Castle Trail 2 Results and Report now available
Firstly we want to congratulate Dave Game for doing his 1000th event at Mountfitchet today. That of course doesn't include all the trail events that Dave has organised which is around 200. We raise our glass to you .. cheers!
I think you'll agree that the weather was better than expected, if not a little warm for a few later finishers. Our gazebo has yet to be packed away wet since we got it a couple of years ago. Thanks to Mountfitchet Castle for having us, a lovely venue with deer, peacocks and peahens, ducks, goats and other assorted wildlife.
In the event we had confusion over SA (straight ahead) and as always even the best sometimes follow others the wrong way (no names mentioned) as most of us have done that without owning up in the past, I never did that of course.
For a while GFDR had Bosh (James Bosher) and Dec (Declan Evans) as the leaders, but they were soon to be split up by Ant (Anthony Goodall) Springfield Striders, so Ant and Dec were beaten by Bosh !!
Nikki Brockbank was the Ladies winner despite taking a wrong turn early on followed by Sue Clarke and Lorraine Baker.
Next week we are at Broxted for Charlies Trail, 10 miles(ish). Places still available until close on Wednesday. Hope to see you there.
Some Like it Hot
The Stag at Little Easton is a great venue for exploring the beautiful Essex countryside. It is even better when the sun shines and we certainly couldn’t complain on a fabulous evening. The pub also has what must be one of the most scenic car parks with the view over rolling fields. Unfortunately there is a proposal to build 44 houses on this lovely scene and would also probably mean the end of the pub. It would be great if you could leave a positive review for the pub on Google to help fight this proposal.
Unfortunately a few stingers had grown in the last week so apologies for not clearing them as we normally do. Despite this most people seemed to enjoy the course which varied from rolling hills to fast straight sections.
It was nice to see a few new faces and hopefully you will now be hooked.
The emphatic winner this week was Declan Evans of Grange Farm who even bought us a pint before he started. If you are looking to win one of our races it is worth a try, can’t promise anything though. Declan won by over three minutes from Jon Byford (Springfield) and Myles Coulson (Mid Essex).
Lynn Higgs (Mid Essex) got back to winning ways ahead of Saffron Striders duo of Rebecca White and Marianne Naylor.
TWO FIT LADIES
88 runners made their way to the Roundbush despite the traffic problems in the area.
There is a bingo term for 88 which according to some is inappropriate to use in these modern times. Well we had the answer with two brilliant runs. Jackie Stretton raced to victory in 35.46 with Nikki Woodyard just 36 seconds back. Jackie had set off a couple of minutes after her partner Adam U’Glow Jones and was disappointed not to have caught him. Adam had gone off course at the fallen sign post so Jackie had unknowingly passed him.
Over two minutes back was the first man Jon Byford, ahead of Gary Chandler and Andy Clarke making a welcome return to the trail scene. The third lady was Lynn Higgs, obviously held back by the return of her running partner.
The pub were a little overwhelmed being hampered by Covid restrictions and asked us to thank all the runners for being understanding and patient. Hopefully we will be returning to this welcoming pub in the winter for another night time race.
Another almost 100% turnout enjoyed some ideal running conditions and that rare thing sunshine.
When we arrived there were two cuckoos chatting across the woods and they were still at it as the last runners finished. Shame they didn’t come along and eat the midges that seemed to enjoy a feast on the finishers.
First man back Paul Scrivener had a head wound that looked impressive, but was merely a scratch. Another early finisher was Adam Hunter who had a fast finish so as not to be inconvenienced. There were good times posted by Ian Cardy, Paul Broome and David Lindsay, but the winner was Antony Goodall who after a slow and confused start flew round what we considered a fast course in an impressive 39.15.
Lynn Higgs continued her winning run with victory yet again. Maybe not running with her injured running partner Gary Abbott is the way forward. Lorraine Baker again ran well just heading off the Great Bentley duo of Vicky Presland and Deborah Hollidge.
Gary, the barman, worked his socks off keeping everyone refreshed and thanks to all the runners for keeping to the Covid restrictions.
