Essex 20 Run Report – by Elliott Cone
The title gives it away, it’s in Essex and its 20 well 20 miles. Having completed the race last year I knew what it had in store, 3 laps of country lanes and a pig of a hill on each loop. Last year I ran a large part of the race with Peter Cole in a time of 2:35 on what was a rather sunny day. This year was the complete opposite a nice fresh breeze and clouds threatening rain.
After 14,000 Facebook messages Ian agreed to drive in his soon to be traded in car, as usual with most runs I was last in line to be picked up. Ian rolled up on time with Lloyd and Andy in full spirits and off we went. Spending a fair bit of time in the car I was slightly concerned that Ian had no Satellite Navigation and was relying on remembering the route from a thing called a map, how strange. A12, Shell garage, right, left and straight simples we made it directed onto a field by a marshal to park Ian saw a space and parked in the carpark #rulebreaker.
We made our way into the village hall to collect our numbers. It was then that moment the reveal of the Royal Blue and lucky red/orange shorts, I felt safe though as LOSS were there in numbers should things get messy. Number pinned to my T-Shirt, Ian and Lloyd got out there scissors, laser guided spirit level and clipped there numbers on.
After a conversation on pace Ian, Justin, Andy, Martin and I decided to treat it as a training run at a steady 8:00 min mile. We were ready!!
As it was pretty cold outside and I’m not from the North I decided not to warm up and stayed inside as long as possible. Heading outside and meeting up with the pack we waited for the 3-2-1 go and off we went.
First mile out the way 7:37 darn to fast “lets slow-down” we all agreed, mile 2 7:31 the plan was out the window and it was full on PB chasing for all of us. We all ran together in a pack which I can only explain as something like the Kenyans do, all taking it in turns to hold the pace and keep it moving even being joined by a few other runners. I ignored the first water station and waited for the next which was a mistake, I should have ignored that as well BLOODY PLASTIC CUPS, after attempting to drink and spilling more over my face than drinking I gave up.
The miles ticked away, despite the loops, “I remember that pot hole” “I remember that cottage”. Ten miles came and went and we were all still running strong and somehow holding a conversation 13, 14, 15 miles Dave Miller had not fallen over, Justin had not pulled a muscle, I was not sitting on a wall waiting for Anne and Graham all was good and the banter was still flying around. Passing mile 17 and no flagging for a lift home, today was not going to be that day.
Shortly after this point the pack broke up a little, the pig of hill had taken its toll on the third lap leaving Martin and I out in front and encouraging each other to keep going 3 laps of parkrun, 2 laps of parkrun a look at the watch can we break 2:30. We pushed on still feeling strong hitting the 19 mile marker with time to spare in fact the last mile was the quickest over all.
Seeing the village hall was of some relief but I was still not sure where the finish line was, shouting to some bystanders they pointed us in the right direction, sharp left onto the field and all done Garmin stopped 2:28 a cloud nine moment. Shortly after Andy then Ian rolled in all with awesome times, none of us believing the times we had achieved, could all of the training from the last few months actually be working.
A quick change and bacon roll and everyone was back in PB’s on all fronts I believe.
As with every race next stop Beer. We walked a short distance to the local The Sheppard and Dog I think, the first thing I noticed no Sheppard’s and no Dogs this was pure ladies and gents. We looked extremely out of place in our hoodies and shorts made even worse by it being mother’s day. We all discussed our times and what our better half’s call us after getting in from a run – A dog, you stink, Jezz spring to mind. After paying a tenner for two points and a member staff after one of us said “we are going soon” replying “that’s good” I think it was time for us to leave.
Back in Ian’s car ready for the ride home and some Facebook updates.
Summary – Massive confidence boost for Brighton after not ending up on the kerb on what is a really good race and route for the money. Will I be back next year, well it’s not a marathon, so likely.