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EventGreat Bentley Half Marathon
ReportLast Sunday saw the latest running of the extremely popular Great Bentley Half Marathon. The 800 entries had sold out in around 2 hours back in October but a good number of Harwich Runners had managed to secure their place on the start line. For the first time in many years the conditions were kind to the runners who normally have to contend with strong wind and often snow on the exposed, winding country road route. This led to a number of excellent performances, many personal bests (PBs) and a few club records tumbled. First home in the black and white vest was Rob Reason in 74 minutes 12 seconds in 11th place, closely followed by Stephen Peck in 14th. Peck’s time of 74m 34s was enough to see him finish second in his age category (MV40), smash his previous best by 2 minutes and in the process lower his own club record for that age group. That set the tone of the day. Mark Rutter cut it fine to grab the MV55 club record; his time of 89m 49s beat a 19 year old standard by just 2 seconds. 2018s most improved runner Lee Allen set a new PB of 86m 59s. Chris Payne ran his fastest half marathon in a Harwich vest (93m 18s) and there was a big PB for Will Roxby-Clarke who lowered his PB by almost 4 minutes to 97m 26s. Madeline Lewis took over 3 minutes off her PB to finish in 1 hour 40m 52s and there were also new PBs for Nicola Challis in 1h 46m 57s and Emma MacKillop who was running only her second half marathon and managed 1h 42m 3s. Not missing out on the PB party was Jules Lawrence who improved by 2 minutes to 1h 45m 51s. Several runners were taking on a half marathon for the first time in Harwich colours including Allan Bush who recorded a very decent 97m 14. Others racing the distance for the first time were Kelly Peck, Angela Walton, Dean Splarn, Karen Barker and Muriel Lovering. There were also strong runs from marathon hopefuls Simon Day (82m 45s) and Robin Brookes (85m 25s) whilst Simon Harrison almost matched his time from last year here (85m 17s). Other club members among the 666 finishers completing the 13.1 mile course were Valentina Burley, Stuart Raffle, Jez Downs and Lian Meachen. Meanwhile Steve Cooper travelled to Chichester to take part in an exceptionally high quality 10k race. Cooper did well to record a time of 35m 54s which placed him 106th
ReportThe 4th race in the North Essex Cross Country league took place on a mild grey morning last Sunday on the outskirts of Ipswich. The race saw the biggest attendance of runners at any of the races this season with 332 adults completing the main 5 mile course. Harwich Runners had an excellent turnout of 41 runners and produced their best combined position so far in the series. The men’s team was led home by Stephen Peck in 9th place overall, 4 places ahead of Graeme Knott. Josh Newlyn was thankfully available for a second successive race and took 29th ahead of Mark Lloyd in 37th. There was another good performance from Matthew Friend in 41st with Simon Day, Robin Brookes and Archie Barrington completing the scoring 8 for the club inside the top 75 places. Useful support runs from Sam Gooding-Matthews and Mark Rutter helped the men to a 3rd place finish. There were welcome debuts for Andrew Williamson and Trevor Lewis. In the ladies race, Harwich had a seasons best 11 runners completing the distance. Ellie Burke was the first black and white vest to finish in 22nd place, just ahead of Madeline Lewis and Rachel Jarvis, who was making her first appearance at a cross country for several years. Victoria McCrea completed the scoring quartet for the ladies team in 42nd and there were strong supporting runs from both Hannah Jarvis and Nicola Challis. The ladies finished 5th to give the team a 4th place combined placing There was also a Junior run. Daisy Ward was the first girl home for Harwich, finishing 4th in the U13 category and 13th overall. Jemima Garner was 5th in the U11 group for the girls where there were also good performances from Eleanor Newman, Isabella Ward, Eryn Lewis and Sophie Cripps. Dalia Jaballah represented the club in the U15 category. Harwich also had Charlie Newman and Jack Manley running in the boys U11 group and Michael Knowles was the highest placed finisher for the club in 21st overall. The remaining two races in the series is at Hadleigh on 10th February and at Halstead the week after.
