Writtle Wround Wresults & Wreport now available
Thanks to all the runners who turned up despite the forecast apocalypse. I had been monitoring weather forecasts for days and decided the Met Office knew best (they did not forecast storms until late afternoon).
In fact the top half of the field arrived without encountering any rain. Unfortunately the bottom half enjoyed a monsoon. When I say enjoy, quite a few finishers remarked that it had made a welcome change.
Our gazebo is famous for never having been rained upon and we didn’t hold out much hope this time, but yet again we remained dry despite dark clouds most of the day. (Just watch it chuck down this Sunday at Manuden – good warm down 10 miler by the way, especially after a 50K – see you there).
Two years ago the conditions were quite muddy after a day of heavy rain so it was no great surprise that all the leg records and course records were broken.
James Sullivan won in a record time of 4:09:30 beating the previous time by 27 minutes. He also claimed all the fastest leg times (apart from Leg 4 – well done James Smith), but was pushed all the way by Daniel Kyne, who finished just under 4 minutes behind to smash his time of 2019 by 32 minutes. Third place went to James Smith who upped the tempo when he found out he was in third place at Good Easter to also beat his previous time by 32 minutes.
The ladies record was broken by Amy Brass who improved on her previous time by 28 minutes to clock 5:11:49 and knock over 8 minutes from the course best. She also created new leg records on 2 and 4. Sandra Rust had a strong finish to take second spot in 5:29:51. Third place went to Keeley Jordan who knocked almost 2 hours off her 2019 time.
The grumpy marshal on the A414 thanks you all for being sensible and not dashing in front of the lunatic drivers. I’m surprised there’s any tarmac left on that road. Huge thanks to all our helpers who I know were greatly appreciated by you all and me and Howard.
As we finally left the hall at about 6.30pm to go to the pub we all got thoroughly drenched. We watched the river flowing down the road from the “covered” beer garden of the Wheatsheaf quaffing a lovely pint and thoughts turned to next year. Will we do it again…..probably.
PHEW WHAT A SCORCHER
It read 25 degrees in my car as I arrived at Earls Colne Scout Hut and 31 when I left about four hours later. It truly was a scorcher. Even with much of the course in Chalkney Woods the heat was quite something.
The route in another beautiful area of Essex countryside following the Colne valley was designed by Dave Game. Dave had a lot of trouble over the preceding weeks with overgrown paths but found us some great paths to run on with only the tracks in Chalkney Woods being difficult due to slippery mud.
There were only a few people doing the half marathon route so not too many runners overtook me, although some managed to pass me at least twice.
The highlight for me was the impromptu shower set up by the friendly couple at the big house we ran in front of. I was really beginning to fade when this oasis appeared. The lady of the house even offered me a glass of water. I stood in the spray for a while and was quite wet. Five minutes later I was bone dry. There are some very nice people about.
Julia Binstead overtook me muttering about getting lost in the first sortie through the woods and then took a wrong turn. Asking me if this was the right way, I shouted “No” after her several times, but Julia did not hear. I even waited for her to reach the far side of the field, but she didn’t look round. There are some nice people about.
When Julia finally caught me up again in the woods she called me “Meanie” for not calling her back, but apologised when I told her I had.
For the last three miles I went into walk, jog mode which quite quickly became walk mode as I’m not trying to break any records (apart from Country & Western LPs, I can’t stand it). Bob Langley caught me up and we had a bit of a chat as we hadn’t seen each other for ages.
Back at the finish most of the shorter course runners had been and gone but thankfully left plenty of beer and food for us plodders.
Another great trail by Mid Essex Casuals.
FORAGE THROUGH THE BORAGE
We discovered this venue after our On Your Marks trail back in April. Michael, the owner, was keen about hosting so we are pleased that we had such a nice evening for the run and that you now all know of the existence of the barn. It was certainly different having a DJ at one of our events and hope you had an entertaining evening.
I planned the route before most of the crops had grown so Howard and I had quite a bit of gardening to do on the day of the race. One farmer was actually harvesting in the afternoon which unfortunately obliterated a couple of paths, but the marker posts were still clearly visible. We hope you enjoyed your forage through the borage as we spent some time making the path a bit more obvious. We thought that most of the course would be known to the locals, but apparently we did find a few new paths for you.
Mission Control was in a shady spot and it was soon evident that it was quite warm out on the course as the first finishers were dripping sweat everywhere. We had just set the last starters off as the first people returned so perfect timing for us as we just managed to get a beer in before the rush. I can thoroughly recommend Red Fox IPA by the way, a tasty session beer (that goes well with sausages).
The winner was Adam U’Glow Jones who along with Jackie Stretton, who was second, have become regulars at our events this year. Second man, a minute back, was Gary Chandler with Jon Byford just behind. Second lady was Lynn Higgs with Lucy Ferguson third.
