah Davison, Tomasz and Mags, Craig, John Booty, Tricia Stacey, David and Teresa Jones, Rachel Rodgers, Emma Welham, Zoe Reynolds, Michelle Auer and Debbie Smith.

2 of the three 1st team victors

Sarah had to pull out as she was not back to her usual fitness following Covid – Sarah I’m sure you’ll be back up adding to your marathon medals in no time! Zoe also pulled out due to a painful foot but has pledged to do the whole course next year. You all should be proud for getting out there and not getting stuck!!! If you want to have a nosy at everyone’s times you can access the results here.

A way too happy Tom at mile 13

Now over to our juniors…a few donned their trainers and took on the two lap Colchester Junior parkrun. Roger Ferguson was first in (10:50) and then Ella Simpson (11:11) and Yasmin Leek (12:46) glad to see they are keeping up the training ahead of next Cross Country. My two have been too busy with gymnastics, trampolining and unicycling…

This leads me to the adult parkruns. We had representation at 7 events on Saturday, the furthest afield being Hampstead Heath parkrun where a lonely blue Chris Warren took to the course completing it in 20:48.

A more regular, local course and our first in Colchester before we became spoilt for choice (Colchester Castle of course) saw 8 Bentleys. First to finish was Danny Draper (21:14), then our first lady Meera (25:07), Simon Leggett (26:13), Wicksy (27:07), Darren David (27:31), Scott Young (28:42), Claudia Keitch (28:47) and then Zoe Reynolds decided she wanted to both get some exercise and volunteer so she tailwalked the course (1:02:24).

Continuing in alphabetical order we have Clacton Seafront next where Mark Jasper came in 1st and not for the 1st time either. He bagged himself a PB too with a cracking 18:09!! Also sneaking in the top 10 in position 8 was Scott Brian (22:20) and then another 11 blues followed: David Balfour (23:44), Patrick Auer (24:30), Brian Telford (25:30), Patrick Reynolds (27:26), Graham Clarke (28:16), Fiona Gosling (28:48), Bev Shortley (32:37) who was pacing one of our newer runners Bee Brent (32:34) – Bee if you could add GBRC as your club on your parkrun profile that would be really helpful and mean we don’t accidentally miss you off in the future, Kevin James (32:37), Claire Reynolds (33:21) and Stewart Baggs (37:01).

We had 2 runners at Great Notley with Rob Dyer claiming 5th place in 21:47 and Caroline Talbot finishing in 27:09.

Now for another localish and favourite course…Harwich. Inga was absolutely flying – she really is on top form at the moment and claimed 2nd female in 23:14. Our first male Martin Owen was not far behind her in 23:24. They were followed by 4 Bentleys; Stephen Walsh (24:30), Lee Clarkson (25:26), Gary Cooper (32:13) and Belinda Palmer-Barnes (34:48).

Highwoods had 7 of the clan taking to the hills with Paul Connell romping back in 21:49 for 5th place, next was Malcolm Jarvis (24:58), Jonathan Briggs (25:30), then the Hollidges and the Komorowskis finishing close together (Debs 30:23), (Paul 30:25), Mags (30:43) and Tom (30:44). Looks like they have been practising their running in unison!

You put your left foot in….

Charlotte Hammond was the only blue to take on the still relatively new Markshall Estate course (28:47).

There was one other race that took place on Wednesday – it was a muddy 5.5 mile trail run in the dark. Phil and Vicky took on the Pitch Black event, hosted by Essex Trail Events. It started in Purleigh at the Roundbush Pub and finished there with chicken pasta bake! Phil finished in 1:00:24 and Vicky 1:01:41. Obviously he wanted to keep a bit of distance between them!

I’m assuming its a before photo?

And that’s a wrap for this week’s report – I look forward to seeing what you all get up to next weekend.