See you next Wednesday at The Roundbush.
WORTH THE WAIT
The delayed Easter Eggstravaganza Day 2 finally took place today in warm sunny conditions.
Little Baddow is a fabulous area to run in, I have been running there every week for over 30 years, Covid and Foot & Mouth apart, and the long route certainly was a good introduction to the tracks, hills and woods.
Recent rains made it pleasant underfoot rather than a mud slog. I knew we were running round in circles, but was amused at the number of surprised faces I saw as I passed people for the second time.
The route took us down into Blakes Wood, then down to Chapel Lane, through the horses (who luckily are used to runners), through the old orchard, across “the Serengeti”. Then into Lingwood Common for a few ups and downs before crossing the ridge for more ups and downs, the obligatory climb of “Heartbreak Hill”, a trip past Heather Hills downhill and then the long uphill for the final enclosed paths back to the pavilion.
77 runners completed the 9.4 mile route with a further 48 in the 5 miler. Antony Goodall (Springfield) took 1:17:44 in winning the longer run ahead of Jackie Stretton (also Springfield) in 1:21:37. The host club Little Baddow Ridge Runners provided the 5 miler winner in Chris Hargraves. Sarah Colbert (Lonely Goat RC) was first lady.
Well done Little Baddow Ridge Runners, it was worth waiting for.
"CHICKING " ONGAR
The sun shone on our first Wednesday trail of the year from the excellent Cock Pub & Kitchen in Chipping Ongar. There were only a few drop outs from the sold out entry and everyone seemed to enjoy the course and the pub.
When Jackie Stretton finished we thought she had come second to Gary Chandler who took great pleasure in his 20 second victory. However it was actually a 40 second win to Jackie who admitted she had run a few metres extra. Adam U’Glow Jones managed to sneak in between them with an excellent run.
Rob Mills led in his phalanx of mates to take third man. Lynn Higgs was second lady despite missing a gate and Lorraine Baker took third.
Quite a few of you were running across an area they used to live in years ago including Lisa and Reece Smith who were chuffed to pass the church they were married in 29 years ago.
The pub looked after us really well and you all know where to go when you are next in the area for a monster pastie and a well kept pint.
Our next race at Galleywood is sold out but there are still places for the Beat About The Bush and Stagger Home races.
More than 70 runners and walkers took in the sights of the surrounding Coggeshall countryside. The 6.4 mile route saw the podiums full of the organising clubs best, Lyn Higgs led the ladies home in an impressive 5th place overall with Keely Jordan and Lorraine Baker not far behind.
The men’s result saw a very tight finish with Myles Coulson pipping Ben Leeds by a mere 3 seconds with Adam Hunter only half a minute adrift.
Personally it was a run too far for me as I struggled from the off and faded as the humidity built up particularly on the mile long enclosed track near Rivenhall. A nice run on a beautiful day. Thanks Dave.
POP UP TRAIL
The weather held for the Pop Up Trail and it was great to revisit some paths that I hadn’t been on for a few years.
I don’t ever remember going down (or even up) the long track at the start before and it certainly gave me a flying start. Dave Game has covered these paths from The Sportsman at Nounsley and I believe there was a trail once from the same car park and in more recent years from Pears Pantry. Justin had constructed an attractive course which when he had planned it for January was apparently a mud bath, but now it was concrete hard all the way.
After my “flying” start a long stretch of road slowed me down and fellow 10.20 starters Sue Aves and Diane Knights overtook me before the long enclosed path to Nounsley. Apart from overtaking the Jacksons who were walking the only other person I saw on the route was Lyn West who I just failed to catch.
Justin was obviously struggling to see his laptop screen as it was on the floor under the table. I can recommend a custom made “Mission Control” capsule manufacturer.
Gary Chandler had a clear win ahead of Adam Hunter and Myles Coulson. Polly Bridgman won the ladies race from Lynn Higgs and Lorraine Baker.
