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EventLondon Marathon
ReportThe London Marathon is probably the most high profile in the race calendar and a record entry lined up for the start last Sunday. After months of hard training through some seriously cold weather, the runners had to contend with conditions which made this year’s race the hottest since it started in 1981. Whilst the elite athletes can train and prepare in heat and altitude the rest don’t get that opportunity and the heat had an effect on the results, particularly in the second half of the event. Five members of Harwich Runners completed the race this year all doing well to finish with good times. Rob Reason is the club record holder for the distance (2 hours 34 minutes) and after missing last year’s race through injury was keen to make amends this year in his 6th London marathon. With over 40000 runners starting the race, Reason completed the 26.2 mile distance in an excellent 2h 49m 15s and in 398th place. Simon Day had realistic hopes of also finishing inside 3 hours having managed that at Brighton last year but, in the conditions, he couldn’t quite achieve that, still finishing well in 3h 15m 2s. Mark Higgs was lucky enough to get a place through the ballot at his first attempt. Raising money for 2 charities (ARK and MAZE Harwich), Higgs paced his run sensibly well to finish in 3h 51m 37s. There was a debut marathon for Nicola Flatt who helped the Brain Research UK charity with a very healthy amount. She battled through the heat to finish in 5h 4m 55s. Also in her first marathon, Katherine Pleace showed a terrific amount of courage and determination to complete the course in 6h 54m. Pleace was running for the miscarriage association and raised significantly more than the £1500 she set out to achieve. Elsewhere, Matt Doran decided to travel to Vienna for his 13th marathon. In a field of 4258, Doran ran a really well paced 4h 11m 47s to finish inside the top half of all the finishers.
ReportAt the local Parkrun on Saturday club members occupied most of the top places. Graeme Knott first, (17.58), Simon Harrison second, (18.48). First lady Claudine Benstead, (20.49), third lady Karen Stapleton, (22.24). Michael Knowles was second Junior, (20.39), and Eddison Barker third, (21.36), both achieved a new Personal Best, (PB). Other club members to record new PBs this week were, Jules Lawrence, 21.48, Andy Carter, 22.39 and Jo Higgon, 28.08. Club members also took part in Parkruns in other parts of the country. Tracey George ran at Raphael Parkrun in Romford, (34.34). Hannah Jarvis was at Preston Park, Brighton, (26.34). Becky McCorquodale finished second lady at the Tamar Lake event in 23.02. Steve Cooper won the Parkrun at Kesgrave in 16.53, forty seven second ahead of the second placed runner.
EventMaldon 5k Summer handicap series - race 1
ReportMike Ball tackled the first of the Maldon 5km series, he showed his continued improvement with a time of 21m 34s.
EventParkrun 31/2 to 14/4
ReportI have been forgetting to add the Parkrun press reports to this page. Now I can not go back and add the old ones so they are all here, 3rd March, Also victim of the bad weather was the weekly Parkrun events held every Saturday all over the UK and in many other parts of the world. On a normal Saturday there is a choice of 508 events to choose from so wherever you are in the country you are not far from a Saturday run. With all the local events cancelled, Ipswich, Colchester and Clacton, the local organisers decided to do their utmost to put on the Harwich event. Course inspection on Friday afternoon revelled that with some work the paths could be cleared and the event could go ahead. Undeterred by more overnight snow, a group of volunteers turned up early Saturday morning with shovels and brooms to make it possible. By 9am a route had been cleared and the run went ahead, word had spread to runners who regularly attend runs at other local venues and rather than miss their weekly Parkrun they made the journey to Harwich. Sixty people ventured out and took part, this included visitors from Clacton, Great Bentley, Colchester, Stowmarket and Felixstowe. The results reflected this with runners from Colchester taking the top two finish positions. Paul Rodgers was first in 18.51 with Alex Sales in second place, (19.07). Third place went to Harwich Runners club member, Simon Day in 19.33. Harwich Runners ladies and juniors took most of the top places in their categories. Claudine Benstead was once again first lady in 23.00 and Claire Bransby was third in 26.42. Second lady was Great Bentley runner, Magdalena Komorowska in 25.14. All three top junior finishers were club members, Alexander McCreadie, Eddison Barker and Isabella McCreadie. Harwich Parkrun organisers put on an event whilst most others cancelled and those who ran expressed their gratitude on social media to all who turned out to clear the route and marshal. 