The endurance runners were confronted with an unprecedented clash of fixtures at the weekend finding the County Pleshey Half Marathon clashing with the ever popular Southend 10k.

The only club runner making it to the Pleshey Half Marathon was Mick Bumstead, who exceeded even his own expectations by taking the winners prize in the 60+ category. Mick won his first county title 27 years ago and has been winning them regularly since but in a year where he has been plagued by injury, this came as a particularly pleasing victory.

Six club runners were among the 1200 finishers in the Southend 10k and all ran well. They were headed by Toby Draper who was 45th in 39m08s. Jason Syrett was pleased to duck under 40m again finishing 55th in 39m49s. Also making it to the top 100 was Gary Cahill with 41m59. Orsett’s Gary Rowlatt produced an excellent pb with a time of 42m51s. The indefatigable Patt Dobbs, now at an age when most people find it difficult to get out of a chair, completed the 6.25 miles in 61 minutes.

Sue Beck, still inexperienced, knocked 18 minutes (!) from her previous best by finishing overall 240 in a time of 47m01s.

This weekend the club hosts the first round of the Essex X-C league at One Tree Hill on Saturday. First race is at 10.00 with the open under 11’s and the senior race starting at 12.45.

On Sunday the County 10 mile championship is run in conjunction with the Tiptree 10.

Best Parkrun came at Thurrock from Jamie Mack (13) who is returning to his best form. He finished 23s behind Toby Draper with a time of 19m32s.

The club was visited by the CEO of England Athletics, Chris Jones, last Thursday. These visits allow him to keep his finger on the pulse of grass roots athletics. In an email the following day these were his comments. ‘Great to see you all last night. A superb evening that was hugely enjoyable. Thanks for your hospitality. It was evidently clear that the strong heritage and history of the club is being carried forward through the hard work from the volunteers. It was great to meet and listen to your hard working colleagues.’

Claire Whitbread