Men’s November Newsletter 2018


The dark wet nights are here with Christmas fast approaching and winter on its way. It’s a quieter time of year where cross country has taken over and the summer 5k series’ are a long distant memory…..

New Members:

We welcome back John ‘Ferdi’ Ferdinand to the club. He’s been busy smashing the gym, attending Layer bootcamp, exploring the best whiskies and cigars that the globe has to offer…. but the community of GBRC has brought him back to where he belongs. He enjoys a cuddle so please say hi to him! Sweaty hugs are best. Very few new members join this time of year but it’s these winter months of training that puts you ahead of the game for the warmer running weather that will return in 2019.


Ferdi at Mersea parkrun, Nov 2018


As always I’ll look back at the most interesting tales and performances from the month. It’s one of my favourite things to do week by week.

The second XC of the calendar was at Great Notley country park, where GBRC had to tackle a dry course including a pretty huge hill! Another great show from the men so well done indeed. It’s very important that as many members as possible turn out even if you don’t score, you contribute to other teams not scoring…plus there’s cake to be eaten! A cracking display from the boys to finish in 9thposition as well.

Remembrance Sunday came around to mark the centenary of Armistice Day and several running events took place in honour. Stebbing 10 or ‘poppy run’ is always very popular and we had two men represent GBRC in the shape of Frank Gardiner and Paul Connell. This was also the last opportunity to run a fast and competitive 10 mile route for the current club champs calendar and Paul Connell didn’t disappoint with a fantastic silver standard. Paul was also a mere 34 seconds off gold and if it wasn’t for the pesky wind I’m sure he would have done it! You should have run behind other larger blokes Paul to act as a wind shield (I hear that’s what some of the women do!). Another event was the Hare & Tortoise Challenge Event set in Brightlingsea. The organisers (Steve Black, Pete and Bev) held a lovely event with a very tasteful send-off by having a lady bugler play the last post. The 10.54km loops were muddy, windy and tough but the medal at the end was very much worth it. If you get an opportunity please visit the Hare & Tortoise Facebook page where you can see a video of the start of the race. On the subject of remembrance weekend I thought that Mersea Island also had a remarkable tribute to our fallen heroes. As you drive over the strood into Mersea (or out) you can see 51 silhouettes of the fallen islanders who never returned home. If you venture to Mersea parkrun this weekend they should still be there to see.


Mersea Islands 51 fallen heroes

From November 13ththe 2018/2019 club champs window is open so all new efforts can be recorded! James Carter tackled the Hadleigh 10 which was his first time at that distance and therefore a pb – well done! Paul Hollidge ran yet ANOTHER pb this year (11 now I believe) at Hadleigh by knocking over 3 minutes off his previous attempt in 1:09! Crazy man! I don’t usually mention parkrun but credit where credit is due…. Dave Jones has ran a new course pb at Harwich in 25:31 and to think it was only a few months ago that he was running in the mid-30s during Micky Edwards – astounding work mate  well done!

The last weekend in November saw the 3rdXC race at Harwich. Unfortunately I couldn’t be there but I see we have held onto 5thplace and kept Harwich beneath us so well done all. Shame we couldn’t take our own cake…I suggest a black market cake sale next year from the boot of my car. Sky high prices I’ll have to charge but remember I need the danger money!! Great to see Adam Smith finished first for GBRC yet again to continue is strong form and this was after reaching level 18 on the bleep test a few days earlier at bootcamp! Well done to Paul Hollidge who claimed his first point scoring place! We expect more of the same at the next XC Paul! I wanted to say huge congratulations to our own VC Scott Young for finishing top 10 at Clacton parkrun. We had a long discussion the night before and he took my advice to have 5 beers (not 6 as that too many) if he wanted a sub 23 time and look what happened – 7thplace in 22:46. Matt Jones completed the Hugin Challenge in Ramsgate, Kent. The route passed by the replica Viking longship ‘Hugin’ which is on permanent display at Pegwell Bay. Each lap was 3.28 miles and Matt completed 9 laps for 29.52 miles total whilst earning a fantastic Viking medal.

