Men’s September Newsletter 2018


What a month it’s been. The lovely running weather is finally here with autumn fast approaching and you’ve smashed out the races and represented GBRC as always. It’s a long month with 5 weekends and many personal best’s set ….we’ve even seen a new world record for the marathon which has to resonate with nearly every runner out there and inspire you in some way. Apologies for my lack of presence at Wednesday club nights this month (I try to make it every week) but after some heavy races I was hit by 2 weeks of head cold which destroyed me…. I got little sympathy at home! Anyway…..this is a big report so get a coffee and a biscuit and have a read.

New Members:

I don’t think we’ve had any new men join the club in the past month but I have seen a few new faces who are getting involved with the sessions and I’m sure considering to join. Just remember we are better looking than Jaffa, kinder than Harriers, we won’t force you to take a photo at every training session like Running Colchester (haha)…and we have the BEST cake in Essex.


As always I will summarise the months top achievements and most interesting tales…..

The first weekend saw a few GBRC travel to Bedford HM with Tim Ballard grabbing a pb in 1:23:25 (35thposition) and Paul Hollidge smashing a huge pb of 1:16….a great race I’m told and awesome medal. Eric Shaw continued to represent GBRC in the best possible way by finishing second in his age category at Maidenhead HM. Paul ‘highest cadence in the club’ Connell is back! He completed the 5 mile Colne River Charity Trail Fun Run and finished in second place. Our own VC aka Scott ran Takeley 10k (one of many events along the Flitch Way) and reported back that it was a superbly organized event and well marshalled – one for next year?!

The second weekend begins with Langham 10k of which 11 men turned out – lots of great performances and clearly a popular race.Chappel Ale Trail; combining running and beer – what is better? It’s a running club not a drinking club, apologies. Clever idea though having a race end at a beer festival I must say. Clearly I am DEVASTATED I missed out on this one but if it returns in 2019 I will be first in line. Matt and Neil turned out for this great event and enjoyed the run and beer I’m sure. Phil and Milly ‘one job engine’ Presland only went and won the 4-mile route at the Essex Trail Event. Clearly a strong team the pair of you well done! Then we have the trip to SWF to celebrate the morning after Paul and Debs tied the knot. This is what Bentley is all about and no other club does it better with 20 runners turning out for some parkrun action followed by breakfast. Lee ‘prefers bootcamp to Caroline’s Fri training’ Clarkson hasn’t done a lot lately to be fair BUT he did record an impressive GAM (Groves Adjusted Method) of 18:07 at SWF parkrun…. his goal is to go sub 15 minutes but that will take some serious training.


SWF parkun – Debs and Paul Just Married

The third weekend brought us The Great East Run and saw several of Bentley’s finest turnout with Neil ‘maverick legs’ Robins managing a course and distance pb with no training. Clearly the beer from the Chappel Ale Trail has helped to fuel him as there can be no other explanation. Dedham 10k is always a popular run and one I haven’t done for a few years but will never forget the punishing hills! Well done to Kevin James for finishing first in his age category and earning a nice trophy for the coffee table. Another firm favourite this weekend was Phleshey half marathon held by Springfield Striders and self-professed ‘best cake in Essex’. To start with this is incorrect and secondly I’ve been told the cake was very expensive so Bentley wins hands down ….the poor cake didn’t stop Colin Farmer and Charles Williams running some great times and enjoying the scenic route – a great local HM and one I recommend to pop in the diary for 2019. The weekend wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Berlin HM and that gargantuan effort of Kipchoge to break the world record in 2:01:39 plus Kevin Stevens got to run in his footsteps afterwards. The ballot for the 2019 race opens in the next few weeks. Dave Jones continues to run strong with a Harwich parkrun pb and credits the GBRC coaching/training! Great stuff! Michael Simmons tackled the Serpentine Swim and enjoyed his hot tub time afterwards. The water tasted like jet fuel smells but it’s necessary to get that London Classics medal! Mick looks ahead now to 2019, buying a new carbon fibre bike and smashing his next half Ironman.