On Your Marks
A new venue and a lovely sunny, dry day helped make another successful socially distanced event. There wasn’t even a last minute swamp to run through. Again we would like to thank everyone for keeping their distance and for the most part arriving at the right time so that everything ran smoothly.
Due to the (very) firm underfoot conditions there were plenty of good times. Overall winner was Nikki Woodyard (Springfield) in a speedy 1.06.29. Andrew Lager (Witham) had a few problems at the start on Easter Monday, but had no trouble here as he completed the 9 mile route in 1.08.23. Third overall was Jackie Stretton (Springfield) whose blisters must have recovered in 1.09.27 accompanied by Adam U’Glow Jones.
There were a lot of compliments about the route even though we had to use a bit more road than we wanted. Thanks to Malcolm Bailey and Marks Tey Parish Council for the use of the car park and toilets and thanks again to you lot for taking part.
Easter Eggstravaganza 2021
Not quite the usual Eggstravaganza but greatly appreciated by all that attended.
Mid Essex Casuals kicked off what will hopefully be the start of a long uninterrupted run of trail races at an overcast Terling on Good Friday. Dave put on a choice of three distances.
James Bosher (Grange Farm)has obviously kept fit over lockdown and stormed around the 12 miler in 1.16.47 to win by almost 12 minutes from Gary Chandler (Springfield) and Nick Hammond (Mid Essex). Adam Hunter led in a string of Mid Essex Casuals including first lady Lynn Higgs. Melissa Dowell (Colchester Harriers) also made the top ten with Catherine Hull (Springfield) the third lady.
The most popular distance was the 7 miler won by Simon Morgan (Colchester Harriers) proving the Pfizer vaccine is working well. He was only three seconds ahead of Bill Smythe (Witham). They were the only two to beat the hour. Third man was a rejuvenated Jon Legge of Springfield in fifth place behind the first two ladies Vicky Knight and Tracy Harrington, both of Tiptree. Third lady was Hilda O’Kelly from Springfield.
The three mile event was a win for Chloe Wilson of the host club ahead of Andy Mason (Springfield) with the Little Baddow father/daughter combination of Ian & Katie Brazier in third.
Onto Writtle for Easter Monday and Springfield Striders 7.7 mile event. The main talking point for days had been the weather and it didn’t disappoint. We even had snow flurries. There were hardly any drop outs from the 150 strong pre-entered field.
Chris Burgoyne just pipped team mates Luke Fitz-John and Paul Miles for a clean sweep for the host club. Rachel Broome(Chelmsford) won the ladies race ahead of Jackie Stretton (Springfield)who had run a trail marathon the day before. Lynn Higgs of Mid Essex again featured in third spot.
After all this time of not speaking to anyone it was great to see socially distanced runners chatting away at the finish.
Hopefully next year we will have four races in four days again. Little Baddow are holding their race on Saturday May 22.
XMAS CHARITY TRAIL
Katy Rehal & Sharon Skidmore of Mid Essex Casuals organised their annual Christmas (I hate the term “Xmas”) charity run from a brand new venue. The Gard Timber Yard doesn’t conjure up images of a warming fire and a pint of bitter, but it proved an excellent venue in the current circumstances and allowed us to explore south of East Hanningfield.
Christmas does however conjure up thoughts of skipping across the snow covered fields in the bright winter sunshine. Well that went out the window on a cold, windy, wet and thoroughly miserable day. The facilities at least allowed respite for the ever cheerful organisers.
Underfoot conditions were as dire if not worse than the weather with waterlogged paths and field crossings a-plenty. My hands were frozen for the first mile, but soon warmed up. I had to be helped early on as my knee locked crossing a broken stile (thanks Mel ).
I could look at the instructions to see how many stiles and footbridges we crossed but suffice to say there were a lot. Each and every one of them lethally slippy with mud and rain. I did worry for Yan who has to negotiate all these obstacles with one working arm. However I saw him on Wednesday (we are in the same tier) so he obviously coped. I beat him by 2 seconds, eat my (wet) dust Yan.