Lastly, I was invited to a hash run held by the Hash House Harriers (of Mersea) by Ferdi. Having never done one before I was keen to tackle this new experience and it didn’t disappoint. It was a 5 mile route that started from the Bell Inn, Tolleshunt Major and was dog friendly. A lovely group of a dozen runners were ready to run and all of sudden it begins….. everyone runs off in different directions with random shouting and phrases coming back and forth (on on!). It turns out that you have to follow the sawdust dots and the pattern (or number of dots) means something different. This could include a single dot: you’re on the path, double dot: turn around and collect the last runner….or a series of dots at a junction (a blind) where you run off in groups to discover the correct and incorrect path. If you come across a double line of saw dust then you’re going to wrong way and must turn around. Anyway….i ran anywhere from 9 minute miles to 12 minute miles so a nice pace where the slowest runners were never left behind and it was all finished off by a pint in the pub. Lovely. Highly recommended…. These runners meet every week 11am on Saturday at a different location which is communicated on Facebook via their page or on Running Colchester. Its free….give it a bash! The next event leaves from somewhere in Wivenhoe….


A quiet month for our pooches but Ben and I turned out for Mersea parkrun’s 100thevent. It turns out things get quite humid when running in a full costume. Good fun had by all. Obviously my Mr Incredible costume beats Ben’s batman….plus Janice couldn’t even run in hers!!!!! Meatball (or The Incredible Meatball) remained in costume the entire time! For anyone wondering….3 poo stops and 8 wee stops.

Club Champs:

So November sees the culmination of the club championships window (November 12thcut-off). So many of you have worked hard to earn and place and the odd spot has been taken from as far back as November/December 2017!!! So you never know some of you who have started earning place on the 2019/2020 club champs spreadsheet may still be there in 12 months’ time…. Strangely enough no one has grabbed the 20mile spot for male senior…if only I would have noticed this sooner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One entry into club champs during November (for 2017/2018):

Paul Connell: Stebbing 10 – 1:05:34 (Male 45)

I look forward to seeing you all collect your prizes  at the Award night this week! Hard work pays off!

Medal of the month:


Top left: Hugin Challenge,Top right: Hadleigh 5/10, Bottom left: Hare& Tortoise Remembrance Day Event, Bottom right: Scenic 7

Another great month of medals and several poppy inspired designs. The challenge events do seem to have an expected high quality medal… winner this month has to go to Hare & Tortoise Challenge event – absolutely beautiful. Bev designs all of their medals and a fine job she does as well.


Bootcamp is in full swing every other weekend this is my review of the most recent session for those who haven’t seen it on Facebook:

‘Great session tonight thanks Craig! Bleep test followed by bootcamp. Hard but rewarding. Everyone can benefit from a decent HIIT session regardless of ability so get involved everyone. Good to see people taking care of one another to watch out for good form and push you harder. The majority of the stations are simple movements and not compound exercises that require one on one supervision…. Craig keeps at eye on us all if needed. You will work harder than doing this on your own in the gym guaranteed! So come along and have a go’.

One addition to the training calendar is a hill session on Christmas Eve. This was previously ‘TBC’ but after a poll we think there’s enough numbers to run a session. It will be: ‘The 12 efforts of Christmas’ and will start promptly at 18:30 (slightly earlier for a 19:30 finish) and chocolates will be available for all!

If you have any worries or concerns regarding training then please speak to your friendly LIRF (anyone who leads a session) or if it’s particularly technical then speak to Mick or Caroline. That’s what we’re here for and no question is stupid.

Coaches Corner:

This month topic is written by Mick and it’s a combination of breathing technique and hill running technique:


Belly breathing– Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor.
Place both hands on your belly and focus on taking deep breaths into your stomach instead of your chest. Hands should rise and fall as you breath. Practice expanding your stomach with each breath. Do 10 breaths for a pre run warm up.

Combination breathing– Once you have mastered belly breathing move on by breathing in and out of both your nose and mouth simultaneously throughout the day. This combination breathing is what you want to run efficiently.

Breathing patterns– Start with walking and try breathing in for 2 strides out for 2 strides.

