Where has the summer gone! It seemed to last for ages but also go so quick. I can’t believe we are already heading back into hi-viz season, but we are! So on that note… wear hi-viz to training!

A look back

I am only going to briefly look back at August as I think our fabulous race reporting team give a better report of your racing than I ever can.

So in brief there was: Ipswich Twilight – PB’s and standards galore! Rodger’s trail – “the directions must be wrong!” parkruns and Junior parkruns; Mid Essex Casual’s and Essex Trail Events trails; the Clacton half and 10k; the Mersea Island 5 and 10; the Dublin half; Aliens vs Trail Runners; a 7-miler in New York; the end of the Harwich 5k series and more…

Wow! Well done to every single one of the GBRC ladies that ran at these events.

Other than racing we had the summer club trip to the Yorkshire Three Peaks. I have yet to be able to do this event so I hope that one day Paul offers to put it on again, but maybe without the weather experienced this year! It was very wet and very cold so well done to all of you that completed the challenge.

And right at the start of the month there was the Run for Ben: a fund-raising event for the RNLI Lifeboat and in memory of Ben Quartermaine who lost his life off of the Coast at Clacton. A whole host of Bentley Blues ran from Frinton to Clacton and back and helped raise significant funds for the Lifeboat. We hope that such a tragedy never happens again.

On a more joyous note at the end of the month the Club celebrates the marriage of Sarah Fletcher to Paul Davison! Congratulations Sarah and Paul, I hope you are enjoying the first few days of married life. I have stolen a picture of the happy couple from Facebook; I hope they don’t mind!


A look ahead

There is lots to look forward to in September.

Where to start… where to start.. I know! Cross Country!

The cross country league starts on 28th October at Writtle and runs through to February. It involves 6 fixtures and we will hope to field large, strong teams over the weeks to reinforce our status as a Pool A club.

In preparation for the league season there is an opportunity to have a taster of the Gosfield course at the Cross Country Relays. The Relays are on Saturday 29th September (12:30 start) and we will be fielding male teams (four runners) females teams (three runners) and maybe some mixed teams (two male, two female). Everyone is welcome! You will run while carrying a relay baton (ooh la la!) and will each be running 5k for your team. If you want to be part of this fun event please contact Debs or me before 13th of September, preferably by email.

In addition to the relays and the league (six events), there are three other events that the XC season brings: Essex Champs (Vets only on 1/12/18 at Hilly Fields; all ages in January at Writtle); South of England Champs in January; and National Champs in February. So that is 10 events, (11 if you’re a vet) that you can get involved in. Vicky will be banging the drum for cross country over the winter (with me on tambourine in the background) so keep an eye for information about these events from her.

And if you can’t wait until 29th September, the last of the Essex Summer XC 10k’s is on 8th September at Weald Park. I ran this last year and it is a great course with hills, mud, gravel, grass… entry is via The Race Organiser although entry on the day is available so just turn up if you fancy it.

Tomorrow there are loads of events: best of luck to those running the Bedford Half and the Colne River Run to name two I know about.

I have had a look to see what events are on this month (relatively locally) that still have places as of today: the Langham 10k is next week (26 places left at the time of typing); and Pleshy half marathon is on 16th. There is the Chappel Ale Trail from Wakes Colne train station, which I believe includes entry in to the Chappel beer festival; Nuclear Blast and Nuclear Blackout obstacle course races; Colchester Stampede half marathon (includes zoo entry); the Dedham 10k, a GBRC favourite and on the course we use when training in Dedham; Run Through’s Olympic Park 5k and 10k; the Sandringham XK 10k, which goes through the Queen’s estate; and the Willy Waddle 2k at the Olympic park (includes costume, has a minimum fund raising target).

Best of luck to those running the Great East Run, the Great North Run, the Felixstowe Coastal 10. I think these are all sold out so we can’t now join you but will look forward to hearing race reviews afterwards!

Training continues as per the website

Just remember that the nights are drawing in, so it is time to get the bright yellow tops out.

