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EventBromley 10k
ReportLast weekend saw the fourth staging of the popular 10km race at Little Bromley. Hosted by Harwich Runners this year saw a bumper field of 539 finishers all keen to test out the fast flat route around the country lanes. 67 of those finishers were from Harwich and among them some fabulous performances including four new club records and numerous Personal Bests (PBs). Approaching the London Marathon next week, Stephen Peck is in the form of his life. He was the first Harwich runner to cross the finish line here, placing 5th overall. Peck’s time of 33 minutes 20 seconds bettered his own MV40 club record by 34 seconds. Another looking good for London is Robin Brookes and he too recorded both a PB and a club record in the MV50 category with a time of 36m 44s, beating a record set in 1996. There were two ladies recording club records too. Claudine Benstead demolished her previous record from last year in the FV55 group, finishing in a stunning 40m 37s this time round. Also coming away with a PB and club record was Madeline Lewis who lowered her best time to 41m 54s to take the FV40 club record that had stood since 1992. One of the biggest PBs was recorded by another London Marathon hopeful with Simon Day improving by a huge 90 seconds to finish in 35m 40s. Matthew Friend improved by a minute on his best to 37m 39s whilst young Archie Barrington ran 38m 57s, his first effort under 40 minutes as he continues to improve. Two runners who had completed the Manchester Marathon the week before also ran again and both recorded PBs in the wonderful race conditions. Valentina Burley improved by over two minutes to 51m 21s whilst Jez Downs shaved over 3 minutes off his previous best finishing in 48m 36s. There were also new PBs for Mark Higgs (41m 37s), Sarah Roxby-Clarke (56m 27s) and Victoria McCrea (47m 17s). Also running faster than ever before for this distance were Hannah Jarvis, Helen Benham and Ian Bolton. Ellie Burke improved by over 3 minutes to 45m 35s, Christina Pretty knocked a similar amount off to post 56m 12s and Karen Barker shaved over 4 minutes off her time to record 74m 11s. There were PBs all over the place with Alan Gardner, Kim Pretty, Kevin Fitchett and Anne Herbert, who was also 3rd in her FV60 category, all running faster than any previous efforts. Rob Reason finished in 6th place, just behind club mate Peck in a time of 33m 36s and looks in good shape for another run in London next week. Steve Cooper also ran well posting 34m 44s to finish 1st in the MV45 category. Elspeth Knott was second in the FV65 group, Tony Anderson 5th in the MV70 category and Amos Seddon was the only runner, and therefore winner, in the MV75 group. Debuts over this distance for Harwich included Zoe Orr, Trevor Lewis, Gina Jaballah, Jon and Fran Battram and Muriel Lovering. Elsewhere, two members of Harwich Runners were among those completing the Brighton Marathon. Gavin Race will be happy to have finished inside the 3 hour mark, recording 2 hours 59m 11s. Emma MacKillop was running her first marathon and did really well to post 4h 37m 45s. Mike Ball tackled the Frinton half marathon and managed 1h 42m, 3 minutes quicker than at Colchester in March.
EventColchester Half Marathon
ReportIn stark contrast to recent weeks, the conditions were perfect for the Colchester half marathon last Sunday. Starting at the football ground the route climbs up to the town centre before heading out through Severalls to Langham and back into the finish. The field was strong and Harwich Runners’ Rob Reason had to battle for his 6th place finish; his time of 73m 29s was his quickest since 2012. There were many personal best (PB) times achieved by the sizeable Harwich contingent. One of the biggest improvements was by Matthew Friend who knocked around 10 minutes off his previous best to post 80m 15s. Close behind was Gavin Race who improved by almost a minute to 81m 10s. Claudine Benstead has moved away but was back to claim 1st place in the FV55 category; her time of 92m 1s also her quickest in a long time. Jo Higgon ran her fastest time since 2012 and was 3rd in the Fv60 group with a time of 2 hours 6 minutes. Also well placed category-wise was Kim Pretty who was 7th in the MV60 group, recording a time of 1h 52m 41s in his first half marathon in Harwich colours. Others running their first half marathon in the clubs colours were Mark Higgs (94m 32s), Ellie Haynes (1h 44m 25s), Deborah Smith (2h 10m), Alison Manley (2h 35m) and Trevor Lewis (1h 48m) although Lewis has run this event before. Among the other big PBs were Christina Pretty who improved by 12 minutes to 2h 6m and Andrew Thorn whose time of 1h 46m 59s was around 10 minutes quicker than he has managed before. There were new PBs for Karen Stapleton (1h 46m 28s), Andrew Carter (1h 49m 50), Zoe Orr (2h 24m) and Angela Walton (2h 13m) For Helen Benham her time of 1h 57m was a 7 minute improvement whilst Jules Lawrence continues to improve with another couple of minutes shaved off his best to now stand at 1h 43m 21s. Also running his fastest half marathon in a Harwich vest was Jez Downs (1h 51m 52s). This was the ninth running of the race and Simon Harrison has completed all nine, finishing in 85m 21 this year. Also going well were Lee Allen (90m 4s), Chris Payne (93m 57s) and Will Roxby-Clarke (98m 16s).