This is called the 2.2 pattern. Once you feel comfortable doing this, start running. Start off with a few minutes focused on the effort, take a break. Slowly increase the amount of time you focus on the pattern, eventually  it will become second nature. The 2.2 method is good for shorter runs and workouts. For training and longer races you might find 3.2 or 3.3 or 4.4 better. You need to find one that suits you.

Downhill running:

Concentration– Focus on the fact that you are trying to get down the hill as quickly as possible then concentrate on the following factors.

Relaxation– There should be no tension in arms, shoulders or legs.  Drop your shoulders but continue to drive your arms.

Gravity– Let your body weight do most of the work – try to worry less about putting the brakes on.

Heel strike avoidance– If you land on your heels this will act as a brake. Concentrate on landing on the ball of your foot or midfoot.

Short strides– Increase your leg cadence relevant to that on the flat (as long strides will encourage a heel first landing and thus braking).

Body angle– Aim to lean forward slightly (from the ankles not just the waist).

Driving off the ball of the feet– This is the final factor to take into account once the rest are in place.

Practice the above regularly and you will be surprised how the skill of downhill running quickly becomes part of your weaponry in a race, and the impact that can then have on your overall performance.

Uphill running:

The most critical element is that you keep your chest up and open. The most common advice you might have received is to “lean into the hill”. Unfortunately, this causes many runners to hunch at the waist to lean forward. This constricts your airway and makes it harder to breathe deeply. You do need to lean forward, but make sure you lean at the hips, not the waist.

Keep your head and eyes up, looking about 30 meters in front of you. Dropping your head restricts how much oxygen you can take in and will cause you to slouch. Likewise, drive your arms straight forward and back and use them as pistons. Your arms should form a 90-degree angle at the elbow, and swing straight back and forth, not across your body.

Focus on driving your knee off the hill, not into the hill like you might do if you maintained your normal knee drive. Work on landing on the ball of your foot to spring up the hill.

Plantar flex (point your toes towards the ground) at the ankle. Think of yourself exploding off your ankle and using that last bit of power to propel you up the hill with minimal energy expenditure. Focusing on plantar flexion can save you a lot of energy and really help you get up the hill faster and with less energy.

Next month’s topic is on hydration (by request) so stayed tuned for more interesting information. If anyone has a topic, suggestion or request, please email me:

Other News:

Club Awards Night: December 1stat Great Bentley Village Hall 7pm is fast approaching (tomorrow night!). Food to start from 7:30pm.

This is the big night of the year where we can socialise, eat, drink and dance (some of us) whilst receiving and congratulating the many awards earnt throughout the year. It’s’ bring your own booze’ so if drinking, arrange a taxi/lift or take advantage of the train station right outside the village hall! Final cost will be £10 per person and we ask you pay on the night. I have put out a few polls to get preferences including the vegetarian options so if you think you havent spoken to me….send me a message! Any volunteers who can come in the afternoon between 2-6pm are welcome to help peel veg or set up the hall. You don’t have to stay for long, maybe an hour. Every little helps.

The official menu is:

Turkey and Gammon (meat eaters), Vegetable Pie and Nut Roast (pre-selected for vegetarians), Pigs in blankets (plus vegetables sausages wrapped in quorn bacon), Peas, Brocolli, Carrots, sprouts, roast potatoes. Gravy (both meat and veg). Dessert are mainly cheesecakes, chocolate cake, victoria sponge, fruit, mince pies. Tea and coffee will be self-serve in the hall side room (small HQ room we use for the half mara).

Any queries please please message me:

We do ask that you bear with us as we’re cooking for 75 and it will be a challenge. We aim to make everyone happy and full. You may have to be a little patient as we bring you up a table at a time so sit back, relax and have a drink.

Also, for those interested in going into Colchester town for a few beers afterwards, the plan is to move on around 1am to Ferdi’s mancave for the Wilder vs. Fury boxing fight at 3am (all GBRC invited to 300 Harwich Road).

