March saw the end of a very damp and what seemed at times, interminable winter. Spring didn’t show at all and it was more or less straight into Summer with some balmy days as the road running season got into its stride.
The Silverstone Half Marathon kicked things off with February’s runner of the month, Jamie Neil making further progress with another pb performace. Jamie was joined in the pb enclosure by Martin Owen who cut an astounding 30 minutes off his time for the same event in 2013.
A week later saw no less than 27 runners turn out for the Club at the Essex 20 at Langham. Superb conditions enabled a hatful of pbs and good solid early season performances. There were a number of great runs by you but my performance of the day was another superb run by Vice-Captain Chris, notching up yet another Club all time top 10 performance. Chris is a complete inspiration, unnecessarily modest and goes about his business quietly. He is a great example to everyone and hopefully now thoroughly embaressed! Since the start of the year, there have been 5 new entries in the men’s top 10 and I’m sure there will be more than a couple more before we reach mid-Summer.
The increasingly popular Colchester Half Marathon followed closely the next weekend with another great turnout from the Club. Yet more pbs and some personal breakthrough performances from Keven Stevens and Shawn Leek. I’m sure your times will tumble further now you’ve gone sub 1:30 and sub 1:40. Also, well done to Del and John Booty for a couple of great debut Halves. A mention too for a solid run by John Mckay who also competed in the Essex 20 a couple of week previously.
Another weekend, another Half or three came next. January’s runner of the month, Charlie Keitch Doing a Kev and Shawn by dipping, by quite a way, under 1:25 to give him a personal breakthrough and tears to boot. It’s something you have to experience to appreciate, I and I’m sure a number of you, know exactly how Charlie felt. A cracking performance and again, more to come. Continuing the Silver Standard theme was young Malcolm Jarvis with a new pb in 1:37 at the Joe Cox Half in Stowmarket.
My personal highlight of the month was Clive’s run in Rome. For a number of reasons, Clive’s not run a competitive race since 2008 and, despite being dogged by niggles, further injury and spending most of his time
helping other people with their running when he should have been training, managed a fantastic 3:49:20 clocking on what was a very tough and, at times, very wet course. Nicky also managed a pb at shopping in the Eternal City.
The final weekend of the month saw Paul Blackwell run his 25th Half Marathon during March, or at least that’s the way it seemed. Rodger rounded off the month with a short trot of 30 miles in the New Forest Ultra prior to attacking a new set of Standards in April.
Throughout the month, the ParkRun series continued with a good number running on most if not all Saturdays. Mark Crittenden managed two pbs at one event; a fantastic 25:19 and he didn’t fall over. Great effort Mark. Shawn closed the ParkRun month by running a close second to Harrison at Maldon. I need to make a special mention of Joe Alexander who showed the way home at two of the events. Joe has abundant talent but what you don’t see is the close to death effort he puts in during training to get him to the high standard he has reached. Rodger carefully manages Joe’s diet by ensuring he eats everything first.
Sorry if you’ve not had a mention in dispatches, there are too many to set out and make this readable. Rest assured however that no performance goes unnoticed. You will always get a mention in Marion’s fantastic races reports.
I’m not sure I’m the best person for the job, but I will always to my best for each you in equal measure as Captain, please don’t hesitate to let me know if there’s anything you need or have any ideas that will be of benefit to others. I know Chris shares in this sentiment.
With so many stand-out performances, the hardest part of this is selecting a runner of the month. For his solid Essex 20 and great Colchester Half performance, for March my choice is Shawn Leek.
And finally to end War and Peace (next time with be shorter), here’s my tip for the month: Make sure every run has a purpose, be it strength, repeats, threshold, endurance or recovery, plan what you intend to achieve before you set out and don’t deviate unless you are injured. Even if you are running better than expected, stick to your original plan. I find this helps your race focus and helps you develop mental strength and control.