It was 'Groundhog Day' at the Billericay Striders' 10K as the event was once again blessed with autumn sunshine and Road Runners Club member Paul Whittaker claimed his fourth victory on Sunday morning (4 November).
Paul Whittaker was third at Billericay 10K ten years ago and he has dominated proceedings since 2014, setting the course record of 30:31 in 2015. This year a mere 32:42 sufficed to claim the handsome overall trophy ahead of Alec Finch (Thurrock Harriers, 34:27) and Jim Pincini (36:09).
The women's race saw Megan Evans (Chelmsford AC, 38:19) in equally impressive form to win with almost three minutes to spare over W35 masters Rachel Brown (41:04) and Andrea Hughes (Leigh-on-Sea Striders, 41:44). Kerry Holland's course record (37:00) has survived since 2013.
At four to score, the team prizes went to Thurrock Harriers men and Leigh-on-Sea Striders women. There were 592 finishers in 1:25:15 and just inside 54 minutes would get you halfway up the field. A total of 24 runners powered home inside 40 minutes and the nominated race charity this year was St Luke's Hospice.
The race HQ is based at West Billericay Community Association, Hannakins Farm, Billericay and the undulating, multi-terrain course features a narrow footbridge to avoid a slippery ford.
The lively Billericay Striders 10K Facebook
page was fulsome with praise for the course and volunteer marshals and officials who create such a great atmosphere in the Essex town. Typical of the posts was David Hayday's remarks: “Massive congratulations to Bllericay Striders for another superb event today. Particularly nice touch to book the weather too! Really enjoyed it, even if I couldn't quite improve on last year's time. Thank you and thank you each and every volunteer that made it possible”.
Sarah McArthur added: “Thank you Billericay Striders for another wonderful event. Such lovely smiley marshals and so many of them keeping us safe and sane. Wonderful weather and number 13 was lucky for me - course and 10km PB! Can’t wait for next year”.
Image courtesy Billericay Striders