|Report||Despite fast 5km road races held at Harwich and Clacton this week, 6 Harwich Runners still attended their local Parkruns. Richard Neal was the sole representative for the club at the Ipswich event in Chantry Park. Lining up outside the cricket pavilion with 142 others, he duly impressed with an 8th place finish over the mostly offroad course in 20m 21s.
Over at the Colchester event in Castle Park, Richard Flutter completed his third race at this distance in 3 days, after racing at Harwich on Thursday and setting a new personal best at the first race of the Clacton series the night before. Despite tired legs, he managed a creditable 20m 12s, for 11th place overall and 2nd in the 45-49 age category. Not to be outdone, Madeline Lewis and Michelle Greenfield were also toeing the startline with three 5km races in their legs, after racing at both Harwich and Alton Water in the space of a week. Both ladies demonstrated a real show of strength to finish in 24m 17s and 28m 15s respectively, with Lewis placing 6th lady overall and Greenfield securing top spot in the 35-39 age category in her Parkrun debut. Completing the quartet was a more rested Kirsty Eary, who returned to tackle the hilly 2 lap course again after her debut last week. She raced back to the bandstand in a new personal best of 27m 02s.
Parkrun performance of the day however, came from Liz Smith. Smith chose to try out the recently opened Thetford course for her 10th Parkrun event. The grass and tarmac course around Abbey Meadows suited her, and she duly sliced over a minute off her previous Parkrun best as she stopped the clock in 26m 51s, placing her second in the 45-49 age category. Tempted to have a go? Parkruns are free to enter, with events held all over the country every Saturday morning. See www.parkrun.org.uk for further information.
|Event||Harwich 5k Race 1|
|Report||The Harwich Runners 5k Series made a much anticipated return to Cliff Park on Thursday 16th May for the first of the usual 5 races spread across the summer months. The handicapped style approach that sees each entrants start time staggered according to ability, with the fastest runners going off last, attracted a record 164 runners to the start line on what was a slightly breezy, cool evening.
The talk of the evening evolved around chips all thanks to the Harwich Runners newly developed chip timing system. The race numbers each carried a personalised electronic tag which is detected upon crossing the finish line. The advantages soon began clear with the finish being widened to the whole width of the promenade, instead of the previous single file funnel, making a spectacle to behold as a mass of runners all merged to claim their finish position.
In a time of 16 mins 17 secs Colchester Harriers star Chris Sellens claimed fastest man in 104th position bettering his series debut of last year by 15 secs. Just 4 seconds behind came CATS runner Sam Clayton with Robert Reason of Harwich Runners completing the top three in 16 mins 40 secs. Nicola Rodgers made sure Colchester Harriers took both top honours by taking fastest lady in an impressive 17 mins 37 secs. Team mate Sarah Ivory came second in 18 mins 28 secs with Harwich Runner Kate Hodgkiss making the most of her recent good form to come third in 19 mins 1 sec to match her previous personal best (PB).
Throughout the rest of the field many notable performances were to be found on what looks to be the beginnings of an exciting series. Harwich Runners to watch eagerly include those making a debut appearance as the consistency of the course and training improvements become apparent – Carrie Hook, David Watkins, Edward McCreadie, John Francis, Kieran Callaghan, Madeline Lewis, Mark Lloyd, Matt Doran, Simon Day and sisters Rebecca and Victoria McCrea all falling into this category.
Determination paid off for Angela Walton to claim 29th place in a personal best of 23 mins 55 secs. Another Harwich member to have efforts rewarded was Stephen Burbidge who’s recent dedication to a training plan tailored by club coach Peter Clarke catapulted him forwards to smash his PB set 5 years ago in 19 mins 20 secs. But celebrations of PB’s were numerous on the night amongst the Harwich camp with great performances coming from Anna Anderson, Arliss Porter, Colin Locke, Ian Cannons, Michelle Greenfield, Nick Beales, Richard Flutter, Sally Gillam and Sam Gooding-Matthews. Gary Donoghue (age) could also be one to watch after returning from a persistent injury to match his best time of last year on his return to racing.
In the 1 mile junior handicapped race Emily Donoghue claimed fastest girl and fastest overall in a time of 5 mins 48 secs with Archie Barrington close behind to take fastest boy in 6 mins 2 secs. Lucie Cottee, Paige French and Tara Bygrave took the top three finishing positions keeping the pack behind them for the duration of the course.
