Men’s December Newsletter 2018


Christmas has finally come and gone and I hope many of you have taken the time to sit back, relax, enjoy a mince pie or 5, sip on a good beer and get ready for some quality running in 2019! Have we had enough of crap cracker jokes yet? No? Ok then….


Classic joke for all to enjoy.

New Members:

I would like to give a warm welcome to James Royce who after sharing breakfast at Bills restaurant a year ago…has finally decided to join the club (with some help from Mags and Tom of course!). I’m sure you will enjoy your time with us…just one bit of advice don’t spend too much time with Rodger he may ask you to pitch a tent now and again. You can find him running around with camping gear on his back.

Going into 2019, I want to reach out to members who haven’t attended a club session in a long while or signed up to the club and changed their mind…..come along. Even if you don’t run please come and say hi on a Wednesday night at Great Bentley Village Hall and see what we are all about. I promise we don’t bite (except Paul Carlisle) and we cater for all abilities. If you want more information about club sessions then make sure you visit the website or send me a message for a chat: Sometimes all you need is to run with a group of like-minded individuals so you can maintain your fitness throughout winter…these upcoming months can be cold and lonely!


A very quiet month for runner turnout but I see you have smashed many themed runs from Christmas pudding costumes to elves, santas, hats an antlers galore! Back to the start of December we see Andrew Hart with a top 10 finished at the Moors Valley parkrun in New forest, great stuff. Plus this parkrun seems to attract many many dogs so if you’re down that end of the country and love a bit of canicross then get involved. Steve Black tackled the Sikhs in the City – Dawn to Dusk challenge event that involved as many laps as possible. Steve complete 9 laps before retiring for the very tasty grub including pakoras and samosas!

The second weekend saw many Bentley runners turn out to run Colchester parkrun and support the charity run afterwards. There must have be over 200 people for ‘run for Gem’ and its inspiring to see the running community pulling together to raise awareness. Gem lost her battle recently and I’m sorry to say has passed away. Her running spirit will exist forever. Paul Blackwell decided to head to sunny Lanzarote for marathon 155 and he’ll soon be in training for the London marathon as he was the lucky gentleman to be pulled from the GBRC ballot. Congrats. There were a few Christmas inspired runs going on too including the Princess Cracker and Raynedeer run – good fun had all round and another awesome medal from Hare & Tortoise. This weekend also saw GBRC vs. Harwich for the inter-club 10 mile race. I’m pleased to say that Bentley won!

The highlight from the third weekend was the Winter Wobble and again many turned out for this booze fuelled run. The weather was BALTIC but the mulled cider/wine was very warm. The route was from the Albion to the Black Buoy and back whilst stopping off for bonus rounds of snowballs and shots…. Then a few more beers in the pub at the end. The mighty Paul Connell finished third overall which proves there no limit to his awesomeness!!!!Great fun and I look forward to the Summer Stumble and more Bentley entering.


View of the Winter Wobble start from over the river. Spot Meatball!

Chocolate Hills attracted 14 runners…it must have been the awesome session planned and nothing to do with chocolate. Malcolm was runner up for best costume but unfortunately Claire and Christina took home the big prize! Christmas Day parkrun saw a nice group turn out to brave the frost and burn off some calories before the festivities began. Apparently us Brits consume 6,000-7,000 calories on Christmas day!


The legend Neil having a ‘floaty’ time. Fuelled on malt loaf im told.

The last week of December also included the BD5 or Boxing Day run and this year you received a very nice red technical shirt. A particular mention needs to go out to Tomasz who has finally re-joined the wife beater club by SMASHING Mags in 37:03 (pb)…rumour is that Tomasz had far too many sprouts on Christmas Day. Paul Davison continues to return to great running form by claiming a bronze standard – well done mate! Adam Smith managed to win Clacton parkrun and received that elusive no.1 barcode… another great effort!!


Meera has taken stock of the GBRC buffs and very nice there are as well. £6.20 each so please find her and pay up! Meera has some spare stock for anyone who didn’t order in the beginning. Be fast as they may all sell out!

