Our annual road races took place on the 19th November 2023. This year the Turners Blinds and Shutters 10 mile, the John Chisnall 5 mile and the Plant Parts 2k Junior Fun Run were sold out well in advance making for a really busy race day. In contrast to the heavy rain of the previous week, the day was dry, bright and relatively warm with a moderate breeze to keep the runners cool.
First off at 10 o’clock was the junior race, once again kindly sponsored by Plant Parts Ltd of Crockatt Road, Hadleigh. The two kilometre course took the runners aged between four and sixteen along the riverside walk and onto the muddy tracks beyond. Nobody seemed to mind the mud, though, and everyone came back happy for a well deserved medal.
This year, the senior races were started by guest speaker Tawanda Chiwira, the double Olympic Zimbabwean 400m runner. We were delighted that he agreed to come and give some sage words of encouragement to the athletes, award the trophies and man the microphone welcoming the athletes back to the finish line.
The ten mile event has a reputation as being a challenging run with some tough hills and often imperfect road conditions. This year’s races were won by Patrick Hannah of Cambridge Tri Club in a time of 55:04, and Kate Creak of Colchester Harriers in 1:05:00.
For the Hares, Brendon Mayer finished in 1:10:25, Joel Bamsey in 1:22:01, Nikki Vince in 1:22:04 second in her age category, Belinda Godbold in 1:24: 27 winning her age category, Elaine Turner in 1:24:58, Niel Holloway in 1:28:55, and Fiona Manthorpe in 1:37:44.
The John Chisnall 5 Mile race is no less challenging, with the added bonus of a long and steep hill right at the start which can take the unprepared by surprise. The course, however, must have suited the male winner as Oliver Hitchcock of Bury St Edmunds Pacers set a new course record with a phenomenal 26:11, or to put it another way a pace of 5:13 per mile. The female winner was Cath Jeffrey, another Bury St Edmunds Pacer who came in at 32:45. For the first time we were able to present a trophy for the first non-binary finisher. Well done to our own Ella Bodsworth who finished with a time of 53:13.
Other Hares taking part were Crystal Murray, finishing in 40:09 third in her age group, Nathalie Hooper in 40:25 winning her age group, Ian Bodsworth in 55:01, Julia Bilotta in 57:57 second in her age group, and Tracey Squirrell in 58:02.