A small amount of admin before I start the newsletter this month: Subs (£25) were due at the start of April and if people pay promptly that really does make Paul and Eileen’s lives easier. If you have yet to pay your subs, please do so by 1st June to retain the fabulous benefits of membership. Please also know that anyone can speak to any member of the committee in confidence about subs should you need. Subs should be paid by bank transfer into the GBRC account.

So… on to the newsletter!

A look back

April has been so busy! I shan’t re-hash race reports in this newsletter (I have done my time writing those!), if you have not followed what has been going on, do check out the reports on the GBRC webpage: thanks to Scott, Caroline and Paul for following the blue vests as they race each week!

Traditionally April is associated with 26.2 mile runs, both Boston and London (two of the world majors) are run in April, and in the UK we also have Manchester, Brighton, Southampton… and more I can’t remember! Our ladies were representing throughout the month and our female team at London was (I think!) one of the largest we have fielded in a few years. As I said last month, marathons are achievable by all, however they take an immense amount of discipline and determination so I really think the club should be proud of having so many ladies able to go the distance.

Speaking of going the distance, we cannot forget that the Marathon de Sables was ran this month. I think I am not alone in my amazement that anyone is brave (silly?!) enough to give the race a go. Our interest in the race was of course Hélène Tyler. Super well done Hélène on completing this monster of a challenge.

From one monster challenge to another, this month saw Janine bag her 100th marathon. She has been quietly ticking them off the list since I’ve been at the club and it is an absolute delight to see her get to the end of her quest and pick up her yellow and blue 100 MC shirt.


April also saw the first in this summer’s series of GBRC trail runs. Well done to the 20 ladies who successfully navigated the course. You may have noticed that on that day we welcomed members of #team2gether to run the trail run with us. I have had loads of positive feedback from members of that group so thank you for all being so welcoming, we continue to be a friendly club for all runners and it makes me proud to be a member.

Earlier this month was the Bromley 10k; a race that once again turned into a happy hunting ground for GBRC personal bests. A highlight at this race was seeing Claire Groves back to competing after a few months off with baby Noah: and back with a PB! Natalie Warriner also returned from a baby-break to run the Bromley 10k and then went on to compete in triathlon later in the month. It is fab to welcome these ladies back to our running ranks!

We also welcome Chusa Bautista-Fructuoso back to running. This month she has completed parkrun twice, only 6 months after fracturing her knee in a cycle crash. For all of you currently suffering with injury, take Chusa as your inspiration… however frustrating it is, it is temporary and you will come back.

We also had the Comic Hero run in Castle Park; coupled with Easter Bunnies at the start of the month, that gave at least two opportunities for fancy dress over the last 30 days!

Going off road a group also went to Heybridge for an LDWA challenge. There was a variety of distances available, including marathon distance so well done to all who competed there.

Finally, it would appear that triathlon season is firing up, with a couple of our ladies, Sam Godden and Natalie Warriner, already competing. We are lucky at the club to have a good number of experienced triathletes and duathletes so if this is something that takes your fancy I am sure there will be someone who can give you information about getting involved.

A look ahead

May brings the start of the Mickey Edwards series: a chance to test your legs against the fastest 5k course around! It doesn’t matter if you can’t come to every race, so don’t let that put you off; turn up when you can and #getinvolved.

We will also see a few 10k races this month, Colchester 10k; the re-arranged Stampede 10k around the zoo; Boxted 10k, the list goes on. The current training schedule has lots of intervals and speed endurance training included in it this month which will set you up for this distance, so check that out on the training section of the webpage.

For those who like to venture off -road, the second trail run will take place on 20th May. Do come to these if you can as Rodger loves to get a big crowd of people. If you haven’t tried it before, don’t worry there will be groups for first timers and you will soon pick the skill of trail running up. For more off-road, I will again promote the Essex XC Summer Series – a 10k race each month at venues around the county: the first one is on May 12th at Hylands Park (Chelmsford). At the end of the month there is also the Mayflower run along the Harwich end of the Essex Way footpath.

