Carwyn Jones takes overall prize

The Stebbing 10 held on November 8th drew to a close the 2015 Essex Road Race Grand Prix season which started many months ago with the Essex 20, followed by the Halstead Marathon, Brentwood 10k, Pleshey Half Marathon, Wix 5 miles and finally the weekend’s 10 mile road race, hosted this year by Grange Farm & Dunmow.

Just 10 runners competed (and completed) all 6 races and 729 took part overall. The Remembrance Day event at Stebbing, is preceded by one minute’s silence adjacent to the start line, by the village church, to remember the members of the armed forces who have died in the line of duty. Several Colchester Harriers were supporting Jones, not least coach Peter West, on mountain bike and megaphone. Knowing that with Chris Sellens out of the running, (nursing a mysterious heel injury) a finish was all that was required. The weather was ok; overcast and a bit breezy, but mild. Boy! Did he take that chance, finishing 3rd in a personal best of 55.42 and securing a deserved overall top spot. A little further back were Ged McMillan (58.47) and (1st over 50) Colin Ridley (59.00). Paul Rodgers, who is also having a great run of form, couldn’t quite break his own expectations but still finished in a terrific time of 62.00.

The course is relatively flat apart from a climb at mile 7, almost until mile 8; naturally the wind was against us for that stretch and so provided a good reason for not achieving personal targets. One who wanted to break 65 minutes was Martyn Clarke who was 47th in 65.04. Despite a 5-second PB he was clearly disappointed after the race and refused free cake. Defying all logic was Richard Boden in 62nd place with another PB in 66.33; but he dashed off straight away and so was unavailable to explain himself. Nonchalant as ever, with one eye on Valencia and another eye on his last minute overtaking strategy was the excellent Simon Smith in 85th (69.29).

Our sole lady entrant was Annette Oakman, 20th lady finisher in another great time of 74.39. In total, 494 runners finished the race which was really well organised; cakes and coffees were served afterwards, which was helpful as we all settled down to wait for Carwyn’s award ceremony. After some time, Gary Chandler found a few nice words to say and the man with the big hair took a bow. The men’s team of Jones, McMillan and Ridley were silver to a commanding Orion team, who, with Springfield took most of the awards with some strong performances.

In the car home, with Smith, Rodgers and Clarke, Carwyn was in a fine mood offering to buy the beers; knowing that as professionals we would all say no. Well, if you’re ever in any doubt, ask yourselves: what would Dave Wright do?

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