The fourth weekend was a little quieter. Paul Hollidge gained another pb at the Draycote Water 20 miler in 2:35:53 – I make that 9 pb’s at 6 distances? Jason Skelton smashed his pb at the Hull marathon finishing in the top 30% of runners and taking home a rather cool looking t shirt….he says he won’t run another but I bet he changes his mind! Matt Jones completed the Phoenix Running 6-hour challenge clocking 29.5 miles in 4:31:38 and taking home one of the most unique medals I’ve ever seen – a 3D one! Clearly this one will be shortlisted for medal of the month.

Lastly weekend 5! We had the Essex 15 take place after being cancelled due to the snow several months ago and with its lack of communication I’m surprised anyone turned out for it…then there seems to be several issues with timing. Teething problems I’m sure and something they will correct for future events. GBRC were there to represent blue and what a race it was! Frank Gardiner finished 3rdin his age category well done mate! We had a plethora of standards achieved….silver variety by Colin Farmer and Peter Benton and Gold by David Wright – outstanding efforts men. Furthermore David ran a pb, finished 8thoverall, grabbed a club champs place AND 6thplace in the GBRC all-time top 10 all in 1:38:09. Absolutely outstanding achievement David well done. Johnny ‘travels the UK’ Bush decided to tackle two trail runs this weekend first at the Each Steps Count trail run(6 miles) and second at the Bradwell Vertigo Trail Run (7 miles) however ended up adding a Rodger mile to his distance! The first had lovely home-made cakes and the second was flattish course with lovely views. Where will John visit next!?


John Bush on his trail running adventures….lovely scenes at the Bradwell Vertigo Trail


Ben and Janice aka pinky and the brain have been out in force this month to tackle as many races together as possible….Ben is prepping Janice to get ready for the canicross season. They took part in the hilly Dog Jog in warm conditions and finished first in 21:14. Fast forward a week and Janice recorded a course pb at Harwich in sub 20 minutes. Finally, Janice dragged her hooman to the Brightlingsea 4 mile charity run finishing in 28:51 but unfortunately Ben wasn’t up to it and they finished second. Not the first time Ben has held Janice back but hopefully he will learn from this, train harder and not let her down again! VO2 max hill training Ben? Might help.

Club Champs:

Entries to the club champs during September are as follows. There may be more to add but from the current spreadsheet and a couple I’ve spotted we have:


David Wright: 15 miles 1:38:09 (Male 40)

Paul Hollidge: 20 miles 2:35:53 (Male 45)

Kieron Hayes: 20 miles 3:27:06 (Male 65)


Well done! Still lots of spots to run for…..remember the club champs calendar runs to mid November.


Caroline has been working on a new training programme up until the end of year. Currently it’s sitting in the ‘files’ section on the GBRC closed group:

It should make it onto the club website shortly but check it out so you can see what’s upcoming. There’s been a request to include more detail of the specific types of training in the plan (eg. VO2 max training) so this has been included. The training plan looks wicked so thank you VERY much Caroline. Spot the fish and chip run!

We ask that with the nights drawing in that you wear high viz with reflective material and head torches if you need it / the training plan specifies it.

One of the biggest changes to the training plan is the beginning of autumn/winter bootcamp sessions. They happen nearly every other week with the first one on October 10th. These sessions are complimentary to club members so you will not pay and are ran by Craig from Layer Boot Camp. In the past we have had a very good turnout for these sessions which keeps us off the Bentley roads during the dark nights and provides some important cross training to compliment your training plan. These sessions are excellent and can benefit EVERYONE and will include various HIIT style workouts with different stations that take place mostly inside the village hall. We do venture outside to do tyre flipping so make sure you turn up in the right clothing…the usual running gear with trainers will be fine! Bootcamp isn’t for everyone but this is good training to build strength so members from all ages and abilities can take part. Please don’t feel put off, come along and have a go you will love it!

Medal of the month:

There’s been loads of great medals this month so I’ve had to be brutal shortlisting them:


Top left: Bedform HM, Top right: Colchester Stampede HM, Bottom left: Berlin Mara and Bottom right: Phoenix Running Event

I think with the uniqueness that is the 3D medal of the Phoenix Running event this has to be the winner!

Coaches Corner:

There’s been some great feedback from Caroline and Mick commenting that efforts during training have been very good especially from Nigel Smith, Paul Carlisle, Charlie Keitch, Minesh Patel and a new member Rob who smashed the parlauf training recently. Keep it up!