With handicaps adjusted runners will return to Cliff Park on 6th June to see how things pan out with the new time challenges they are given to race against.
|Event||Busy weekend round-up|
|Report||Last weekend proved one of the busiest and best of the year for Harwich Runners. At the Halstead Marathon, which included the county championship, Ann Piercy was Harwich’s star performer. She smashed her personal best and raced to an age group county gold medal, with a time of 4 hours 4 minutes 56 seconds. Julian Cordwell had one of his best runs for a few years, finishing the testing and undulating country lane course in 4 hours 20 minutes 53 seconds. Trevor Matthews, Anna Anderson and Louise Papworth ran the early miles together. All 3 finished under 5 hours, Papworth set a 9 minutes best of 4 hours 39 minutes 49 seconds, Anderson shaved 3 minutes from her recent London Marathon best with 4 hours 54 minutes 46 seconds and Matthews completed the trio on 4 hours 59 minutes 29 seconds.
At the Alton Water 10 kilometres and 5 kilometres races Steve Cooper got back to winning ways. Over some of his favourite running terrain, Cooper took victory over the longer distance in 36 minutes 59 seconds. Jasper Zeeuw impressed in 7th and 40.25. Jonny Zeeuw 12th in 41.24, Ben Hammond 13th in 41.26 and Ian Cannons 16th in 41.53 also performed strongly. Steve Kent was in the top 30 of the 420 runners in 42.52, with Claudine Tisbury well to the fore in the women’s competition in a time of 43.39. A good run came from Paul Kerrison 50.15. Paul Crowson 49.11 and returning Harriet Cookson 53.43 completed the busy Harwich squad. Over 5 kilometres Justin Cooper-Keeble led the Harwich entrants clocking 23.37 for 23rd. Promising Madeline Lewis was home in 24.38, followed by fast improving Michelle Greenfield 28.27
Harwich Runners were also winners at the Frinton &Walton 5 miles and half marathon races. Sam Gooding-Matthews dominated the 5 miles race, finishing nearly 3 minutes clear of the 2nd place finisher in 28 minutes 47 seconds. Nick Beales followed up a triathlon on Saturday, with a win in the over 50s age category on Sunday. Angela Walton has the long-term target of the Abingdon Marathon at the end of the summer. Her early training worked wonders, setting a best time of 1 hour 51 minutes in the half marathon. It was also good to see Kevin Bullock back in Harwich vest and racing over his local roads.
At the high quality Colchester 10 kilometres race, Robert Reason shook out any tiredness from his London Marathon exploits, placing 3rd in 33.41. Sometime training partner Brian Herrington was a good 9th in 35.43. Richard Flutter has recently struggled with illness and injury, but was still under 40 minutes with 3 seconds to spare in 43rd. Mike Barstow completed the Harwich team clocking 50.10 for 150th amongst the 350 competitors.
Further from home Will and Sarah Roxby took on the Keswick to Barrow 40 mile race for the second time. The course took in climbs through Grasmere, Elterwater, Coniston and Kirkby Moor. Adding to the challenge was the relentless rain, which only stopped for a downpour of hale. This did not deter the Roxby duo. Will beat his previous best time by 1 hour 27 minutes, finishing in 7 hours 29 minutes. Sarah went even better, shattering her best by 2 hours 10 minutes for a final 8 hours 38 minutes.
A host of other races taking place on the same weekend, combined with blustery conditions, meant that numbers were down a little on recent weeks at our two local 5 kilometre parkruns. Colchester’s Castle Park was the site of a thrilling finale that saw three Harwich Runners finish within a 6 second period. First home for the black and white vests was parkrun regular and much-improved Steve Burbidge. Coping well with the hilly course and strong winds, he recorded a time of 19m 56s, just one second off his PB, for 7th place overall and first in the 25-29 age group. Only 2 seconds behind was another Harwich stalwart Richard Flutter, who was also first in his age group (45-49 years). Richard Newman, continuing his impressive return to racing, was next in 9th position in 20m 2s. The fourth Harwich Runner taking part was Kirsty Eary. She was home in 27m 42s for 77th overall and 21st lady in field of 108 runners, for a good parkrun debut. There were also four Harwich Runners among the 130 athletes on the start line for the Ipswich parkrun on its return to Chantry Park. Despite the windy conditions, Sally Gillam finished in 25m 29s, improving by nearly 2 minutes on her previous outing on the course and bagging an easy win in the 50-54 age category in the process. She also finished 5th women overall. Unsurprisingly, Richard Neal was a little off his best in 20m 40s, only two weeks after completing the Manchester Marathon. It was still good enough for 11th place overall and first in the 30-34 age group. Ipswich parkrun debutant Faye Brown claimed a good 10th spot in the women’s race in 27m 31s, while Liz Smith completed the Harwich quartet in a time of 30m 39s.