Another one for the speed demons: a new Friday 5 venue has been announced this year at Sudbury on 25th May. This will be the start of the Friday 5 series, which ends at our own on July 6th. Please do support the series if you can, as traditionally we have had a good showing of blue vests in each race; however please do not enter the Great Bentley Friday 5! We ask that (if able) club members volunteer to help at the race on the night and we will be having the usual ballot for those who have an interest in running the race. Look out for Paul’s email about volunteering for the Friday 5 nearer the time.

So, so much going on in May to get involved in. As the sun comes out there is a tendency to run for a little bit further, run a few extra times a week or race on a Friday night before rocking up at parkrun on a Saturday. None of these things are necessarily bad, however remember that it is more enjoyable to run three times a week without pain or worry, than do too much too soon and start to feel the onset of an injury. Build the miles up over time, increase the speed over time and you will have a super summer of running! If you have questions about building up specific parts of your training then do speak to Caroline and Mick our fabulous GBRC coaches.

There will be many of us heading towards the same races and events this month: where we can let’s share cars. Not only does it help the organisers as the car-parks are often crowded, but it means you gave someone to help calm the nerves as you travel to the race and someone to celebrate or commiserate with on the way home.

Looking beyond May, we are currently taking names for the Ekiden Relay in July. The relay is run in teams of 6 (two 10k legs, a 7.2k leg and three 5k legs). I will be putting the teams together nearer the time and at the moment we are about 50% full. If you would like to run, and EVERYONE is welcome, please email Paul C. to put your name down.

Welcome welcome…

Welcome this month to Michelle Mason and to Christina Riddiough. I think I have yet to meet you both in person, so do say hello when I am next around (you will know me by my loud voice!). I hope that you have enjoyed training with us so far and are looking forward to a good summer of running with the blue-vests.

What an inspiration!

It started with a long list, then I narrowed to a (slightly) shorter list… each month I hope to highlight some ladies that have personally inspired me for the dedication they put into their training, the fears or obstacles they overcome and their courage to take on new challenges:

A stalwart of marathon running; Vicky Presland you have done it once again! The conditions at the London Marathon this year were horrific. I think we all underestimated how hot it would feel and for you to run a Gold Standard for the age category two below your official one is outstanding. Even in the conditions, Vicky’s time came in at number 4 on the GBRC top 10: an inspiration to us all

I mentioned her last month, but she smashed it again this month. The dedication she puts into her training, is commendable and it paid off! Eileen Shadford, your marathon run at London placed you in the top 2% of runners in your age group, be very very proud. Eileen also ran a personal best at the Bromley 10k earlier in the month: the woman is on fire!

(I think!) Only one of our ladies’ team managed a personal best at their marathon this month: Caroline Searle! I know it was hard, but you pushed through, remembered your training, had faith and got there. I hope this has given you confidence that next time you stand on the start of a 20+ mile race you have the strength to go even faster. Well done.

And, well what can I say, Janine Simpson. 26.2 miles x 100 (plus all the extra bits from ultra-marathons!). Janine is the first GBRC lady to join the 100 Marathon Club and we couldn’t be more pleased for her. The feat takes months and months of dedication and focus and is something very few will ever achieve. Not only has she done many of them, Janine is fast as well! She holds the 8th fastest time in our top 10 for marathons. Such a fabulous achievement that cannot be overstated, well done Janine.

Runner of the Month

My gosh… how to decide on a ROM this month. I debated and sighed, and debated and sighed, and I kept coming back to the same place, so it must be right!

You have exceeded every expectation, hope and dream. We thought you were mad, we thought you might get cold feet and duck out…. But no, the Sahara kept them warm! If I remember rightly the preparation for MdS has been two+ years of work, including off road running, heat acclimatisation, learning how to pack a bag really efficiently, preparing your stomach for a week of dehydrated food, etc. You may have come back on crutches, but you will recover and we are all so so proud of you. We also thank you for the week of entertainment we had following you on the tracker! Many congratulations Hélène Tyler, you are my runner of the month.