GBRC Awards Night:

A quick mention about the awards night  …we seemed to please everyone in terms of the venue and food delivered. In fact I haven’t heard any negative feedback at all (there must be some). We can always improve so send an email if you have something constructive to say and we can take this forward. All ideas welcome! I have to say a HUGE thanks to Paul Carlisle and Steve Black for their efforts in the kitchen. If it wasn’t for these two then the night wouldn’t have been what it was (food-wise). Also well done to all who decorated and set up the hall it really did look awesome. Of course…congrats to all award winners it’s a pleasure to see so many of you collecting hard earned awards. Please check out the final standings for the 2017/2018 club champs on the website. Other awards on the night included:

Best Newcomers: Dave and Teresa Jones

Runners of the year: Tim Ballard and Eileen Shadford

Veterans of the year: Eric Shaw and Eileen Shadford

Most improved runners: Paul Hollidge and Mags Komorowska

Performance of the year: Tim Ballard and Janine Simpson

Club person of the year: Paul Carlisle

Well done all!

The following men were drawn to run in the GBRC half marathon: Mark Stevenson, Martin West, Adam Smith, Dave Jones and Charlie Keitch.

Marathon training:

Without getting too technical I wanted to offer some thought on upcoming marathon training. Mick and I have had a chat and this is the info we would like to pass on…..

Plan– get a structured training plan and stick to it the best you can. This will give you something to aim for and tackle the different types of training required to complete a marathon. Most are 16-20 week plans and will go up to 20/22 miles in training (I am absolutely in the camp for training up to 22 miles I think if you train to 20 then this leaves 10k of unknown which can be tough for many). Most training plans will see you running 5 times a week but you may find some for 4 times a week. Any less than 4 times and you’re going to struggle to get enough miles in and too many running days will result in overtraining. There are many many many plans out there and it’s unlikely you will find the perfect one. Remember there will always be that runner who doesn’t need a plan, runs marathons all the time without structure, runs twice a week etc and finishes their marathon but….let’s be honest most of us need structured training and it would be irresponsible to advise otherwise. You will have to adjust and adapt your plan to your own training methods/availability etc. A great way to start and find an idea of what training is involved for specific completion times are here: For example, a sub 4 hour marathon training plan will have you running between 15-45 miles per week depending on what week you’re on. The core training sessions involve strength (hills), speed/fartlek/tempo work for increasing your vo2max and general fitness, shorter slower runs for miles in the legs and long distance to work your way up to the marathon distance. Your longer runs will generally increase by 1 mile per week.

** I’ve been told that Chris Warren has a VERY good marathon training plan that many in the club have used and I’m sure I can get hold of it so if interested, message me; **

Cross-training/strength training– two very underrated additions to any training plan. Cross-training works out supporting muscles and improves endurance by doing low impact activities such as swimming and cycling. Strength training in recent years has been cited by professionals as the difference in smashing your goals and getting the times you strive for. Strength training will improve your core, help injury prevention and help with your rate of recovery. The best types involve basic weight training and it’s a common misconception to believe this will add bulk and huge amounts of hypertrophic muscle to your frame. It takes years of dedicated anabolic muscle training to attain the physique of someone who looks ‘buff’. Recommended weight training involves leg work, glute work and core training – don’t skip this men and women (1-2 hours per week)!

Pace– training pace calculators online can help you find what pace you should be running at during training and to help with your marathon time. It’s wise to train appropriately and build this up over time.

Rest days– you need these!!!! It’s very important to have a complete day off each week. On these days you should eat well and try to consume high protein meals to help recovery.

Support– training in winter can be tough so it’s vital you have support around you. This can be the difference in getting out for your run or staying on the sofa. This is particularly important when going for those long runs. Try and find a friend who’s doing a marathon (maybe the same event) and the same pace as you so you can train together or maybe attend a GBRC Sunday morning session for the first half of your run and continue on afterwards. It may even be a good idea to have a friend meet you half way around to join you for the last 8 miles of your run (for example) or have a friend on a bike give you company/carry water or gels etc. Some of the long runs can be brutal so make sure you carry nutrition, money and a phone just in case. Sometimes planning your long runs near a garage/supermarket can be beneficial for a toilet stop!