17th March; At the weekend once again most road races were cancelled due to the cold winds and snowy conditions. The Harwich Parkrun on Saturday was one on a few events to be put on. Despite a bitterly cold wind from the east and a snow storm 62 people completed the 5 kilometre course. The route had to be changed this week due to the waves crashing over the promenade at the west end. Competitors did two laps of the park and seafront which included climbing from the lower prom into the park twice. Members of Harwich Runners occupied most of the top positions. Finish times were quite irrelevant considering the conditions and no members achieved personal bests this week. First three male finishers were club members Graeme Knott, (19.54), Mark Rutter, (21.27) and Ian Flook, (21.41). First two finishing ladies were also club members, Claire Bransby, (26.20), and Elspeth Knott, (26.53). Harwich Runners juniors also finished top two, Michael Knowles, fifth finisher overall in 22.35 and Eddison Barker, second junior, twelfth overall in 24.13. Other members travelled away from Harwich to take part in a Parkrun; Gary Parker was third finisher at Ipswich in 18.56. Ian Bolton was in York where he recorded 26.12 and regular first lady at Harwich, Claudine Benstead was fourth finisher and first lady at the Minehead event in 22.32. Sarah and Will Roxby-Clarke tried out the Maldon Parkrun, Will was eleventh finisher in 22.13 and Sarah finished in 34.53. 24th March, At the local Parkrun on Saturday, club junior, Michael Knowles was once again first in his age category and fifth overall of the 113 who took part. It was also a new personal best time for him of 20m 51s. 31st March; Saturdays Harwich Parkrun was the largest attendance so far this year and the highest since 29th April last year. It was also the fourth largest attendance ever with 133 finishers. Although 34 members of Harwich Runners took part most of the top places went to runners from outside the local area. First finisher was Danny Rock from Felixstowe in 16.41, his second win at Harwich and a new personal best for him. Second was Harwich Runners chief coach, Steve Cooper, setting an example to those he trains, just one second off his best at Harwich in 17.52. Third was local teenager, Josh Newlyn, close to his best in 18.31. First female finisher was Caroline Horden, a runner from Basildon, in 20.41; it was her sixth visit to the Harwich run and the fourth time she has finished first. Second lady was Harwich Runner Claudine Benstead, a regular winner, this time in 21.20, just 35 seconds off her best. Third place went to another Harwich regular, Nicola Ranson, a member of Chelmsford club, Springfield Striders, in 23.21, she has run here 42 times and been first lady 16 times. Fourth lady finisher was local club member Karen Stapleton in 23.36, first in her age category (VW40-44). A numbers of fellow club members were also first in their various age categories including, Peter Fraser-Hopewell, Jeff Higgon, Amos Seddon, Helen Benham, Claire Bransby and Anne Herbert. First finishing club junior was once again Michael Knowles, just 4 seconds off his best in 20.55. The only club member to achieve a new best time this week was Jean Wier going just under the 30 minute mark to record 29.59. Saturday’s event was the 146th time it has taken place, club member, Ann Piercy has run 143 times at Harwich and Saturday was her 150th Parkrun. Fellow club member, Jo Higgon, marked her 50th Parkrun this week, she has also volunteered at Harwich on 39 occasions making it possible for the weekly event to go ahead. Club members did not restrict their Park running to Harwich. Sally Gillam, ran the event in Paris, France in 25.23. Will Roxby-Clarke finished 39th in 21.57 at the Southend event and wife Sarah recorded 30.51. One of the local Parkrun organisers, Dennis Warner joined 266 other runners at Torbay and finished 40th in 22.05. Gary Parker made his regular visit to the Ipswich run where he finished 9th out of 386 competitors in 18.38. 7th April; Whilst most members were saving their legs for the Essex Championship 10k the next day some did do a Parkrun on Saturday. At Harwich first finisher was new recruit, Stuart Raffle in fourth place, (19m 57s). Michael Knowles set yet another PB, 20m 41s finishing seventh and first junior. Another promising junior, Eddison Barker also set a new best, 21m 57s. On the other side of the world, Graeme Knott, whilst working at the Commonwealth Games, ran the Kingscliff Parkrun in Australia, finishing first in 17m 33s. At Ipswich Gary Parker also finished first in 18m 25s. Claire Bransby, (26.17) and Ann Piercy, (27.07) took park in the very first Felixstowe Parkrun. Bill Haining ran at the Mersea Island event whilst Will and Sarah Roxby-Clarke competed at the Worcester Parkrun. Victoria McCrea went to the birth place of Parkruns, Bushy Park where she joined 1225 other runners to record 29m 03s. 14th April, Conditions were unusually favourable at Saturday’s Harwich Parkrun. Normally you can expect a strong wind along the seafront in one direction. A still day, not too warm or cold produced some good times for the runners. One hundred