The first three runners all overtook me on the same hill through the vineyard and I only saw a few other runners for the rest of the course. The winners were Chris Hargreaves and Shay Joyce of Little Baddow with Adam Hunter of Mid Essex in third. Lynn Higgs, Keely Jordan and Lucy Ferguson made a clean sweep of the podium for the host club. Simon Morgan of Colchester Harriers won the 8k and Val White and Wendy Smalley of Mid Essex Casuals shared first spot.
From the above you might think I didn’t enjoy this event, but not true I loved it: did I mention I beat Yan.
SPRINGFIELD STRIDERS HOBBLE
After the heavy rain not only had the ground softened, but on Friday the course would not have been navigable except by boat, so my heart sank when I looked out in the dark on Sunday morning to see heavy rain.
We managed to set up the gazebo in the dry with the help of Helen who normally does registration but this year was acting as roadie as Howard is still recovering from a hernia operation. Then the rain started again quite heavily. This was the first time the ETE gazebo has had a soaking. Luckily the rain stopped and all was dry by the end.
Everyone started in their five minute waves and then we waited……………and waited. We had a few phone calls with confusion at the flint cottage and the holly bushes and with not knowing if the river crossing was OK it was a worried organiser back at base.
There was much relief when the first two home Robert Sirett and Polly Bridgman both, of the host club, appeared to confirm the course was clear. They were both amazed not to have been caught by a four strong group of Springfield (fast) boys. Lynn Higgs of Mid Essex Casuals was next home and Polly and Lynn remained as winner and runner up.
Unfortunately for Robert despite a long wait Luke Fitz-John, Jonathan Hughes, Antony Goodall and James Sullivan just nipped in to beat him by seconds. However Declan Evans of Grange Farm & Dunmow Runners is in superb form at the moment and despite struggling with the holly bushes came into win by a clear margin of almost eight minutes.
There were several people attempting their first ever trail race and what a baptism of mud. Well done to all of you. Hopefully next year’s Hobble will return on the right date (Remembrance Sunday). With things looking more optimistic we should be back at the Horse & Groom in May for the Galleywood Gallop.
A STEP BACK IN TIME
In the last race before Lockdown 2 Justin Ruggles of Mid Essex Casuals provided a flat but tough course around Cock Clarks in his first attempt at race organising. Wet ploughed fields and strong winds made for a challenging day although thankfully the rain stayed away. The Fox and Hounds is only a small venue so thanks to everyone for parking sensibly.
93 runners took on the two distances with the majority opting for the longer 7.2 miler. Myles Coulson of the host club won from team mate Adam Hunter by an impressive three minute margin. Third home was Stuart Collett of Little Baddow Ridge Runners. They were the only runners to beat the hour.
Hilda O’Kelly of Springfield Striders took the honours for the ladies with fellow Strider Donna Fisher a minute back in second place. Lynn Higgs of MEC was third.
Daniel and Laura Quartly were the winners of the 4.6 mile option.
Now we take another enforced rest but we’ll be ready to go the moment restrictions are lifted.
TR at PP*
After some shocking weather over the last few days it was cool, but dry and even sunny at times for our latest visit to the Green Man at Toppesfield.
The usual suspects again supported us and we also welcomed quite a few newcomers trying trail running Essex Trail Events style for the first time.
The course had evolved from a runnable route on great paths in the summer to a slog over the last few miles across ploughed fields although we took two further ploughed horrors out on the Friday.
As for the race it was a close run thing. Jackie Stretton (Springfield Striders) flew around the course in an impressive 51.47 to just pip Steve May of Halstead by two seconds. Two minutes further back was Jon Byford (Springfield).
Most finishers mentioned the fields, a lot mentioned the pink pants in the hedge (one even took a photo) and two surprised us by commenting on the number of footbridges. There’s nothing quite like trail running.
The Green Man was again very welcoming especially after you had all finished and we could get inside by the fire. We will definitely be back when we can as there are so many more paths and tracks to explore in this area.