|Report||Five members of Harwich Runners travelled to Wattisham airbase to compete in their
annual triathlon. The course consisted of a 300m pool swim, 20k bike ride
on the airfield/runway and a 5k multi-terrain run to finish. The bike
course is always quite windy, but it seemed as if extra gusts had been
ordered especially for the day. There were 258 competitors in all on what
was a very difficult day weatherwise over the three disciplines. Fastest of
the Harwich triathletes was Justin Burls who finished 28th overall and 6th
in his age category (45-49) in a time of 1-03.52. Next fastest was Nick
Beales, finishing 58th overall and first in his age category (55-59)in a
time of 1-08.21. Jeff Higgon maintained his 100% success rate since moving
up an age group. He sprinted home with thunder and lightening in the skies
to win his age category (60-64) in a time of 1.11.39 and place 90th overall.
Also competing were Peter Fraser-Hopewell, finishing 4th in his age category
(60-64) in a time of 1-20.55 and Jo Higgon, the only female Harwich
competitor, who also finished 4th in her age group (50-54) in a time of
|Report|| Harwich Runners were in action at 5km Parkruns all over East Anglia this weekend. Most popular was the Colchester event at Castle Park, with 5 black and white vests among the 139 participants. Simon Harrison made a commanding Parkrun debut, shaking the recent London Marathon out of his legs with a 3rd place finish in 18.43. Next home was the continually improving Stephen Burbidge, slicing 22 seconds off his Parkrun personal best in an impressive 19.55. Newcomer Francis Mills turned in a consistent performance, finishing just shy of his Parkrun best in 23.33.
Another Harwich Runner making their Parkrun debut was Madeline Lewis. She has improved considerably since joining the club last year, finishing in 24.13 for a top ten position among the ladies and 1st in the 30-34 age group. Chasing her home was another Harwich lady tackling her first Parkrun. Angela Walton has been in heavy training for the upcoming Harwich Triathlons and is looking to be getting back to her very best with a 24.28 clocking, proving that the hard work is paying off.
Over in Ipswich, “May the 4th be with you” meant Star Wars fancy dress was the order of the day as the Parkrunners celebrated the last race at Christchurch Park before the event moves back to its original home at Chantry Park. This saw a record attendance of 151 runners, and among them once again this week was Jonathon Burls, finishing just one second shy of his Parkrun best in 22.56 for a very respectable 30th position.
Finally, Richard Flutter further expanded his repertoire of Parkrun venues by calling in at the Brandon Country Park event as a stopover before heading to Kings Lynn to compete in the Great East Anglia 10k the following day. He led the race for the first 500 metres before unfortunately succumbing to breathing problems and having to settle his pace. Despite this, plus finding the cross country conditions on the forest based course tough going, he managed to finish in 5th position overall and 1st in the 45-49 age category in a time of 20.18. Interested in taking part? Parkruns are free to enter and are held in various parks all over the country every Saturday. See www.parkrun.org.uk for details.
Harwich Runners newcomer Richard Neal chose the city of Manchester for his debut marathon on Sunday. After a good spell of training and a strong run in the recent Joe Cox half marathon, Neal was aiming for a time below 3 hours 30 minutes. He set off feeling comfortable and running with a group at the required pace, to breeze through ten miles and half way. Twenty miles was reached in 2 hours 40 minutes, far quicker than any previous training runs over the distance, but spot on target tempo. Just after 20 miles the distance began to take its toll and combined with dehydration bought on a bout of servers cramps, which forced Neal to stop. After downing water and an isotonic drink, Neal was back on his way, but the last six miles were by far the toughest of his short running career. Still battling cramp, the determined Harwich athlete was under the finish line in 3 hours 59 minutes 46 seconds, to just break the 4 hours mark, a still notable achievement.