EventSaturday Essex Cross Country
ReportAfter a break for Christmas ,the Saturday Essex Cross Country season continued with an outing to Writtle. There were 149 ladies in the senior race and 4 of them had travelled from Harwich. Madeline Lewis was the first black and white vest home in 62nd place of a competitive field. Elspeth Knott was next and was first in her FV 65 age category. There were also strong runs in the FV55 group from Anne Herbert and Christina Pretty. Harwich had no runners in the junior races but did have six finishers in the senior men’s race. Quickest of those was Rob Reason who completed the course in 37th place overall, three minutes behind the race winner from Southend. Simon Day and Robin Brookes finished within 20 seconds of each other in the middle of the 230 strong field. Also representing the club were Trevor Lewis, Steve Manley and Roly Knott.
EventClub Winter 5 mile Handicap Race
ReportHarwich Runners held their annual winter handicap 5 mile race last weekend. Run on a flat course of country roads behind Lawford, the route is ideal for quick times and a good place for club members to target personal best times. Run on a handicap basis with runners attempting to beat their predicted times the overall winner was Steve Manley who beat his carefully calculated estimated finish time by the most (nearly 4 minutes). His time of 40 minutes 13 seconds was by far the quickest he has managed since joining the Harwich Runners club. Second place went to Roly Knott with Emma MacKillop in 3rd. For MacKillop, who joined the club earlier this year, her time of 37m 31s was a new personal best. Others taking advantage of the good weather conditions and recording new best times were Alan Gardner, Donette Tiniakos and Jean Weir. Young Archie Barrington continues his improvement; having recorded his best time in the summer handicap on the same course he knocked another 10 seconds off that on Sunday to post 31m 7s. New to the club is the highly promising Matthew Friend. His only previous outing over this distance was at Great Bentley in July but he showed how far he has progressed already by improving to an impressive 30m 19s and will be one to watch in 2019. Tony Anderson recorded his quickest time for this distance since 2014 with a time of 42m 42s. Mark Rutter (31m 45s) and Ben Hammond (34m 8s) also posted their quickest times in at least the last 2 years. There were debut 5 mile races for Rebecca McCrea and Clare Fraser-Hopewell. The quickest time recorded on the day by any of the 35 runners was by Rob Reason (27m 38s) followed by Graeme Knott (28m 16s) and Steve Cooper (28m 42s). Madeline Lewis was the fastest lady, finishing in a decent 36m 16s. Elsewhere Scott Brian was in Thetford taking on a 10km trail race. He finished in 46m 35s which is his quickest over that distance on any terrain.
EventGreat Bentley 10 mile
ReportGraeme Knott led right from the start and for most of the race he had fellow club member, Matthew Friend alongside him. In the latter stages of the race Knott pulled away to finish first in 61m 25s. Matthew Friend held on to second place finishing in 62m 17s, thirty one seconds clear of the third finisher, Bentley runner Adam Smith. The next Harwich Runner to finish was Robin Brookes in sixth place, (65m 29s). Club members Andre Besant, (68m 19s) and Mark Rutter, (68m 55s), took ninth and tenth places. Mark Higgs was twelfth in 69m 17s a five minute improvement on the same course last year. Will Roxby-Clarke recorded 72m 50s and Madeline Lewis was second finishing lady in 77m 44s. There were also good runs from Phil Sanderson and Julian Cordwell.