So last month, Caroline, Mick and I spoke about choosing a topic each month that would be interesting and beneficial to Bentley runners whilst providing some background into the training we do in our sessions. This is something which hasn’t really been done at GBRC before (I believe) and a totally new idea so please bear with us whilst we kick things off. All topics are written by or under the guidance of our England Athletic CIRFs and although we don’t pretend to know it all, we will do our best. Any questions or thoughts or even requested topics for the future then please let us know!

Vo2 Max:

I appreciate that some of you have been running a long time without the need or care for VO2 Max or maybe you already have a grasp of this….some of you however may be interested as it is a legitimate way to monitor and improve your running so this is for you. So…. V is for volume, O2 for oxygen and max for maximum….your VO2 Max is considered the best reflection of your aerobic fitness and simply put is the maximum uptake of oxygen from the air that’s delivered to your muscles during exercise and the higher the number the better. VO2 max is age and gender specific.

To accurately MEASURE someone’s VO2 max in a laboratory, you need to exert maximum effort until you can’t run anymore, whilst measuring various parameters such as oxygen, co2, heart rate, pulse, cardiac output etc., and this is classically performed on a treadmill with increasing speed/incline. Obviously this is not something most of us have done or plan to do and different to how our watches calculate VO2 max. I do not advocate running until you collapse so please don’t do this.

Garmin watches can ESTIMATE your VO2 max based on a calculation (you need to input your age, gender, height, weight and maximum heart rate into your watch (max HR will be entered as a default based on your profile but I’ll mention this again shortly)). Then, wearing a HR chest strap (forget the optical HR in the backs of some Garmin models as these are rubbish when HR is elevated and a discussion for another time) and go for a run outdoors whilst running over 70% of your max HR for a minimum of 10 minutes (these are the requirements for most Garmin’s to start to calculate VO2 max). See the crude graph below so you can see how hard you have to work to reach 70% max HR.


HR Zones 1 – 5 (take this graph with a pinch of salt…you should get the gist of it)

After you have saved your run, you will be given a value which is your VO2 Max (ml/kg/min) and it will be displayed with the relevant age/gender graph which is VERY important. As an example; for a male 30-39 a level of 44ml/kg/min and above is regarded as good, over 48 is excellent and over 54 is superior. Martin Johnson’s was 60, David Beckham’s 68, Seb Coe’s was reportedly 77 and the highest on record is 97.5 held by the cyclist Oskar Svendsen.

The best way to improve is exercise of course and to be blunt….. hard exercise as intensity drives bigger gains (more detail to follow). Please note that VO2 max is affected by many things such as genetics therefore some people will have to work harder to improve their VO2 Max than others. Also be aware that VO2 Max is not an indicator of performance but more of an individual’s fitness, it cannot predict how intense you can run and for how long as many other factors have to be considered. So….how accurate is an estimated VO2 Max? Clearly it’s not going to be as good as a measured VO2 Max (I’ve read that is can be up to 95% as accurate) and to be truthful many articles and advice will advocate that the value itself is not so import and to think of it as a baseline. Then….when you train regularly and monitor your VO2 Max you will see several plots on your VO2 Max graph and this will give you an indication of whether you’re improving or not. You will get consistent results if using the same watch so it’s going to be reliable enough to determine if you’re improving and this will be suitable for most people (not professionals). Finally, there’s only so much you can improve your VO2 Max…eventually we all plateau. Everyone’s VO2 will be different due to two main factors – a good vascular/blood system that delivers oxygenated blood to the muscles and secondly a presence of many slow twitch fibres muscle fibres with the ability to contract them fast as more the muscle that is active the more oxygen that will be needed. But that with good training everyone can have a go at increasing their VO2 in line with their body.

I mentioned HR Max earlier and for those who really really want to get the most out of VO2 Max training then determining your ‘real’ max HR is something to get right. The old method of your HR being 220-age is debunked and there’s a newer calculation that carries some scientific weight (MHR=207-0.7(age)). Now I suggest using neither calculation and instead, the next time you do a GBRC hill session, work as hard as you can (without passing out) throughout the entire session whilst wearing a HR chest strap and at the end look to see what your max HR was. If you truly worked hard enough then this is your MHR so use this instead of the Garmin default which will probably be 220-age. Compare it and have a go.

