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Bishop’s Stortford Running Club members take on Grizzly 20 in Seaton, Devon





A hardy half-dozen Bishop’s Stortford Running Club members took on a gruelling long-distance challenge with the tagline ‘The Good, The Bad and The Grizzly’.

They travelled to Seaton in Devon for the Grizzly 20, which is organised by Axe Valley Runners, on Sunday.

Five of the group took on the 20-mile course featuring 3,000ft of ascent, including the infamous ‘Stairway to Heaven’ - two stretches of pebble beach totalling over a mile - and two waist-deep bogs.

The Grizzly Cub, which Andy Wheeldon took on, is no less harsh, consisting of nine miles of similar terrain.

Everyone finished in one piece and with a smile on their face. Lara Wheeldon, Andy Pooley, Paul Malone and Peijie Zhu ran together, finishing in 5hr 16min.

Mark Wilds also took part while Jane Malone took the sensible option and was there to capture the madness on camera.

Grizzly finishers, from left, Paul Malone, Andy Pooley, Mark Wilds, Andy Wheeldon, Lara Wheeldon and Peijie Zhu
Grizzly finishers, from left, Paul Malone, Andy Pooley, Mark Wilds, Andy Wheeldon, Lara Wheeldon and Peijie Zhu

Closer to home was the Essex 20, including the Essex County 20-mile championship for those who are eligible by birth or residence, which was hosted at Carver Barracks in Debden. It was also a club championship race so there were points up for grabs for league positions.

The 20-miler consists of five laps of the airfield, which makes for a flat but windy route. There was also a 5k and 10k option.

Adam Beaumont led team green and gold home in 1hr 55min 18sec, with Matt McRandal next in 2:08.43 followed by Jamie Smith in 2:53.54.

Paul Walker (3:24.20) and Feridun Kadir (3:41.20) were both debutants at the distance so have set themselves a PB target for next time.

BSRC members, from left, Paul Walker, Jamie Smith, Feridun Kadir at the Essex 20
BSRC members, from left, Paul Walker, Jamie Smith, Feridun Kadir at the Essex 20

Rachel Turvey completed the race in 4:14.26 for a final flourish before her marathon in four weeks’ time. Eilidh Malcolm took on the 10k version, finishing in 43min 6sec.

A bit further across Essex was the Colchester Half Marathon. Paul Newton ran the distance for the first time in six years and finished in 1:22.35, just 30 seconds off his PB from a decade ago.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Haynes finished fifth in his V65 age group when he travelled to Denbighshire in Wales for the British Masters Cross Country Championships.

The course was approximately 6k and included a muddy field, a short, sharp hill, a longish climb and a stream.

Dylan Van Wyk and Evan Stewart both ventured to Battersea Park in London for a multi-distance race.

The former took on the shortest distance and finished second in his wave in a PB of 15.58 while the latter took on the half marathon distance and finished in 1:36.52.



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