Upcoming Races/Events:

Upcoming races and events in December. Most of the races have places left:

1stDec – Vets XC

2 – Prince Pie 7 miler, Gt Notley (Company of Runners)

7 – GBRC training: The Cooper Test, 7pm Napier Road car park near Abbey Fields (bring water)

8 – Run for Gem 5k (after parkrun), Colchester Castle Park

9 – GBRC 10 miler (Meet at Gt Bromley Hall) / Hare & Tortoise: Rayne Deer Run / Santa Fun Run Castle Park / Christmas Cracker 7 miler (Company of Runners) / Rudolph Run 5 miles, Southend

12 – GBRC training: The fish ‘n’ chip run! Please let Marion know of your fish and chip order to:

15 – Winter Wobble 10 miler (Starts at the Albion)

23 – Elves 11 Trail, Maldon

24 – GBRC training: Chocolate Hills, Essex Uni car park 18:30 sharp – extra chocolate for those wearing a santa hat!

25 – Colchester parkun run 9am, Chelmsford parkrun 9am (Harwich, Mersea, Clacton and Maldon are not listed on the parkrun website currently to host)

26 – Boxing Day 5 / Runners vs. Riders, Friday Woods

29 – Jumbo’s birthday 5k (after parkrun), Colchester Castle Park

31 – Flitchway NYE Marathon

1stJan – Flitchway NYD Marathon / Colchester parkrun 9am, Chelmsford parkrun 10:30am, Clacton parkrun 10:30am (Harwich, Maldon and Mersea are not listed on the parkrun website currently to host)

More parkrun info for Christmas day/ NYD found here:

There’s a rumour that the Apple Jack run may be happening…. We have scouts out trying to find out and if so we will let you know ASAP! Watch this space!

Suffolk Trail Race:

Each year as a club we try to do one 24 hour event and for 2019 this is no different.  We have decided to take part in the Suffolk Trail Race which is located just outside Bury St Edmunds. The festival is to be held over the weekend of the 15th and 16th June with the campsite being open on Friday for those who fancy that extra night camping. So there are 3 main races the 10k which takes place at 10am on Saturday the 15th (which means that people taking part in the 24 hour race will be there to cheer you on at the start and finish.  The 24 hour race which takes place from midday Saturday to midday on Sunday and the 12 hour race that starts at midnight on Saturday to midday on Sunday (more details should have reached you all by email).

We have also been able to secure a 20% discount for our runners from the race organisers. Prices within the original email. The fee includes:

– this race is trying to cut plastic waste so you’ll get a soft reusable race cup which you can refill during the race

– free tea and coffee during the event (bring you own mug!)

– free “basic” snacks during the race (water/coke/crisps/fruit/biscuits) – their website doesn’t mention cake though

– free “basic” hot meal at the end of the race

– Live Music

When we were there this year there were also activities for kids and its on a farm so is pretty secure.  There are also a couple of more family oriented races.

So if you’re interested please send an email to: with the following:

  1. Your name
  2. What race you want to do
  3. What size team you would prefer (or if you want to run Solo or in a Pair)

Your commitment to running as I’m hoping to get teams in and money sorted so that we secure places.

Thanks to Scott for organising this, it really is a mammoth task!

Happy Christmas:

This is the last newsletter before Christmas so if I don’t see you before, have a lovely time, eat lots, drink lots, keep running (if you want to)…most importantly have a bit of time off. You’ve earned it.




There’s been another great month of effort put in by the men from XC turnout, to consistency in training and performance in races. Dave Jones continues to impress in training whilst bringing his 5k times down (he’s going to be sub 20 by Micky Edwards 2019), Adam Smith continues to represent GBRC the best way he can by finishing first at XC for us,  Scott Young is running with fine form at the moment getting stronger and faster, plus finishing 7that Clacton parkrun with a sub 23min time. Paul Hollidge is an absolute pb beast this year and is personally my most improved male of the year. Scott and I were in immediate agreement this month that ROM must goto a man who has ran some very impressive times over the year, bagging standards and club champs spots galore. He then got injured which set him back a little but he was sensible, continued to train sensibly and worked his way back to tackle Stebbing 10. All the hard work paid off and he managed a silver standard (a mere 34 seconds from gold). Paul is one of the nicest blokes in the club, an absolute diamond, has a higher running cadence than Mo Farah, enjoys a beer or two and thoroughly deserves recognition for his running. He came close earlier this year but this month it’s all yours…..


Well done to Paul Connell for runner of the month!