ReportLast weekend saw the NESS Cross Country league make its annual trip to Ramsey for the race organised by Harwich Runners. The day saw a strong showing from the host club. The men’s team took an impressive 4 of the first 12 places. Rob Reason was the first black and white vest home in 4th place. Steve Cooper in 7th, Graeme Knott in 10th and Stephen Peck in 12th put the team in a strong position. Archie Barrington (45th) and Matthew Friend (59th) continued their good performances in this year’s series. Completing the scoring eight were Josh Newlyn making a welcome return in 49th and Simon Day in 60th. Just outside the scorers were strong supporting runs from Sam Gooding-Matthews and Charlie McCarthy. Among the 206 men running there were cross country debuts for Tony Gillies and Allan Bush. The men’s team placed 4th in the top Pool overall. 10 ladies from Harwich were among the field of 97 in that race. For the second race this series Ellie Burke was the first runner from the host club to finish taking 23rd place. Karen Stapleton and Victoria McCrea were both running their first cross country races of the season and scored for the team finishing in 35th and 38th respectively. Carrie Hook completed the scoring quartet. Also making their first appearances this series were Valentina Burley, Katie Holmes and Ann Piercy. The ladies placed 5th to give the combined team a 5th placed finish. In the junior race 104 youngsters took on the mile course. There were 3 local boys in the field. Michael Knowles was 22nd overall, Jamie Carter was 4th in the U11 category with Jack Manley making his cross country debut. For the girls both Annabel Brookes and Dalia Jaballah both had good runs in the U15 group. The week before, four runners tackled a trail half marathon. Stepehn Peck and Robin Brookes navigated their way to 13th and 14th place in a time just over 1 hour 49 minutes, just six minutes behind the winners of the race. Gina Jaballah and Jacky Lindley also worked together to complete the course in 3h 39m. Meanwhile Steve Cooper finished 4th in a 12k Cross country race at Ipswich.
EventHadleigh 10
ReportLast Sunday saw Harwich Runners represented at a few different local events. The majority went to Hadleigh where both a 5 and 10 mile option were available. In the 5 mile option Harwich Runners had the first and third finishers. Steve Cooper produced his fastest 5 mile time of the year of 28 minutes 43 seconds to pinch the win by a narrow 2 second margin in a field of 147 finishers. Archie Barrington ran a good 31m 26s to take a very credible 3rd place. Also in action over the 5 mile distance were Nicola Challis and Sarah Roxby-Clarke who has completed 53 different running events during this calendar year. More popular was the 10 mile option which attracted 175 runners. Simon Day was the first black and white vest to reach the finish line. Day completed the undulating course in 65m 47s to take 15th place overall and 3rd in the MV40 category. There was a new Personal best for Lee Allen whose time of 66m 28s was almost a minute faster than he had managed previously. Other recording new best times were Anne Herbert, Kevin Fitchett and Christina Pretty. There were also some runners racing the 10 mile distance for the first time in a Harwich vest; Kim Pretty, Ian Bolton and Kris Dalby all finishing well on the day. It was good to see Andre Besant and Phil Sanderson back in race action for the club and Jo Higgon ran her quickest 10 mile race of the last few years. Rob Reason travelled to Chelmsford to take his place amongst the 462 runners taking on the 10k race there. A regular at this race, Reason finished 4th overall in a very good time of 34 minutes 33 seconds, his quickest time since 2016. Chris Payne also ran a 10k but was at Southwold where he finished 45th out of 753 runners in a time of 42m 34s.