Training is designed to makes us faster and more resilient to running injuries so keep attending and working consistently and you will reap the rewards in the coming months. It is confirmed that Craig is coming back to run the winter conditioning sessions starting in October, so that will also go towards keeping us all strong over the dark months.

As always, I recommend that if you have questions about specific areas of training or are worried about your training, speak to Michael or Caroline who are qualified coaches; and I am sure happy to help.

A final reminder as we look ahead to the next year; the entry for the GBRC half opens soon. As members of the club we ask that you DO NOT ENTER the race! Club members who want to run will be placed in a ballot and selected at random later in the year. There are plenty of other half marathons available for our members to run, and we try to have everyone we can have from the club marshalling and helping out at our race to make it one of the best marshalled and safest around, so please don’t enter when it opens.

Welcome welcome…

Welcome to all new ladies that have joined during August; I am slowing getting to meet you all on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays, do come and say hello to me when I’ve managed to make it to club. I hope your introduction to GBRC has been enjoyable and I look forward to running with you over the coming months!

This week there was a request for an introduction to type of races from one of the ladies in the squad. I am pretty sure she is not the only one wondering what it all means so here are some of the basics:

Road racing: the bread and butter of running. These involve running as a group for a defined (measured) distance. You are (usually) aiming to complete the course within a certain time or as fast as you can. Road races we are all familiar with are the London Marathon, half marathons such as the Great North Run, 10k races etc. Local ones you may have seen are the Great Bentley Half Marathon; the Colchester 10k; or coming soon the Langham 10k. Road racing is fast and furious and by running with others in a group you can often achieve more than you could imagine. Some peculiarities of road racing are:

  • Two types of timing: Gun and Chip. The start of a race will be signalled by a gun. The time between this going off and you crossing the finish line is the “gun time”. At smaller races this is the only way races are timed so if it takes a while for all runners to cross the start line, your gun time will include this waiting time before you cross the line and therefore will be slightly slower than the actual time it took you to complete the course.
    At larger races you may also get a “chip time”. You will be wearing a device (on your shoe or in your running number) that activates when you cross the start line. This then measures the actual time you spend on the course and will be accurate for you. Chip time will be less than your gun time and it is what the club uses for things such as standards and club champs.
  • Prizes: Road races have PRIZES! Prizes are based on gun time/finishing position so if even if your chip time is faster, if you finish behind someone they will get the prize. That means if you think you are in with a chance, get to the front of a field to start!
  • Age categories: Road races often award prizes not just to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd overall but to winners of categories (for example over 40 or over 60). This means that all ages of athlete are able to compete for something.

Time Trial: very similar to road racing, time trials have a set measured distance and are usually on the road. The difference is that athletes are not necessarily set off at the same time and so will be running the course effectively alone. Ones I have competed in have had runners set off in alphabetical order, or in the order they signed up to the event in.
The skill of time trialling is knowing yourself and your pace; and ignoring others, as you have no idea of the ability of the people around you. Unlike road racing there is no latching on to someone else and just following them to the finish! Each runner is individually timed and you only know who has won at the end when all the times are compared.

parkrun: a (maybe unique) mix of time trialling and road racing. Set up like a race with everyone setting off together and with gun timing, parkrun is officially a time trial event, not a race. So you can be the first to finish, but you can’t be the winner. parkrun can be used to practise before going to road races for real.

Handicap races: like golf, each runner is given a handicap and has to wait that amount of time before they are allowed to start running the course. Our Mickey Edwards series is this type of race. The winner is the first to finish; but may not be the fastest!

Relays: can be on road or cross country; you work in a team and one after the other run a set course. The total time between the first team member starting and the last team member finishing is taken as the result. You may need to carry a baton as you run, similar to the track relay races at the Olympics and such like, passing this between team members.

Cross Country: the opposite of road racing! On any terrain except the road, usually across fields or within woods. Cross country (XC) may or may not be timed, and if it is it will be gun time. Courses are not measured with accuracy but will give an estimate of distance.
At XC league you are running for position and we work as a team to get the lowest score: for ladies the position of the first four ladies from the club home are added to give the team’s score. We then compare with the other clubs to see who has the lowest. Even if you are not in that first four you are valuable to the team as you will be taking up positions and pushing back other teams’ runners (increasing their scores). To run in the league you have to be a member of one of the league clubs and have to attend in a club vest. GBRC is a member of the North-Essex-South-Suffolk League (also known as the 53-12 league)
For most cross country (and fell mentioned below) you will need to wear shoes with a grippy sole to avoid slipping in mud.