Nutrition–this is your opportunity to test any nutrition that you will consume during you marathon in training. Whether or not you like gels, jelly babies or shot blocks you cannot complete a marathon without some kind of nutrition. See what works for you, some gels have different types of sugar that are easier to digest. You should use an online calculator to see how many grams of carbs you should consume based on your weight/intensity/training time so you take the right number with you. Also. make sure you hydrate and consume electrolytes before long runs (cheap zero calorie tablets work great). You have to eat well after your long runs especially, and that means carbs and protein. Marathon training is not good for weight loss. Yes many people drop weight but you should fuel your body adequately so you can return to the next training session strong. On the flip side don’t think that you can eat literally anything and everything after a long run because if your calorie consumption ends up being a surplus you will put on weight!! Chocolate milk is an excellent recovery snack but you don’t need it every day of the week (it’s also high in sugar) so save for after your long run and don’t be tempted to neck an entire 2/3 pint bottle.

Races as training– during your training plan it’s a good idea to try and schedule some local races as part of your training. For examples if you can find a half marathon or 20 mile event that fits in with your weekly training plan then this could be a great way of testing out your performance/pace. It’s also nice to be part of an event as the training miles can be lonely.

Massage/stretching– to condition the body the best you can it’s a great idea to try and book a monthly massage during your marathon training. It’s an additional expense but it’s worth the investment if you can. This will help recovery, sort out any niggles and improve your mental wellbeing. Steve ‘Black Hands’ is a great place to start who can do mobile massage or visit him in his Clacton massage studio. Stretching is another vital part of returning your muscle to right condition and luckily for us at GBRC we always do a stretch after each run and it’s important you do this when running on your own. Many of us skip stretching but 10 minutes is all you need after each session. England athletics offer great advice on their website. Another fantastic form of stretching is weighted squats, lunges, Romanian deadlifts etc. which you would do on a separate day in your training plan.

Injury/sickness– very few runners will get to the end of their marathon training schedule without missing some runs due to illness, injury or life getting in the way. Don’t worry too much but if you’re missing several weeks then you need to be sensible and make a judgment on whether it’s best to continue.

Taper– very important to wind down training 2/3 weeks before race day and any good training plan will include this so don’t get tempted to carry on running high mileage thinking you’re losing fitness. You’re not. During the tapering period its an ideal time to increase your carb intake especially in the week running up to the race. It’s very old hat to just consume a massive plate a pasta the day before a race. Any carbs will do for glycogen storage and this is best done over several days.

Shoes– if you think about how many miles you’ll be doing its best to start with a fresh pair of running shoes and why not get a gate analysis done and pick the perfect pair.

Lastly, it can take a long time to recover from a marathon. Everyone is individual and some may run a marathon every weekend but for those who haven’t built up to this level of regular endurance it’s best that you do little running for the month following the marathon and then build up over the following weeks. If you run too soon and too intense then you risk injury. Be sensible and live to run another day :).

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:

– 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!

Medal of the month:

This month I wanted to first of all do a throwback to the years 1995-1998 for the Halstead Marathon and the first 4 medals they gave out. Recently Halstead have been sharing their past medals on their Instagram feed. I thought it was quite interesting to see the types of medals that were produced over 20 years ago….quite different to the quality of medal design we have today however the same efforts went into earning them and I’m sure many have treasured them.


Top left: 1995, Top right, 1996, Bottom left, 1997, Bottom right 1998 Halstead marathon medals.

So onto December’s medal of the month. We have lots of good festive designs kicking around…


Top left: Winter Wobble, Top right: SVN Christmas Challenge Run, Bottom Left: Sikhs in the City, Bottom right: Raynedeer run (Hare & Tortoise).

The Winter Wobble medal is an impressive design that is sourced from a refugee camp in Sahara. Hare & Tortoise as always is a lovely medal but for me the SVN medal takes it. Next year I need to get myself involved in an SVN race for the bling!!

Coaches Corner:

This month Mick has written a piece about hydration:

Here is a brief rundown concerning hydration. If you are doing long distance races it’s a good idea to work out a hydration programme.

Your priority should be staying on top of daily hydration. Research found that nearly half of runners began their workouts in a dehydrated state. Many people don’t consume enough fluids during the day. If you hydrate properly, you won’t need to worry as much about becoming dehydrated during a typical moderate run. The old rule of eight glasses of water a day is a good guide.