ReportThe second race in the NESS cross country series took place at the weekend with over 300 runners descending on Great Notley Country Park in a race hosted by Witham. The Men’s team performed well finishing 5th overall. Rob Reason was the first black and white vest home in 8th place. Stephen Peck was 22nd, just ahead of Graeme Knott and Mark Lloyd. Matthew Friend was again amongst the scoring 8, taking 54th place. Archie Barrington, Robin Brookes and a returning Sam Gooding-Matthews completed the scoring team with all 8 runners finishing within the first 70 places. There were strong supporting runs from Simon Day, Charlie McCarthy and Chris Payne as well as a debut for Craig Robinson. The ladies team was led out with a good run from Ellie Burke who finished 29th overall. Nicola Challis made her first appearance of the season, taking 44th and the scoring quartet was completed by Carrie Hook and Anne Herbert. There was a first cross country run for Jacky Lingley. The combined team effort again placed the team 6th in Pool A. There was also a junior race. Three boys and five girls from Harwich took part. Michael Knowles ran in the MU15 group and was 19th overall. Jamie Carter ran well again, finishing third in his age group (MU11) and Jack Manley ran his first cross country for the club. Daisy Ward finished an impressive 11th in the girls race and 4th in her age group. Jemima Garner went well in the FU11 category with Dalia Jaballah, Eleanor Newman and Isabella Ward also appearing in the black and white vests. After two races the juniors sit 5th overall out of 11 teams. The next race in the series takes place on November 25th and is a home fixture for Harwich Elsewhere trying something different, Friday Fright Night 5 mile at Great Notley near Braintree, Sarah Roxby-Clarke (42m 58s) and Andrew Thorn (44m 21s) were among the 122 finishers
EventSpringfield Striers
ReportThe first cross country race of the new season took place last weekend at Writtle near Chelmsford. The weather was surprisingly pleasant giving the runners a good start to the season. Harwich Runners were back in the top pool, having bounced back from relegation at the first attempt in some style and will be seeking to remain in Pool A. Now needing 8 men and 4 women to score and with a number of good runners unavailable though the club finished 6th out of 6 in the first race run over an approximate 5 mile distance. In the Men’s race Stephen Peck was 8th overall and the clubs best placed runner on the day. Mark Lloyd in 23rd was next and regular cross country runners Archie Barrington, Simon Day and Robin Brookes all collected valuable points for the club. The men’s team finished 5th in the pool. There was an extremely promising debut for Matthew Friend with Ben Hammond and Mark Higgs completing the scoring team of eight. Scott Brian, Kim Pretty , Paul Smith, Steve Manley and Kris Dalby all ran their first cross country races in a Harwich vest. The ladies team was missing the consistently scoring Claudine Benstead among others. Frequent cross country runner Madeline Lewis was the first black and white vest to finish in 23rd. Carrie Hook is returning from a lengthy injury and scored at Writtle with Elspeth Knott and Anne Herbert completing the scoring quartet. The ladies placed 6th on the day. It was pleasing to see a couple of debut runners here too with Christina Pretty and Gina Jaballah completing their first race. In the Junior race, 91 youngsters took part. The only boy was the promising Jamie Carter who was 3rd in the MU11 group finishing 23rd overall. Daisy Ward was 4th in the girls U13 category and there was a good debut by Dalia Jaballah in the FU15 group. All the other Harwich Junior representatives on the day were in the girls U11 group and Jemima Garner finished an impressive 2nd in that category. There were also good runs for Eleanor Newman, Eryn Lewis and Isabella Ward all helping the girls to a healthy 5th placed ranking after one race. The next race takes place this coming Sunday at Witham.
EventTiptree 10 miles
ReportA group of runners from Harwich travelled to the popular Tiptree 10 mile event. The scenic and undulating course provided some notable performances. Stephen Peck has not raced much since the Halstead marathon in May but decided to test himself on this course. Peck finished 8th overall in a high quality field in a spectacular time of 56 minutes 46 seconds and was second in his age group on the day. He also claimed a new Harwich Runners club record in the MV40 category. Claudine Benstead had another terrific run, claiming victory in the FV55 group with a stunning 70m 46s effort. It was her best time over the distance since 2015 and just short of her own club record. Lee Allen produced a new personal best time of 67m 18s, bettering his time from Chelmsford last November and finished a little way ahead of Simon Day in 67m 55s. Also recording his fastest time over this distance was Andrew Thorn whose time of 81m 12s was far quicker than he managed at Witham earlier in the year. There were also good performances from both Jeff and Jo Higgon and a wonderful return to action for Paul Brown who has had an extremely lengthy injury forced spell out of running.

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