*Turn Right at pink pants
A BLOW BY BLOW ACCOUNT
The day started badly as I drove through the drizzle thinking that the ploughed field sections would cut up. I was early but Howard was already there and we tried to put one of our flags up. The ground was hard and must have had a concrete layer below as we couldn’t get the flag in the ground (would probably have blown away anyway).
We parked in the main car park so had to transport all our gear the hundred metres to the bar with some much appreciated help from early arrival Nikki Woodyard. I carried the starting bollards upside down and promptly got a soaking down my trousers. Not a good look. We decided the only place we could set up was in the lee of the building, but even so it was a real struggle to put up the gazebo in the 30mph plus wind.
Despite our early start it was all a bit of a race against the clock but we were ready to receive the first six entrants on time even though the fact we were on a slope meant we had to stand up most of the day.
This was our third race since lockdown and using online entry and starting people in groups of six with five minute gaps has now become second nature both for us and the runners. Hardly anyone has been late and those that turn up early get sent back to their cars. We do need to get a sign though for our hand gel, as just as I go to say “It comes out very easily” the runner has already covered themselves in it.
The Bradwell area is famously flat and most people come to walk on the sea wall which stretches for mile after mile around the peninsular. Our race took an inland route and avoided the wall altogether. Probably just as well in this wind as at least there were places to shelter from it which would have been impossible on the wall.
We were surprised how fast people were starting but it became obvious why as we saw them fighting their way back against the wind.
All was going smoothly despite the constant buffeting we were getting from the wind until I got my foot caught in the laptop cable and brought it crashing to the ground with a dreadful cracking noise. The screen had frozen. People were finishing so we reverted to recording times with pen and paper. I used my top grade computing skills to solve the problem. I turned it off and back on again and hey presto we were back in business at the point of the last save which luckily had only been about four runners ago. This laptop affectionally known as “The Brick” is ridiculed on a regular basis by the runners but as it runs on Windows 1875 has never been infected by the internet and has proved very reliable. I don’t think if I had smashed a modern laptop into the ground it would have revived as quickly if at all.
Over 120 runners started (and finished) and not one spot of mud to be seen. The wind had at least dried the paths. The winner of the 14 mile event was Antony Goodall (Springfield Striders) in 1:34:48. Next to finish was Nikki Woodyard (Springfield) and Simon Bateson (Dengie 100 Runners) in 1:42:48 with Jackie Stretton (Springfield) next to finish just six seconds back.
The 7 miler saw Declan Evans of Grange Farm & Dunmow Runners storm to victory in 46:00, 11 minutes ahead of the next finisher, the winning lady Lynn Higgs (Mid Essex Casuals).
STAGGERED STARTS, STAGGERED FINISHES, PERFECT DAY
The change of date had no great effect on the Ridley Round as we experienced June weather. The parking was much improved and with very few exceptions everyone turned up at the right time. Thank you all for accepting that this is the only way we can carry on with the events and for the most part other than social distancing at the start and the finish the actual races are much the same as usual. It is actually much easier for us as there are no queues and we get five minutes to chat to everybody at the start.
We would also like to thank all the pubs involved who all offer something different to the experience. We asked everyone as they finished which pub was their favourite and it was pretty even between all of them with the Walnut Tree more popular with the men and the Windmill making a good impression after coming back into the fold after several years absence.
Unusually for a pre entry race there were hardly any no shows so 147 people returned to the Compasses suitably refreshed and contributing to the £1100+ raised for Cancer Research.
The winner was Stuart Collett of Little Baddow Ridge Runners who just failed to beat two hours and ran so fast he finished with a nose bleed. We hope the stain comes out of the Writtle Wround T shirt as we wouldn’t want it to dim the brightness.
Ian Lawson of Grange Farm and Dunmow Runners was actually first home but was 13 minutes behind the winner in second place. Gary Chandler (Springfield Striders) was third a further 8 minutes back.
Julia Binstead (Mid Essex Casuals) claimed a surprise win just pipping the Springfield pair of Isobel Gowers and Sarah Hammond.
We enjoyed ourselves, we hope you did too.