and forty seven people took park, the second largest attendance since the event started in 2015. People travelled from as far away as Preston, Huddersfield and Birmingham, plus the usual more local competitors from Great Bentley, Colchester and Chelmsford all came to town to take part. Despite all the visitors it was local club members who dominated most of the top finish positions. Harwich Runners men took all top three finish positions. Steve Cooper led from the start to continue his run of excellent recent performances with a win in a new course best of 17.28. Second over the line was Simon Day in 18.32 and third was Mark Rutter in 19.17. Fellow club member, Claudine Benstead, finished first lady for the 30th time, it was also her 50th Parkrun. Her time of 20.47 was just 2 second short of her best set in August last year. Two club members returning from injury had good runs showing they are well on their way to getting back to their best, Richard Newman, 21.42 and Bill Haining, 21.23. New member Stuart Raffle achieved his second personal best, (PB), in two weeks, 19.55. Other members to record PBs this week were Valentina Burley, just six days after completing the Paris Marathon, (25.25). Neil Richardson, (26.30), and Jennifer Griffith, (31.00). Mike Ball continues to improve, 21.04 this week, his fifth PB of 2018, a big step up from the 26 minutes he was taking when he ran his first Parkrun in September 2016. Club members also ran at Parkruns elsewhere, Gary Parker was at Ipswich, (20.55). At Colchester Hannah Jarvis ran 26.11 but was beaten by her mother Rachel Jarvis (23.39), running her second ever Parkrun. Vicky McCrea choose the Shrewsbury event where she recorded 27.20. Will, (21.16), and Sarah, (30.16), Roxby Clarke tried out the new Parkrun at Felixstowe. Two club members took part in the Brighton Marathon at the weekend. Christopher Payne ran a well paced race to knock 13 minutes off his best time for the 26.2 miles, setting a new best of 3h 16m 57s. Tracey George completed the race for the ninth time in 6h 9m 56s. Ultra distance club runner James Mann travelled to Kent to take part in the Fowlmead Endurance 50 mile race. A slight error on his part meant he actually ran 52.13 miles in 11h 2m 49s; his time for the race distance of 50 miles was 10h 33m.
EventBromley 10k
ReportThe wet weather on Sunday proved to be perfect race conditions for the 505 runners of the 3rd holding of the Little Bromley 10km race. Also doubling as the Essex County Championship for the distance the best runners from across the county were in attendance. Ryan Prout of Thrift Green won the race in a swift 32 minutes 5 seconds whilst Liz Davies of Springfield Striders won the ladies championship in 35m 55s. There were some amazing successes amongst the Harwich Runners with a good number of Personal Bests (PBs) recorded. The first of these saw the continued rise of Stephen Peck; demonstrating his improvement over the last year, Peck improved from 37m 43s on this course last April to a remarkable 33m 54s this time placing 13th overall and 2nd in the MV40 category. There was also a PB for Harwich’s next finisher, Steve Cooper in fine form posting 34m 27s. Both Peck and Cooper also recorded new club records for their respective age groups. New recruit Tim Brand produced his quickest 10km since 2015 and his first in a Harwich vest in 37m 39s. Fastest lady on the day for host club Harwich was Claudine Benstead in 42m 23s winning her age category (FV55) followed closely by Madeline Lewis who bettered her previous best by over 2 minutes to a stunning 42m 42s. The biggest improvement of the day was by Michael Ball who improved by over 8 minutes from last year to 44m 41s this time. Elsewhere there were PBs for Ellie Haynes (48m 21s), Niall Burke (49m 28s) and Nicola Flatt (49m 23s). Lian Meachen posted a 5 minute improvement whilst Helen Benham, Harry Young, Alison Manley, Verity Webber, Ruth Benham and Andrew Thorn all also ran faster than before for this distance. There were also a number of runners racing the distance for the first time. Lee Allen posted a promising 40m 41s with marathon hopeful Mark Higgs managing 43m 28s. Karen Stapleton made her debut with a good 48m 23s whilst Clare Young, Zoe Orr, Donette Tiniakos, Hannah Jarvis, Jacqui Kettle and Kris Dalby were also all racing the distance for the first time since joining Harwich Runners Meanwhile Valentina Burley travelled to Paris for her first marathon, completing the distance in a good 4 hours 26m.
EventSudbury fun run
ReportFive runners from Harwich tackled this popular Good Friday race. Steve Cooper placed an impressive 5th overall in a time of 28m 55s with Simon Day also inside the first 20 finishers in 31m 33s. Elspeth Knott has completed this race several times over the years finishing in 41m 14 this year to place 2nd in the FV60 category whilst Nicola Flatt continued her marathon preparation with a solid performance (43m 30). Harwichs other representative was Sarah Roxby-Clarke who continued her busy year of racing with a time of 51m 20s.
