It's plane sailing for runners at Debden Airfield
It was wet, windy and rather late but Remembrance Run Essex finally took flight on an aeroplane-shaped course at the historic airfield
Nick Harris-Fry was the first Strava artist to make a picture of an aircraft in the flagship half marathon at the postponed Remembrance Run Essex on Sunday 13 December. The race winner (1:12:11) was representing Orion Harriers and is pictured at the start, wearing the blue headband on the far left.
RAF Debden opened in April 1937 and featured in the 1938 comedy film 'It's in the Air', when George Formby apparently flew a Hawker Fury completely through both ends of Hanger No.3! The disused tarmac airfield is now known as Carver Barracks and the venue lends itself perfectly to fast running, with no gradients or sharp turns. The venue is about three miles south-east of Saffron Waldron, Essex.
There were 375 runners in small wave starts in four races between 9:00am and 4:00pm – a long day for the marshals and officials in rather damp and dismal weather conditions. However, the British bulldog spirit was invoked at this Battle of Britain venue and money was raised in support of the Felix Fund – the bomb disposal charity – as well as honouring our fallen heroes. The event was postponed from 7 November due to the national lockdown.
First to race were the 5K runners and Thomas Keen (Cambridge & Coleridge, 14:44) lived up to the promise of his surname with a whopping 37 seconds personal best. Khasisa Mhlanga (Herts Phoenix, 17:08 PB) was also flying to win the women's race.
Next, it was chocks away for the 10K runners and victory rolls for Ryan Burling (Marshall Milton Keynes, 30:15) and Tracy Barlow (Thames Valley Harriers, 36:19). There were 171 finishers in 1:16:24, making this the most popular event on the programme.
Then it was time for the half marathon pilots to get into formation for their battles on the concrete runways. Their mission was to complete three laps of the 'fuselage, wings and tail' circuit and Nick Harris-Fry added to the PB count with his 1:12:11, ahead of George Gathercole (Aldershot, 1:13:01) and Richard Price (Wargrave, 1:13:48).
Top guns in the women's race were W40 Jen Baird (London Frontrunners, 1:24:06), Katie Austin (Ipswich Jaffa, 1:28:08 PB) and Janine Makaronidis (Mornington Chasers, 1:29:29 PB). There were 106 finishers in 2:32:54.
Finally, the young milers were unleashed and Naimah Mossi (4:56) beat the boys to finish first.
Full results available via runABC South race listing here