Here are some piccies of our ladies at XC to demonstrate the type of terrain, grass, muddy hills, big puddles, trees…:

Fell running / Hill running: we don’t have much of this on offer in East Anglia but this is running longer distances across the countryside. Courses are not marked and you need to travel between checkpoints via any route allowable (ie not crossing private land). Paths are not usually obvious. The skill is navigation and strength across tough terrain. In the UK fell running is more common up north and in Wales as they have the terrain for it!

Trail running: again off road but differs from fell running as you will have a set path to follow, and this is usually easier to run along than fell. There are two types of trail run:

  • Narrative: these are like those organised by Rodger for our club. You will be set off and given a piece of paper with the course described on it. You follow the descriptions (e.g. Turn Left on footpath, Meet Road, Turn Right, Stile, Cross Footbridge etc) and this will lead you to checkpoints and eventually the finish. Distance is approximate and you may get lost so you may run more than advertised. Like with a time trial you only find out who has won afterwards as everyone sets off and returns at different times. Fastest time to get to the finish wins.
  • Marked: more like a race, these trails have courses marked using tags hung in trees or signs in the ground. You set off all at once, or in waves and run together.

Trail running may require off road shoes (usually in the winter) but you can usually get by in road trainers as paths are well used and firm. There are LOADS of trail runs available locally so give it a try!

Endurance running: the above races all involve getting from A to B (in the quickest time); endurance running is about going as far as possible in a set time. This may be two hours (like the Nuclear Blast I mentioned above); six to eight hours (usually allows for a marathon to be completed) or for 24+ hours (like HR24 and its replacement next year). You work either as an individual or as a team (relay style) to travel the course as many times as possible in the time (rest breaks between laps allowed) and at the end the total distance is totted up and the prize goes to the furthest.

Hopefully that helps on understanding some of the basics, feel free to ask me questions when you see me if not clear; and see you at races soon!

What an inspiration!

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:

This month I have three ladies that are in my mind:

I start with my trusty vice-captain Debs Cubberley. I have mentioned her before and she has kept the dedication up since then. This month she has focused on her trail running, scoring 100 points at Rodger’s August offering as well as attending other local trail events and scoring well at those. Her efforts mean that she will take home the Female Trail Champion shield at awards night this year, Congratulations!.
Next month she may not have time to be running trails as she and fellow Bentley Paul tie the knot next Friday night! Join the celebration on Saturday 8th at South Woodham Ferrers parkrun when the new Mr and Mrs will be completing their first parkrun as a married couple. Best of luck on Friday Debs, and well done on a fabulous month of trail running.

Emily Zethraeus has caught my eye this month with a 21:13 performance at Harwich parkrun. This time is within the 10 fastest 5k times clocked by GBRC ladies and proves Emily is heading back to her best. Strava also tells me that Emily is getting some longer runs in as well as she seems to be able to lap Alton Water in faster and faster times. Well done Emily, the training is paying off and it is lovely to have you back running with us when you can make it.

And for numerous parkrun PBs and for demonstrating some demon speed at training, I highlight Bev Shortley. Bev you are getting faster and stronger, we will be seeing some super quick times soon I am sure. Well done so far, I look forward to seeing your progress over the winter months.

Runner of the Month

We come to runner of the month. This month Debs sent me the name of this lady at the exact moment that I was thinking about her, so she must have made an impact on both of us. This lady works hard in training and is dedicated when it comes to her goals having completed marathons and half marathons in some super times over the period I have known her.

This month she has started at least three trail runs and finished at least two of them, clocking some mega-milage along the way, making use of the strength she is building up by working consistently in training! Even though the rain and dark may have scuppered one of her trails this month she is still smiling. Always happy and a pleasure to run with, it delights me to say well done Sue, you are August’s Runner of the Month