|Report||After the 26-mile adventure through the streets of London, the focus for Harwich Runners last weekend turned to the shorter 5k distance of the two local parkuns. Four runners from the club took part in the penultimate Ipswich run at Christchurch Park, before the event returns to Chantry Park. Richard Flutter, who continues to race despite injury, was some way off his best but was still the fastest for the black and white vests coming 12th in a record field of 142 runners in 19 minutes 51 seconds. In the cool but quick conditions, the other three club members present all recorded their best-ever times for the event. Jonathan Burls (22m 55s) and Mike Barstow (24m 31s) showed their training for the forthcoming Harwich sprint triathlon is progressing well, coming home in 39th and 60th position respectively. In her eighth appearance at the event, Liz Smith knocked 45 seconds off her previous best time to finish 25th woman in a time of 27m 58s. There was also a record turnout at the Colchester parkrun in Castle Park, with two Harwich Runners featuring among the 153 runners. Newcomer Francis Mills improved by over a minute on last week’s performance, to complete the 5k distance in 23m 20s, giving him 54th position overall. Another athlete with triathlon ambitions, Alison Bardell, was 18th women and 3rd in the 40-44 age category in a time of 26m 16s.|
|Event||Virgin London Marathon|
|Report||For Harwich Runner’s Robert Reason the streets of London were paved with gold. In Sunday’s marathon he raced to the performance of his life, shattering his own club record. Starting at a fast tempo, Reason just kept going, knocking out consistent sub 19 minutes 5 kilometre splits. The half way mark was reached in 77 minutes and there was to be no dropping out for the Harwich star. His pace hardly faltered in the second half, as he strode down the Mall, to pass under the finish-line gantry with 2 hours 36 minutes 16 seconds showing. The time was a 3 minutes improvement on his record and placed him 88th overall.
It was 30 minutes before the next black and white Harwich vest came down the Mall. Brian Herrington and Mark Rutter had gone into the race both holding best times of 3 hours 5 minutes. The duo swapped positions during the race, with Rutter having the early advantage. Both athletes found the last 6 miles very tough. First to reach the finish line was Herrington in a good 3 hours 6 minutes 55 seconds. Finishing just 3 minutes behind was Rutter, though short of his best time, he added another club veteran 50 plus record to his collection and was 105th in his category.
Andre Besant was another Harwich athlete to shine in the London sun. His 3 hours 14 minutes 58 seconds was a near 15 minutes improvement on his previous best and a tribute to his training with Harwich Runners. Simon Harrison also came away with a personal best. Following a cautious start Harrison was home in 3 hours 19 minutes 57 seconds and a near 5 minutes improvement.
Steve Tatum had completed the Barcelona Marathon a few weeks ago. Though the weather in London was hotter, Tatum was still quicker with a 3 hours 47 minutes 58 seconds finish time. Athlete of the month Sally Gillam showed familiar determination in the closing miles to finish in 4 hours 1 minute 55 seconds. There was a well-paced run from Penny Barrington. The last 6 miles proved very tough, but her efforts were rewarded with a near 20 minutes improvement and brilliant 4 hours 3 minutes 30 seconds finish.
Ann Piercy also had a determined run. Though slowing in the second half, she still clocked 4 hours 25 minutes 55 seconds to finish 110th in her age category. For Liz Smith London was one of a host of marathons planned for this year. She took it all in her stride to set a best time of 4 hours 44 minutes 24 seconds. Anna Anderson had enjoyed a good build-up to the race. Her efforts were thwarted on the day by injury, but she battled on to finish in a best ever 4 hours 57 minutes 36 seconds. Completing the Harwich team was Jo Higgon. With sponsorship resting on her shoulders, there was to be no giving up for Higgon. A final time of 5 hours 51 minutes 22 seconds was a brave run in Higgon’s one and only marathon.
|Report||You would be forgiven for thinking that London Marathon weekend would see a drop in attendance for the local 5km Parkruns in Colchester and Ipswich, as runners conserve their energy for the big one. However, such is the popularity of these free events that both venues boasted over 120 runners apiece. 3 Harwich Runners attended the Ipswich event at Christchurch Park. Richard Flutter has been unlucky in recent weeks, having just got over a cold and then promptly developing sinusitis, all while nursing an adductor injury. Nonetheless, he battled around the hilly 2 lap course for 13th place in a commendable 20.00.
Jonathon Burls is another Harwich Runner to have had recent training interrupted by illness. Undeterred however, he completed his debut local race in a fine 23.31, placing 44th among the 133 finishers. The Harwich trio was completed by Parkrun regular Liz Smith, who is showing a consistent streak of form by finishing just 11 seconds shy of her Parkrun best in 28.54.
The Colchester event saw just the one black and white vest toeing the line at the bandstand. Ali Bardell represented the club in style, however, winning the ladies V40-44 category in 26.00. Given the tough nature of the 2 lap course around Castle Park, Bardell is looking set to challenge her personal best when the fast and flat Harwich 5k series begins next month.