EventColchester 15 or 7.5
Report The following day saw two races over at Colchester. In the 15 mile distance Harwich won the team prize with 3 finishers in the top 8 places. Stephen Peck was 2nd overall and 1st in his age group (MV40) as he posted a ridiculously fast 1h 22m 35s. Also looking strong ahead of next months marathon, Simon Day finished 7th in 1h 34m 55 just 13 seconds ahead of Matthew Friend. Another London marathon hopeful, Robin Brookes recorded a very good 1h 39m 54s to take 16th place. Christina Pretty and Jo Higgon also went well here finishing within 13 seconds of each other at 2h 32m. There was also a 7.5 mile option on offer and this was won by Graeme Knott in 44m 55s whilst Jez Downs finished well in 66m 14s.
EventEssex Road Relays
ReportThe Essex County Relay Championships returned to Harwich again this year with well over 100 teams from across the county looking to secure county honours. The strong winds did not particularly help the runners but some really fast times were recorded nonetheless. Of the six categories, four were won by Colchester Harriers but not the Male open category which was the only one to feature four 5km legs. Havering prevailed in a tight race at the top end as their team of Ben Davis, Jamie Buckley-Stanton, Rob Warner and Grant Twist sped round in a combined time of 65 minutes 4 seconds. Springfield Striders were 34 seconds behind in second with Colchester 3rd. Harwich Runners entered two teams in this group. The first team consisted of Matthew Friend, Graeme Knott, Rob Reason and Gavin Race who recorded a combined time of 71m 47s to place 14th. The other team featured Sam Gooding-Matthews, Mark Higgs, Will Roxby-Clarke and Archie Barrington and their time of 80m 48s placed them 21st of the 32 teams in this category. Harwich Runners came so close to winning the MV40 category. A Colchester Harriers team consisting of Adrian Mussett, Doug McGillivray and James Wright recorded a combined time of 52m 33s. Harwich placed second just 6 seconds adrift. A personal best opening leg time of 16m 31s by Stephen Peck set them on their way and he was well backed by Simon Day (18m 28) and Steve Cooper (17m 38s). Springfield were 3rd and only a further 20 seconds back. Harwich had another team in this age group which had Ben Hammond leading the team out, followed by Jules Lawrence and Alan Gardner. The MV50 category was surprisingly competitive. Colchester won this in 55m 39s with a team made up from Paul Dobson, Keith Marley and Allen Smalls. Harwich were 7th in this group with some good performances from Robin Brookes, Justin Burls and Mark Rutter. Fastest leg of the day was by Tom Firth of Southend who managed 15m 40s. In the ladies races, Springfield edged to a 13 second win over Southend in the Female open category. Led out by the fastest female leg of the day as Elizabeth Davies clocked 17m 33s the rest of the team featured Victoria Curren and Jennifer Lovelock. The Harwich team of Rebecca McCrea, Emma Barr and Sam Edwards finished 13th. The FV35 race was less close as Colchester Harriers’ team of Sarah Stradling, Aiko Henington and Helen Taczynski beat Saffron Striders by 4 minutes and proved to be the fastest female team of the day in any category. A team from Harwich finished a really impressive 4th as Madeline Lewis recorded her quickest time this year (21m 15s) and was supported by Karen Stapleton and a fit again Becky McCorquodale. A second team from Harwich with Muriel Lovering, Elspeth Knott and Clare Lawrence took 12th in the same category. The final ladies category (FV45) saw Colchester take first and second places. The winning team of Margaret Deasy, Denise Morley and Debbie Cattermole recorded 64m 5s. Harwich were 8th in this group with Valentina Burley, Anne Herbert and Sally Gillam all going well. A few non-category teams also ran and two of these were from Harwich; amongst them were really impressive times from Emma MacKillop and Kim Pretty.
EventEssex 20m
ReportThe Essex championship 20 mile race took place at Rochford with a small group of runners from Harwich travelling to take their places among the 330 participants. Stephen Peck is in the midst of marathon training preparing for his first experience of London next month. He ran a superb time here of 1 hour 58 minutes 10 seconds to finish 20th overall and took 3rd place in the MV40 category. Peck has systematically worked his way through the club records for this age group and now adds the 20 mile record to his collection leaving just the 5km record to beat. Rob Reason already held the club record in the Men’s Senior category. He couldn’t quite match his time of 1h 56m from 2011 but will be pleased with his time of 1h 58m 21s at Rochford which earned him 21st place. Another runner looking in good shape ahead of an upcoming marathon is Simon Day. His impressive time of 2h 9m 59s was almost a minute faster than his previous best recorded at Langham two years ago. Mark Rutter has done a few 20 mile races in his time and completed another here. This time his 2h 25m 28s effort was enough to secure his second club record of the year in the MV55 category to add to his half marathon achievement last month. Also preparing for a marathon and really putting some miles in is Muriel Lovering who should be pleased and encouraged with her time of 3h 26m 31s. Trying something a little more adventurous, Anne Herbert travelled to Tanzania to tackle the Kilimanjaro half marathon which unsurprisingly proved to be a rather hilly affair. Having climbed Kilimanjaro itself just two days earlier, Herbert thoroughly enjoyed the run despite the hot conditions.