EventColchester Half Marathon
ReportMeanwhile 30 runners tackled the Colchester Half Marathon with many making their debuts over the distance. One of those was Gavin Race who was 31st overall in a field of 2778 finishers and posted a terrific 1h 22m 2s on his debut with other notable first time runs from Charles Turner (1h 38m 57s) and James Olley. Tom Blake and Andy Carter also ran under 2 hours in their first half marathons for the club. Claudine Benstead won the Fv55 category crossing the finish line in 1h 36m. Simon Day showed his marathon preparation is going well, placing 54th in 1h 24m 36s whilst Simon Harrison completed his 50th half marathon race in 1h 25m 33s. Michael Ball ran 2h 8m at Colchester last March but romped home in 1h 40m this time round. At the London Landmarks half marathon, there was an even bigger field of 9683 runners and Stephen Peck posted 1h 16m to place a remarkable 5th. Elsewhere, Stuart Weaver continued his marathon preparation with a 20 mile race in Wymondham, Norfolk. He posted a new best time for that distance of 2h 16m 49s and was 4th in his MV45 category.
EventEssex Road Realys
ReportHarwich successfully hosted the Essex Road relays with a record entry of 95 teams from clubs across the county competing across the various categories. The Men’s open category was won by Havering whose final runner in their team of 4 clocked the fastest time of all the 5km legs run on the day in 16 minutes 1 second. Southend and Colchester had a good battle for second, with Southend clinching it on the final leg. Local club Harwich placed 15th in this category with Rob Reason (16m 50s), Niall Burke (23m 16s) , Graeme Knott (17m 19s) and Will Roxby-Clarke (21m 25s) . The Orion club from North Chingford won the MV40 group with Harwich a decent 5th. There were good legs here from Steve Cooper (17m 1s), Mark Lloyd (17m 44s) and Simon Day (18m 42s). A second team comprising Alan Gardner, Robin Brookes and Matt Doran placed 11th in the same category. The MV50 category was won by Colchester Harriers with Harwich placed 8th. The ladies did well, especially in the FV35 category where Harwich placed 3rd behind Colchester and Saffron Striders. Reliable Claudine Benstead lead off with 20m 50s followed by Madeline Lewis in 21m 7s and a strong final leg from Kate Hodgkiss in 20m 28s.Colchester also won the Fv45 group with teams from Harwich placing 6th and 9th. In the Female open category Chelmsford claimed first and second places. There was also a non-Essex category for people not claiming residency in the county. Harwich had a team here brilliantly led out by Gary Parker with a new personal best of 17m 50s.
Event53-12 XC Halstead
ReportThe final race in the current 53-12 cross country season was the rearranged fixture at Halstead. It still turned out to be the wettest and muddiest race of the series with runners wading knee deep at times. Having won the previous 5 races in Pool B to secure promotion back to Pool A before this final race, the pressure was off but Harwich wanted to sign off in style. Depleted numbers on Mother’s Day saw the lowest overall attendance of the series and just 20 senior runners from Harwich made the journey. The ladies won their pool with ease with the three scoring ladies all placed within the first 15 finishers. Kate Hodgkiss was the first black and white vest home in 6th followed by Claudine Benstead in 12th and Madeline Lewis in 15th. Hodgkiss placed inside the top 10 in all 6 races this season and, along with Nicola Flatt, was the only lady to complete all 6 races. In the Men’s race, it was terrific to see three runners finish inside the first seven places. Steve Cooper has had a wonderful series with each of his five races seeing a top five placing, he was 4th at Halstead, one place ahead of Graeme Knott. Stephen Peck also placed extremely well in 7th. With 6 to score though Harwich had to wait until position 112 for their final total. Dennis Warner was one of 4 men to complete all 6 races and he scored for the team, as did Richard Newman and Simon Garner. The other men to run all races this season were Francis Mills, Julian Cordwell and Edward McCreadie. The Men finished 3rd in their group but the combined score lifted the team into second on the day behind host club Halstead. Harwich finished the series top of Pool B by a clear 7 points and they will again compete in Pool A when the series resumes in late 2018. A total of 64 runners (46 men and 18 ladies) contributed to the promotion effort this year. In the corresponding Junior race, Michael Knowles has had a good series and once again was the highest placed Harwich runner in 17th overall. There was success in the MU11 group with Samuel Barstow being the highest placed representative of School Year 5 and Jamie Carter rounded off a terrific series as the best placed Year 4 boy. Daisy Ward was 4th in the FU13 group and best Year 7 runner, In the FU11 category there were 5 runners from Harwich with Jemima Garner best placed among them.
EventVitality Big Half Marathon, London
ReportIt was a frustrating week for most of the members of Harwich Runners. At a busy time of the year, many races were cancelled or postponed due to the snow. One race that did go ahead was the Vitality Big Half Marathon in London. Starting near Tower Bridge, the course headed out to Canary Wharf before coming back over Tower Bridge and finishing at the Cutty Sark in Greenwich. Race winner was Sir Mo Farah in 61 minutes 40 seconds. A bit further back in the colossal field of 11596 runners was one member of Harwich Runners. Tracey George completed the course in 2 hours 41m 24s becoming the third member of the club to complete two half marathons so far this year.

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