Fun in the April Sun!

This weekend saw lots of people fish out their Bentley Blue vest, or put on their brand new blue vest and get out there and race.

Harwich 400 Half Marathon was celebrating its return, having last been run in 1991, but first held in 1982. This year marks the 40th anniversary. It was originally due to be part of the 400th anniversary celebrations of the sailing of the Mayflower to America in 1620, the Mayflower having been constructed in Harwich. Many Great Bentley runners had signed up for this local event in late 2019, and after a 2 year wait, they were finally able to get to the start line. It was a two lap course taking in parts of Dovercourt and Harwich town. We had a bumper turnout with many runners putting their winter training to good use and getting a PB.

Tim Ballard 1:21:50 (PB); Harry Swinbourne 1:23:45; Paul Connell 1:25:21 (PB); Paul Davison 1:27:49; David Wright 1:27:51; Jonathan Mann 1:29:42; Phil Gilsenan 1:45:50; Rob Dyer 1:49:26; Grainne Hallahan 1:51:22; Patrick Reynolds 1:53:59; Martin Owen 1:54:30; Dean Pepper 1:55:09; Paul Arnold 1:55:29 (PB); Daniel Whymark 1:55:39; Sarah Davison 1:56:02; Peter Benton 1:56:03; Inga Hayden Cooper 1:56:14; Stephen Walsh 1:56:25; Leoni Harvey 2:00:45 (PB); Claire Poole 2:02:32 (PB); Fiona Gosling 2:03:36; Deborah Hollidge 2:04:19; Paul Hollidge 2:04:20; Louise Balfour 2:05:30 (PB); Tim Clifton 2:07:05; Caroline Talbot 2:07:10; Yolande Arnold 2:08:46; Larina Marsh 2:12:56; Mark Harris 2:14:46; Mark Crittenden 2:18:34; Frank Gardiner 2:32:27; Teresa Farmer 2:40:28; Helene Tyler 2:43:26, Barbara Law 2:44:13; Laura Cook 2:46:02 and Zoe Reynolds 3:13:03.

Laura Cook ran for the Brain Tumour charity and raised £4200, fantastic fundraising Laura, and Mark Crittenden also raised £260 for the Ukraine appeal. Paul Arnold ran the first race, in 1982 at the age of 9 and posted a photo as proof – 40 years ago, children were allowed to run a lot further!

Meanwhile, in Manchester the 4th largest marathon in Europe took place. We had 4 Great Bentley members running this, with Ryan Day running his last race for Great Bentley. Aiming for his dad’s top 10 performance time, he came in a few minutes after with 2:43:53 still taking third place on all time GBRC top 10. Richard Heath ran home in 2:56:17 which also puts him in our top 10 performances. Well done Richard! Charlie Keitch has been chasing a marathon PB for a while now and he was looking for one up in Trafford. In his own words: It was not much fun (he had cramp from 22 miles), but a combination of sheer bloody mindedness and the support of the crowd got me over the finish line. I was a little disappointed as I’d felt pretty good for much of the race. However, 3:10:33 is a big PB for me. I ran my first marathon in 2012 in 3:16:06 and despite many efforts to take a chunk off that time, the best I’d managed was just over a minute (also at Manchester in 3:15:03 in 2016). It’s taken me a long car journey home to realise it, but I should be chuffed with my time today. After 10 years I’ve finally taken a chunk off that time. Job done! Donny Day also ran a fantastic time, coming across the finish line in 3:17:25.

Saturday saw the usual great turnout at parkruns across the local area. At Colchester Castle, Emma Levett-Welham had gathered together Bentley Blues to help marshal and pace at the Autism Anglia parkrun takeover. It is autism awareness week and it was great to see so many people donning silly socks. At Harwich, Patrick Auer gained a PB with 22:00 and Jo Weatherell gained a parkrun PB too with her dog Heidi. Lisa and Jon Briggs took time out of their Center Parcs break to visit Brandon Country park parkrun. Jon ran under 24 minutes (23:48) for the first time in a while and Lisa was pleased to be in top 5 women with 25:39. Martin Owen is on a mission to do ‘nearest event not done’ and this week it was Thomas Mills in Framinglingham. It, unfortunately makes Martin’s list of boring parkruns as it is 2 laps of 3 fields! Full results for parkruns this week can be found here.

Sunday saw the welcome return of Ella Simpson at Junior parkrun with her second best time of 11:02 – great to see you back Ella proudly wearing your blue shirt and being 6th girl!