EventTarpley 10/20
ReportThe latest edition of the Tarpley races at Beyton near bury st. Edmunds took place last weekend with two distances on offer. For those building up to a spring marathon, the 20 mile race provides a really good test whilst the other option is a 10 mile race. Both distances are run on gently undulating country roads out in the West Suffolk countryside. There was drama at the front of the 20 mile race as the first 4 runners , who were well clear of the rest of the pack, were sent the wrong way. Among this group was Rob Reason from Harwich who eventually went on to finish 2nd in a swift 1 hour 50 minutes 37 seconds. Also preparing for marathons are Lian Meachen and Jeremy Downs who completed the distance in a little over 4 hours. There were 328 runners in the 20 mile race and slightly more, 337, opted for the shorter 10 mile distance. First home for Harwich was Allan Bush in 1h 10m 43s, his first outing for the club over this distance. There were some big personal bests recorded by other members. Christina Pretty had run the distance 3 times previously since joining Harwich Runners and each time was just over 1h 40m. This year though she managed to smash that time and finished in 1h 33m 42s. Helen Benham improved by 9 minutes to 1h 27m 28s from her last trip to this race 2 years ago. Also improving was Kim Pretty who knocked over 4 minutes off his time at Hadleigh in November to post 1h 21m 22s and he was also 4th in his age category (MV60). There was a new best time for Carrie Hook who recorded 1h 24m 33s, an improvement of just over a minute. The sixth runner Anna Anderson also did well to finish in 1h 45m 42s.
ReportLast Sunday saw the final race in the NESS cross country series at Halstead. 24 adults and juniors made the trip from Harwich to represent the club. There was an unusual turn of events in the main race though which had to be restarted after some runners had taken a wrong route. With the 5 mile course then shortened by a mile to compensate for the time and effort already expended, the team from Harwich put in a strong team performance. In the men’s race, Harwich had two runners inside the first ten finishers. Rob Reason claimed 5th with Graeme Knott just 3 places further back. Matthew Friend has had a wonderful first season running the series and placed 20th for the second race in succession. Simon Day is in good form and finished 28th whilst the team benefitted again from good performances by Sam Gooding-Matthews, Robin Brookes and Archie Barrington. Christopher Payne completed the scoring team of eight and the men’s team claimed a good 4th place overall In the ladies race Madeline Lewis claimed her highest finish position of the season taking 12th with Ellie Burke and Rachel Jarvis also both inside the first 20 finishers. Hannah Jarvis was the fourth lady to score and the ladies too claimed a highly respectable 4th place finish. The overall points total over the six races sadly saw Harwich finish bottom of Pool A agonisingly just 1 point behind closest challengers Witham. Five runners completed all the races this year. They were Matthew Friend, Simon Day, Archie Barrington, Kim Pretty and Christina Pretty. Over the six races 46 men and 19 ladies represented Harwich Runners in at least one series meeting. In the corresponding junior race the future is looking bright for the girls. Of the 50 junior girls that ran, 6 were from Harwich including Daisy Ward who was 7th overall and 5th in a highly competitive U13 category. Jemima Garner was 6th in the U11 group and claimed 3rd place for the series in that age category. In the same age group Sophie Cripps, Eryn Lewis and Isabella Ward also went well whilst Dalia Jaballah represented the club in the U15 group. For the boys, Michael Knowles ran in the U15 category and was 29th overall with Omar Jaballah and Jack Manley both representing Harwich at U11 level
ReportThe fifth race of six in the NESS cross country series took place last Sunday. Conditions for running were not great but the small team of representatives from Harwich Runners acquitted themselves really well. The Men’s team produced a stunning set of performances to finish second behind league champions elect Colchester. Steve Cooper was the first black and white vest across the finish line in 9th place with both Josh Newlyn and Matthew Friend also grabbing places in the top 20. Archie Barrington secured his highest finish at a cross country in 22nd whilst Simon Day and Charlie McCarthy also finished inside the first 50. The scoring team of eight was completed by Sam Gooding-Matthews and Mark Rutter. There were really string supporting runs from Robin Brookes, Justin Burls and Will Roxby-Clarke all assisting the final outcome. In the ladies race, Ellie Burke was Harwich’s first finisher in 19th place just one spot ahead of Madeline Lewis. Victoria McCrea had a good run in 36th with Helen Benham completing the scoring quartet to bring the ladies home in 4th place. In all 31 adults represented the club helping them to an overall third place finish and some really valuable points. In the Junior race, Jemima Garner had a brilliant run finishing 4th in the U11 group and 15th overall. Sophie Cripps, Eryn Lewis and Isabella Ward also ran well in this category. Daisy Ward had an excellent run to finish 10th overall and take 4th in her age group (U13) whilst Dalia Jaballah represented the club in the U15 race Three boys also ran with Michael Knowles claiming 21st place overall with Omar Jaballah and Jack Manley also going well for Harwich. One race remains in the series, this coming Sunday at Halstead with Harwich needing another good result to avoid finishing bottom of Pool A.
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.

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