Halstead Road Runners were honoured to be among only a handful of clubs invited to take part in Ipswich JAFFA’s 40 lap track race on Monday 2 October as part of the club’s 40 years in running. The event took place at Northgate Sports Centre and saw teams of 6 runners made up of a junior, 2 ladies and 3 men completing 40 laps of the track. Each member of the team had to run a minimum of 4 laps.

Martha May, Halstead’s chosen junior and the youngest competitor on the night at only 7 years of age, toed the line first amongst some of the fastest runners in North Essex and Suffolk. An intimidating prospect for any runner! Martha got Halstead off to a great start running 2 laps in succession before handing over the baton to Caroliena Cameron. After a last minute change of plan the adult members of the team then each ran a lap with the running order being Rachael Roughan, Andy Owen, Jim Clark and Wes Atkins. Martha then ran a further 2 laps recording her fastest ever mile.

It was then down to the adults to show what they could do continuing in their 1 lap order giving it everything on each effort running into the wind on the back straight. Caroliena and Rachael both did 5 laps with Andy, who will be racing York Marathon this weekend, completing 8 laps. Jim and Wes put in supreme efforts completing 9 laps each to hit the 40 lap total. Martha also had the privilege of ringing the bell to signal the club’s final lap.

There was a fantastic atmosphere at the event despite the cold with great support for Halstead from Jenn Langley, Steve May, Captains Dan Hollinshead and Charlotte May. Bob Langley and Nicole Smith took on the role of lap counters.

Colchester Harriers were the first club to complete their 40 laps with Halstead placing a very impressive 7 out of 25 teams. Runners and their lap counters were rewarded with a commemorative mug and tea and cake in the sports hall after the event. David Smith MBE, Chairman of JAFFA in his closing remarks commented on how the participation of the juniors in the event had been a personal highlight from the evening.

On Sunday Treena Harrington took on the Southend 10k. The course is a traffic free, flat out and back along the seafront. Treena finished in 54:20.

On Sunday evening the club hosted their annual awards evening at The King’s Head in Gosfield. Amongst the winners were Sara Burnham who was named Most Improved Female Runner and Wes Atkins who came away with trophies for Most Improved Male Runner and Male Cross Country Runner. Club person of the year was Charlotte May for all her hard work as Ladies Captain. The Captains’ Award was given to Axel Voigt in recognition of the tough year he has had personally since losing his wife. Despite this he has supported other members of the club and also thrown himself into his running achieving numerous personal bests in recent months.

Photo attached of our team at the JAFFA event last night (courtesy of Dan Hollinshead).