WRITTEN BY SAM VENTON
May Day Bank Holiday weekend saw the Red and Whites of Benfleet Running Club competing at distances ranging from 10k to 100 miles and from the southeast across Europe to Prague!
First up on Saturday was Steve Kjar running the Thames Path 100, a continuous 100-mile trail race along the Thames, from London to Oxford. In its eighth year, with a limit of 300 entrants and a 28 hour cut off, Steve finished his first 100 mile race in 63rd place with the fantastic time of 21h 58.30. Steve really earned his centurion buckle. Well Done Steve!
Saturday also saw two Benfleet runners hitting the trails in Brightlingsea in a Star Wars themed lapped event. Graham Booty took on the full Marathon and was 6th in 4.08.20 whilst Sean Allison ran the half, placing 14th in 2.13.22. Great work guys!
On Sunday we had representatives at three races. First up was the Roach Valley Way Relay, a four-stage race along the Roach Valley footpath. This year a record 41 teams were registered. Our team – the Union, consisting of Ann Reed, Duncan Holland, Audrey Morris and LOSS member Kerry Williams completed this friendly local race. Well done all!
Next up on Sunday was the High Easter 10k, an annual road race with all proceeds going towards the Grade 1, 11th century church. First back for Benfleet was Sarah Grabowski in 45.37. Next was Caron Hiscock in 66.31, with an impressive 4-minute PB since the Rayleigh 10k in April. Well Done ladies!
Finally on Sunday, Mark Cowan and Isla Sinclair competed in the Prague Marathon, taking in all of the sights of this beautiful city in its 25th year. Mark finished in a time of 4h 29.54 with Isla just in front in 4h 21.11, both fantastic times just four weeks after they both completed Manchester Marathon!
Bank Holiday Monday saw our athletes compete in five events. Closest to home and in the first of today’s two 10k races was St Mary’s 10k challenge. Raising funds for St Mary the Virgin Church, this self-navigated trail race saw 26 Benfleet runners take part. They were Lee Allen, Bobby Oliver, Jim Ashington, Sue Smith, Sue Horton, Amanda Brown, Kevin and Christine Judge, Pete and Sylvia Watson, Bob Chapman, Barry Key, Steve and Sue Billington, Nicola Evans, Alison Horsley, Fran Webster, Kelly McClenaghan, Bev Small, Nick Rankin, Graham Douglass, Liane, Kevin and Archie Conners. Special mentions to new member Viv Willett who completed the race and Graham Booty who ran whilst carrying a 35lb pack. Great turnout for a local race!
Further afield in our second 10k of the day was the Chalgrove Festival 10k in Oxfordshire celebrating its 10th Anniversary. Brian and Samantha Venton competed, although no PBs for either of them today.
Bank Holiday Monday also saw the Red and Whites travel to Witham to take part in the fourth annual May Day 10-mile race. Benfleet had five athletes running today and 1st back in a personal best time of 66.28, with a well-earned 35 second PB was Ciaran Byrne. Next was Andy Watson, with a stunning 5.28 minute PB of 72.45. Running together was Nikki and Richard Leigh in the same time of 88.04, which was a staggering 12 minute PB for Richard. Congratulations Richard and great pacing Nikki! In her second race of the weekend and 7 minutes quicker than last year’s race was Ann Reed in 93.59. What a successful day for these runners!
On the subject of great pacing, Keith Luxon was the 3.15 pacer at the Milton Keynes Marathon on Monday, bringing them home in a time of 3.14.20. Great work Keith!
Finally, Monday saw Sean Allison return to the trails at Brightlingsea for the “return of the 6th” Half Marathon, again it was Star Wars themed and a lapped course, but to keep it interesting it was run in the opposite direction. Sean placed 13th in the almost exact time of 2.13.18. What consistent running!
Well done to all the Red and Whites who raced or ran this May Day Bank Holiday weekend!