So how does all of this tie-in with GBRC training sessions? VO2 Max training is hard there’s no getting away from it but it’s pound for pound the best exercise to develop fitness. The best way to improve VO2 Max is working very hard for short burst of time with small recovery. So a Wednesday Fartlek session for example where we have had groups running around the Bentley roads doing 30 seconds on and off (30/30) the whistle is PERFECT for VO2 Max training. When we say that you need to put in 90/100% we really mean it – you want to be aiming for 95% (after a few intervals) of MHR plus you will have little rest as the idea is you want your HR to be elevated more and more after each interval to reach 95% eventually. Hill training can also be used for VO2 Max training (some of you experienced this at the session I took last week) but rather than doing shorter sprints it’s suggested to work for as hard as you can for 90 seconds at a time with a short recovery and then repeat followed by 60 second efforts and 30 second efforts.

You should also hydrate and fuel particularly well before and after these types of sessions as they’re very demanding on the body/CNS but they will drive progress and gains. These are the sessions that are best done in a group where you’re surrounded by running friends to:  1. Push you even harder and 2. Ensure your safety and wellbeing due to its intensity. Next VO2 max sessions are:


October 15 – Monday hills (90,60,30 second efforts)

November 6th– Friday (30/30 efforts)

December 2nd– Friday (30/30 efforts) / Cooper Test


Any questions please drop me an email: or comment on Facebook. Next month’s topic is:

The Cooper Test – what is it?

Other News:

The London Marathon ballot is fast approaching; October 8th. Good luck to all those entered and don’t forget if you’re unsuccessful you can enter the GBRC ballot where 2 lucky members will be drawn (revealed at the Awards Night in December).

Wix 5 race is the club photo opportunity of the year and GBRC pay your entry – last chance to let Paul know if you want to run so please message him! It’s a lovely flat route worth of a pb effort. Bentley always show up in huge numbers.

XC begins this month! If you want to develop your leg strength then XC is for you. If you want to turn up to an event with a mass of Bentley then this is for you! If you want to rub shoulders with the fastest XC runners in the land and try to beat them then this is for you! If you like cake then this is for you! XC is not about being competitive for most people. Yes we want to perform well and stay in the league but for many of us its training. Come and experience it if you haven’t before and please please please don’t think you cannot do it. It’s free to GBRC members and you MUST WEAR A BENTLEY T SHIRT OR VEST. You can buy these from Barbara. The first race is at Springfield Oct 28th. Please let Vicky know if your children want to run but be warned they must like getting muddy! Also let Barbara know if you kids ran the GBRC XC last season (2017/2018) and how many they did.

Please let Barbara know if your children have done any junior parkruns – let her know how many and any pb’s to date.

The GBRC HM opens soon and we remind our member’s TO NOT ENTER as we have a ballot process later for those want to run. We need all members to help us host the event. Thank you in advance.

Finally, a big congrats to Mr and Mrs Hollidge for getting married:



Mr and Mrs Hollidge



Upcoming events in October. Less local races but still places left to enter most of these:


6/7 – Saltmarsh 75


13 – Tough Mudder 5k (South London)

14 – Hare & Tortoise Challenge Event: Paula Radcliffe Sporting Legend / Tiptree 10 / Royal Parks HM

20 – Coastal Trail Series

21 – Wix 5 / Chelmsford Marathon / Bruges HM

24 – R5 GBRC Trail Run (TBA)

28 – XC: Springfield* / Stort 30

*Sunday 28 October 2018 – Springfield- Agricultural College, Writtle, Chelmsford



This was a very tough month. Probably the hardest month to choose since I’ve been captain. So many amazing performances with standards and top 3 finishes you’ve all done so well. Scott and I discussed this and took into account not only this month but also other months this year as we felt it was relevant…it came down to two men: Paul Hollidge and David Wright. These two are working very hard to get some awesome results. Paul has hit 9 personal bests this year covering 6 distances so his level of training and racing has been consistent and strong. Paul is absolutely one of the most improved men in the club this year. David has trained hard to smash the Essex 15 race which not only earned him a gold standard but a place on the top 10 all-time list for 15 miles. This is a big deal. Two different achievements that represent the same drive to improve with that mind-set to get out there and get it done. You know what…we couldn’t decide between you.


Congratulations to David and Paul you are both runners of the month!