Strangely despite the title of the race two of the above people had no idea that the bangers and mash was included in the entry fee.
There are trails every weekend for the next few weeks all still with plenty of spaces.
A SMUGGLER'S TRAIL
The trails over the last couple of weeks have certainly shown us how varied our county can be. After last week’s hills Justin and Nadine put on this trail from a new venue in one of the flattest parts of the county.
The course was a mile or so along the river then we turned inland through some pleasant country crossing the railway line twice before returning through the country park to the finish. A bit too much road for me, but just look at the map and you will see Justin used most of the footpaths available. The instructions had a few quirks but were spot on.
For me personally it was not the best of days. I went to bed on Saturday with stomach ache and still had it as I drove the windy (as in bendy not blowy) roads to Burnham. Maybe not the best surfaced but an excellently sized car park welcomed us to Swallowtails.
I enjoyed the riverside but as we turned inland I swallowed a fly and was retching when Richard Taylor came by and kindly allowed me a sip from his water bottle. We then encountered a friendly dog that should have trained its owners better. Then it was over the railway and a long road section.
After a long EP and some field edges a horse and rider came by. The runners in front carried on running and when I caught them up I told them horses have right of way and it is best to stop to let them pass. In most cases horses are very wary of runners and can get quite uppity just as their riders do. Luckily for us this rider was friendly and fully in control of her steed.
It was at this point that I read the instruction I had just done before talking to the runners and my extra mile followed all in the same field with lots of head scratching.
Back on course and no problems until encountering a DoE group who despite the aforementioned lack of footpaths had no idea where they were. It was at this point I swallowed fly number two. It was bigger and more easily digested so not a problem.
Some field edges and quite a bit of road before recrossing the railway and reaching the finish. Several people asked if I’d seen the swarm of bees, but they must have buzzed off before I got there.
Justin had originally planned this race for March last year so well done on clearing the undergrowth for us. Another excellent race from the Mid Essex Casuals stable. Scouting next week.
A really beautiful part of our county was shown in its full glory by some excellent routes devised by Sarah and David. The courses two years ago were excellent, but this year’s trip towards Castle Hedingham was even more scenic.
The day didn’t start too promisingly with quite heavy drizzly rain and grey skies. I was one of the first to start and the rain had abated. Four miles in however the heavens opened for five minutes and from then to the finish the humidity built and built in the full heat of the sun. It chucked it down on my drive home.
Being an early starter I was passed by almost all of the top ten finishers. First to overtake was Terry Brewster (4th) and Ian Brazier (5th). This was on a downhill road section in the rain which stopped as we turned off into the woods. They started together and were about 30 seconds apart when they passed me and 46 seconds at the finish, maybe they fell out in the first mile. Next to pass was the winner Allen Smalls, who I haven’t seen since Covid began. He obviously hasn’t lost any form and duly beat me by an hour!
Just before the railway crossing Adam Hunter (3rd) came by and not long after it was Lynn Higgs (9th/3rdlady). I kept Lynn in sight up three hills as the humidity began to build. At the top of the next climb Jon Byford (2nd) trotted by and the course became much flatter to the finish.
In sight of the finish on the village green Polly Bridgman (6th and winning lady) and Rob Sirett (7th) beat me to the much needed bottle of water and bag of crisps which awaited us. The only two of the top ten not to pass me were Lucy Westcott (8th/2ndlady), who started much later and Richard “Snig” Sirett (10th) who started in front of me.
A great route taking the opportunity to climb every bump in the landscape (couldn’t have done better myself) which was appreciated by everyone at the finish.
Apart from 53 runners in the half marathon there were 68 competitors in the 7 miler won by Simon Morgan in a close finish with John and Sue Clarke. Lorraine and Simon Baker were less than a minute behind and third lady was Julia Binstead by virtue of a sprint finish win over daughter Kirsty.
11 people completed the 4.8 miler with David and Nadine Collins winning, ahead of Faye Smalls and Heather Jackson. Jacob Tomlin and Jim Slater were second and third.
SHORTENED BUT SWEET
The news that the course had to be curtailed due to fallen construction materials, forming a 6 foot high barrier, across the route was greeted by most of the entrants very happily as the morning did not look too promising with drizzle and a cool breeze.
The conditions were surprisingly humid as proved by the majority of finishers staying outside at the finish to partake of their after race drinks.
Despite us stressing that the first instruction TL down side of pub was immediately after exiting the pub several runners took the next left as well including last week’s winner
James Bosher who only lives a mile away from the pub.
After missing out to James last week by 20 seconds Antony Goodall took sweet revenge by running the course without deviations to win by 4.5 minutes. Jon Byford again ran well to place third. Lynn Higgs claimed another first place with Lorraine Baker and Sarah Colbert again claiming podium positions.
The Prince of Wales again proved a welcoming venue and we will definitely be back soon.
CASTLE ON THE HILL
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.
Bangers & Mash Trail