First of all we’d like to thank everyone for coming and for all being sensible with the distancing etc. We are normally very informal but due to Covid we have had to change things a little. Hopefully it didn’t spoil it for any of you. In fact for us it gave us a chance to chat more to people at the start, which was nice after all this time with no races.
As for the race, the clue was in the title, but I think most of you enjoyed the hilly course (afterwards at least).
Ryan Prout (Brentwood) and Antony Goodall (Springfield) came home together in an excellent time of 1.42.57 to beat the Little Baddow pair of Chris Hargraves and Shay Joyce by nine minutes. Also under the two hour barrier were newcomer Oliver Mawer, Jon Byford (Springfield) and the first lady, Jackie Stretton (Springfield) who ran a superb 1.59.37. Her time would have been slightly quicker if her running partner had timed his visit to the toilet better at the start. 18 minutes back was the second lady Lynn Higgs (Mid Essex) with the Tiptree pairing of Vicky Knight and Tracy Harrington a further seven minutes behind sharing third spot.
We enjoyed the usual comparing of distances between runners at the end. The official distance was near as dammit 14 miles. We heard tales of 15.5 or even 16 and had someone go through the finish and continue for 10 metres to clock up 14 exactly. What wasn’t in doubt was that you all climbed at least 200 metres (700 feet).
Thunderbird 3 had to be called into action for only the second time when John McVelia (Mid Essex) alerted us to a faller. Hopefully Marion is not too badly shaken and will no doubt be out running as I write this.
Next up for us is the Ridley Round (entries open September 1) which will be limited to 150 entries over a 2 hour start period. Then at the end of next month is Don’t Hit the Wall for which entries are going well for both distances. All our events are on line entry until further notice.
The Huffer Puffer has been going since 2004 and this year went virtual. 51 participants took on the seven mile challenge having a one week window to run it in.
I ran it on a Tuesday morning in order to partake of the Eat Out to Help Out offer. A sausage huffer at half price is a great incentive at the end of a lovely run. When I say lovely run, my legs weren’t happy with the last mile on road, but I knew a pint and the huffer would be waiting.
Unsurprisingly the two winners were James Bosher (Grange Farm) and Nikki Woodyard (Springfield). In third was another Grange Farm runner Declan Evans. Jon Byford (Springfield) was third male. Second lady was Nichola Norman with Shikula and Keely Jordan equal third.
Thanks to Sue & John Clarke (Mid Essex) for keeping the race going in these difficult times.
ESCAPE FROM THE MUSEUM
The honour of hosting the first trail with a UKA permit since lockdown went to Dave Game and Mid Essex Casuals. Dave had been pestering the TRA for weeks as our form of trail running is ideally suited to staggered starts and social distancing.
The 10 miler was won outright by Nikki Woodyard (Springfield) in a dazzling 1.15.55, almost 14 minutes ahead of the first man Adam Hunter (Mid Essex). Third to finish was Lynn Higgs (Mid Essex) and to round off a great event for the ladies next home was Sue Clarke (Mid Essex). The Springfield duo of Richard Sirett and Julian Catmull had the distant honour of equal second in the men’s event.
The men fared somewhat better in the five mile route with Simon Morgan (Colchester Harriers) first home. Next home was Yan Stile of Mid Essex with clubmate John Carter just behind. The ladies event was won by Nadine Collins in exactly one hour. The Great Bentley trio of Eileen Shadford, Tonie Wilson and Tricia Stacey were equal second.
It was nice to see everyone again and it proved that social distancing and trail races are achievable.
Our first visit to Mersea attracted a very reasonable turnout considering other attractions and distractions. It was again another welcoming venue and we have already been asked to return.
We had checked the courses out in a variety of conditions and you probably got the best of the underfoot and the worst of the wind. Nobody reported any red squirrel sightings (probably all been blown into the sea).
The day started well with the Wheatsheaf being ready for us and nice and warm with excellent facilities including hand sanitisers at the doors. The day then took a turn for the worse when Howard’s “new” laptop threw a wobbler and lost the race file for the 8.5 miler. Bring on the “Brick”. Never having been tainted by the internet and running on Windows 1875 the day was saved by the faithful Toshiba. It receives abuse at every event but carries on rewardless.
