Gents, Firstly I lied when I said this month’s report would be shorter, but with such a great month for many of you, I hope that you’ll understand.
Early April saw the culmination of many months and miles of winter training for a good number of you with the Manchester and London events. Don’t forget to spare a thought for those whose races have yet to come, the late arrivals in May tend to get overlooked while you early Spring birds have forgotten all the pain and suffering and genuine euphoria and agony that the distance can bring.
Conditions for both races were pretty near perfect which showed in the number of pbs that were achieved. The Manager Runner of the Month curse stayed well and truly away with another pb from Mr March (gives me an idea for a calendar though goodness knows who’d actually buy it), Shawn Leek. The metaphoric sun also shone there for Del Godding and Michael James, oh and some guy named Warren?
London turned out to be a mixed bag of emotions and varying degrees of pain, I hope the latter has been healed with time. Kevin’s Stevens wasn’t jumping or even limping for joy but was philosophical saying there’d be another day. Fantastic attitude to have and an approach we all ought to have when things don’t go quite to plan. The main thing is to enjoy running and learn from both good and bad experiences. I’ve seen many people beat themselves up, especially after a marathon and become negative about running in general. Well done to all of you who ran, and who achieved massive pbs. For those that didn’t have the most positive of experiences, just follow Kevin’s lead, there will be other days. I just want to highlight the performances of David and Michael AKA the Two Little Boys (sing along if you know it) who have been inseparable in recent months, well until now that is. After a superb 3:03, David is no longer the best kept running secret for those who have seen him at Friday training, watch him fly in 2014. Big thumbs up to Ben who got a massive pb.
I had the pleasure of watching the Great Bentley Bog Snorkling section at the Gauntlet in early April. Although we had a reasonably dry March, there was plenty of mud to be had, most of it seemed to be clinging to Jamie and Phil. Andy Fuller was remarkably clean at the end. I didn’t see Ben or Scott but to be honest, most people were unrecognisable from those that started including, fortunately, the old man who decided to run in just his pants. The run is not something I ever want to consider participating in but all I would say is that without fail, everyone smiles and cheers when they finish. It’s very different in that respect from road or track races.
In a bid to avoid Joe Alexander at Colchester park run, more of that later, Charlie Keitch took the extreme step of running a 5k in Baltimore, which I think is somewhere West of Wales. Later in the month, another solid run at Sudbury saw him get closer to the magic 30 minute mark, no pressure (yeah right) but that has to be on the agenda for this year.
Tom Fowler and Darren Horner grabbed their passports and headed for Bungay to tackle the tricky half. With very respectable times and placings of 33rd in 1:34:57 and 25th in 1:32:56 respectively.
Mark Ross lead the men home at the Skyline 5 at Braintree. I’m really chuffed about this as I know Mark has struggled with injuries for a few years but now it looks like he’s turned the corner and is getting stronger. His legs also get whiter as the Summer progresses.
Parkrunners were out in force once more in April with Joe winning his 3rd race on the trot on the 5th. He then gave someone else a chance when he chose to compete for Britain in a duathlon in Holland where he finished 4th in has age group (Later upgraded to a bronze). Then to top that off, he won the Harwich Duathlon, followed by Dan who came a fantastic second. Wearing blue have obviously been the turning point for Joe. He is a very special athlete, again because of his blue vest, Joe was number 1 in the UK last year at 5 miles, I’m not sure how many of you know that, certainly for me, it was something that deserved greater recognition at the time. The Mickey Edwards series also kicked off in April with some great performances. There were some really good 5K pbs in the month. The stand out run for me was young Rodger Alexander who got his first gold on Wednesday. He left absolutely nothing on the road and, at the risk of poking the bear, don’t ever say standards get easier as you get older. What an effort.
All in all, a great month for GBRC men and augers really well for the rest of the year, I’m especially looking forward to being able to put out some strong teams at the Ekiden relays on the 13th July. Please make a note in your diaries, the call to arms will be coming out soon. I think we have great strength in depth this year, I don’t think I’ve known so many men running close to or under 19 minutes at the Club.
Usually, the Runner of the Month will be someone who has performed consistently in races during that period and not necessarily at a single event. However, this month there is one person who did such an outstanding single performance that I’ve had to bend my rule. Well done nonetheless to many of you who I know ran your socks and more off this month and especially to Joe who, in normal circumstances and had he not cheated by using a bike, would have taken the award.
Four years ago, this man ran the Ipswich Half in 1:31 and was over the moon. 3 years ago at Edinburgh he achieved 3:07 and you’d think that would be enough. In 2012, he ran a near-perfect London marathon with two splits of 1:30:12 to complete the race in 3:00:24. At that point, many people would have said enough, and it’s very hard to pick yourself up when you’ve worked so hard to break what is to you an all-important barrier. However, he dusted himself off, changed his training and came back in 2013 with a phenomenal 2:56 at London to get that monkey off his back. For most people (here we go again) that would be more than enough. This year, he decided to ‘go for it’ and blasted Manchester in 2:50:16. This equates to sub – 40:30 for 10K, sub 65 for 10 miles, 1:25 for a half and sub 2:10 for 20 miles. He rightly takes his place as one of the best runners this Club has ever had. If you are sitting down reading this, then I urge you to stand up and applaud, for his Manchester Marathon performance, certainly one of the best performances in my 7 years at the Club. My April runner of the month is Chris Warren. I can’t really express how proud we are as a Club and no one can sum up better how we feel about him than the great guys ….
And finally to end here’s my tip for the month: Although we live in a flat part of the country, many of the races contain the odd hill or two or more. There are a number of elements to the art of running up and down hills but this time I’ll focus on something I call cresting. If you watch most people in training or a race, they will start to ease their effort as they approach the top of the hill. By maintaining your form and picking up the pace very slightly at the top, you will gain advantage over those who naturally ease up. It will take a little longer for your breathing to recover but be positive and safe in the knowledge that it will happen. It’s something you can easily practice on any hill sessions you do on your own or with the Club, just push on for 20 metres after the top of each hill repeat and then go into recovery mode. Dave Goldsmith can tell you how much fun this was at the Club session at the Arena a few weeks back!