Unaware of our problems you came and went as usual in a seamless manner. The 8.5 miler saw Roy Read make a rare appearance to claim victory from Gary Freear of Halstead and Lyn Higgs of Mid Essex. Lyn has been nagging us for ages to put a race on in her neck of the woods and the six minute journey was obviously not too tiring. Running with Lyn was third man Gary Abbott of Mid Essex. Kirsty Williams of Springfield and Julia Binstead of Mid Essex were second and third respectively.
In the 5.8 miler Jon Byford competed in the Essex Relays at Colchester then popped over to Mersea to win in 43.24. Second equal were Joe and Will Ferguson who beat dad Simon by 20 seconds. Shannon Mason was first lady ahead of Sam Bearman of Mid Essex and the Tiptree duo of Jo Roblin and Tina Clarke.
Our next race was due to be the Pop Up Trail but this has been cancelled by the venue. So hopefully see you at Burnham for Mid Essex Casuals’ Smugglers Trail and again hoping Easter goes ahead as planned.
Over 80 turned up to the Prince of Wales, Broxted on a surprisingly sunny day. Unfortunately the wind was still blowing a hoolie.
Howard had managed to find a completely different course to last year which was interesting and varied and included one of the muddiest paths through a wood that I have ever travelled along. Quite a few of you mentioned this. Thanks to the owners we were able to run through their lovely garden to reach the second church instead of quite a long detour.
Allen Smalls (CHAC) and long time running buddy Sean Ketteridge (TRA) cantered around the 7.5 miles in a speedy 54.07. Jon Byford (Springfield) trotted in five minutes back and was the only other runner under the hour. Lyn Higgs (MEC) proved she could run solo and won the ladies race by seven minutes ahead of Lorraine Baker (Tiptree) and Sarah Colbert (MEC).
The four miler attracted a small field and was won by Ian Foskew (MEC) and late entrant Sharon Hardwicke (Tiptree).
Beat About The Bush
Well Howard and I enjoyed the return to the Roundbush and thanks to Dave and Anne for making us very welcome. It was a good turnout considering the weather and traffic conditions. We thought the roaring fire might tempt people to stay indoors, but well done to the 64 intrepid souls who ventured out into the depths of Purleigh.
As with our previous night trail the Hart to Hart, we were surprised to attract people doing their first ever trail race. If you enjoyed that I can assure you that it is a beautiful run to do in daylight with some good distance views over the Blackwater. We’ve seen a few photos of your runs and there certainly seemed a fascination with the graveyard and of course your drinking habits at the pub.
The winner in a very impressive time of 39.15 was Andrew Lager of Witham. In fact Witham featured very well with all four of their runners in the top eight. Second man was Gary Abbott of Mid Essex and Bill Smythe of Witham was third.
Equal second overall was Lyn Higgs of Mid Essex who has won more bottles of wine from us than any other competitor. Her time of 45.06 is again an excellent time over a muddy, slippery and hilly five mile course even without having to navigate and in the dark. Second lady was Lorraine Baker of Tiptree with Hilda O’Kelly of Springfield in third.
All of our newcomers returned and seemed to enjoy their excursion. People are always telling us how much they enjoy these runs and thanks for all the compliments. A bit cheeky but could we ask you to hit the recommend button on our Facebook page if you feel we deserve it.
Next up is Charlie’s Trail at Broxted on March 1st.
VERY STICKY WICKET
We were invited to organise a race from the Cricketers last year and when Howard contacted them the then landlord had moved on, however the new management were still keen to see what it was all about and I think we have found another winner. A great pub with good beer and food, good parking and bang in the middle of some great running country we haven’t explored before.
We were up against the Great Bentley Half which attracted quite a few of our regular customers so were pleasantly surprised to attract over 70 runners to this unknown (to most of us) quiet corner of Essex.
James Bosher (GFDR) who, like many hadn’t been quick enough on the keyboard to get a Bentley place, came straight from his shift firefighting to race. I say came straight from work, but he actually came via the Cricketers at Clavering where after a few minutes he realised he might be at the wrong pub.
Winning the Cold Christmas 50Km last week seemed to have no effect on his legs as he stormed to victory by almost 10 minutes from Jon Byford (SS) and Peter de Koning, who cycled to and from the event from Saffron Walden. Gary Freear (Halstead) clocked the same time as Peter.
Also on the same time was the winning lady Lyn Higgs (MEC). I think the three of them might have joined forces possibly by the moving sheep pens that thwarted a few of you (ewe).
Second lady was Melissa Dowell (CHAC) and the MEC duo of Lucy Ferguson & Keely Jordan were third.
We thought the slippery decking test we set you to register would prepare you for the underfoot conditions.
We again attracted a few newcomers and there was a fair bit of interest in the village about the goings on.
The pub liked you all and have invited us back in the summer some time when they will put on a BBQ. We will let you know as soon as the date is sorted.
Next up is MEC’s night trail from Silver End next week and our own night trail is from The Roundbush, near Maldon the week after.
MEANDERINGS IN THE MUD AND MIST
Possibly the worst diversion direction signed route of all time meant a few of you didn’t make it, but a huge thanks to those of you that did. When we arrived at the White Hart we were the first there: this is a first, there is always an early bird or flock waiting for us, so we were a bit worried we might just be having a quiet drink on our own in the pub for the evening. We really didn’t need to worry about spending the night drinking as the Bishop Nick Vision was an excellent pint.
Apart from a few people who didn’t TsharpR most of you got round without too much trouble, with only an extra caravan and the tall thin tree in the mist causing some confusion.
It is always an anxious wait for the first one to return, but we didn’t have to wait long as mostly smiling faces appeared at the back door.
Darren Coates (still Harlow) was first back and chuffed to bits to have completed a run without injury. He was leader in the clubhouse for a while until local resident Gerard Geurts (GFDR) flew in to take the lead. He in turn was knocked off his perch eventually by Adam Hunter (MEC).
Lyn Higgs (MEC) did better navigating the course than she did finding the pub and her driver John Carter (MEC) afterwards and took the bottle of wine for first lady. Melissa Dowell (CHAC) was second with Nichola Norman (Springfield) third.
Most people opted for the 6-ish including the three winners of the 4-ish who changed their collective mind before leaving the warmth of the pub. A good decision by the MEC trio of Rachel Abbott, Natalie Launder and Ian “one i, not one eye” Launder who claimed the two bottles of wine between them.
Bravo to the Harlow ladies who decided to do a night race for their first ever trail. They were still in the pub when we left. I think they may have discovered our secret.
Next up for us is Sticky Wicket on 2nd February followed by another night adventure from the Roundbush near Maldon on 19th February.
HAIR OF THE DOG
Even with double parkruns and the obvious morning after the night before excuses the Hair of the Dog attracted another large entry to the salubrious Good Easter sports pavilion. All profits raised will go to making it even more so. Yan always makes full use of the excellent highways and byways of the area and took us through the back gardens of the local landed gentry.
54 took on the challenge of the 6.8 miler, 47 more did the 4.4 miler and a phalanx of cronies also made an appearance led round by Snig.
Melissa Dowell (CHAC) and Lyn Higgs (MEC) ran to victory in the long race with the race results showing Justine Ruggles (MEC) third. Justine however is Justin so Sarah Colbert (MEC) rightfully claimed third spot. Paul Broome (SS) had an excellent run winning by over four minutes from Matt Bainbridge (GFDR) and Miles Coulson (MEC).
Shannon Mason won the shorter race outright without dad’s help ahead of Donna Fisher (SS), Diane Knight (MEC) and Sue Aves (SS). Richard Rule (SS) who had double parkrunned and run between Billericay and Chelmsford to do it. Was the only man in the top six. Phil Jeffries (Halstead) and Dave Game (MEC) also made the podium.
A great way to start the new year.
Beat About The Bush