Drinking loads before a race will do little more than send you searching for loo stops. Sip a half-litre sports drink an hour or two before you exercise. That’s enough time for your body to absorb what it needs and eliminate what it doesn’t. Then take in about two to three gulps (up to 230ml) every 15 to 20 minutes while you train.

Caffeine has long been demonised as a diuretic. That means it should lead to dehydration and heat stress, especially when you consider that it raises your heart rate and increases your metabolism. However, caffeine improves carbohydrate burning. A review of ongoing research has shown that caffeinated drinks don’t make you wee that much more than equal amounts of beverages without the buzz. Also, studies have shown that caffeine lowers your rate of perceived exertion while improving strength, endurance and mental performance. Even better, researchers from the University of Birmingham found that those who drank a caffeinated sports drink burned the beverage’s carbs 26 per cent faster than those who consumed a non-caffeinated sports drink – probably because caffeine speeds up glucose absorption.

During longer workouts (90 minutes or more), some of your fluid intake should include a sports drink to replace lost sodium and other minerals (electrolytes). The carbohydrates and electrolytes in the sports drink also help you absorb the fluids faster.

The above guidelines are the basic rules of thumb, but it’s important to remember that everyone’s fluid needs vary. Some people sweat more than others and you should test this during training.

Post-Run Hydration: Don’t forget to rehydrate with water or a sports drink after your run. Some people feel the effects of dehydration hours after their run because they failed to drink fluids after they finished. Weigh yourself again after your run. You should drink 1 pint of water for every pound lost. If your urine is dark yellow after your run, you need to keep rehydrating. It should be a light straw yellow colour.

Next month’s topic: TBC.

Upcoming Races/Events:

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

1st Jan – Flitchway NYD Marathon / Colchester parkrun 9am, Chelmsford parkrun 10:30am, Clacton parkrun 10:30am / Hash Run 5 miles from the Haywain Pub, Little Bromley (free)

Jan 6: East Hanningfield Trail Marathon

Jan 13: XC (Suffolk Food Hall)

Jan 20: Benfleet 15 / Gloucester Half Marathon

Jan 26 – Parliament Hill XC / Luke’s charity trail run, Newtons Farm Tennis Club*

Jan 27 – Hadleigh Legacy 10k

*Lukes charity trail run – this is my event to help raise money for Sense who I’m doing London Marathon with. This is a self-navigated trail (5/9mile options). Registration is from 7:45 for a start between 8/9am. £10 entry which includes your route, food (plus crumble and custard) and drink at the end. Runners must set out in pairs/groups. The event is shared on the GBRC page ( but if anyone wants more info please email me:


Caroline has just uploaded a new training schedule for Jan-March 2019 (on Facebook and the GBRC website). There is a slight change to the sessions on a Wed and Fri… Michael is taking a break to concentrate on his own training so Caroline will be taking Wednesday sessions going forward and there will be a rota of different LIRFs for the Friday sessions.

Also…..Bootcamp returns January 20th.

Stepping down:

I wanted to tell you all that I will be stepping down as Men’s Captain at the next AGM (March/April). This is mostly due to my lack of time …. especially with Noah being much much much more active these days plus it’s only fair that Claire gets the opportunity to train and do exactly what she wants in 2019. I’ll still be helping run Micky Edwards and doing some LIRFing…plus I’ll be training myself. As most of you know I’m an honest bloke and the other reason for stepping down is I’ve struggled to represent the men this year in the way I hoped as I haven’t been able to go to committee meetings (for one reason or another) and I believe my opinion has not been compatible with the majority of committee members. Truth be told its a bit too political for me as well. This is a great club but that doesn’t mean we do everything perfectly and I think there’s always room for improvement. Democracy although I respect it, is holding us back a little and I think sometimes change is good. I think most of us do our very best (we’re all volunteers after all) and I’ll always stick up for what I believe. I love GBRC and owe the club a lot. Anyway…..It’s been my pleasure representing the men and I’ve done the best I could. I recommend that anyone has a go, get involved and lead from the heart. I may return as captain one day if you have me….

Other News:

Our half marathon is fast approaching so please let Paul Carlisle know if you can volunteer. This is the main event of the year where we earn money for club events/entries/XC etc. Details will follow towards the end of January. Many thanks.

We can share the dates for the GBRC trail runs, Micky Edwards and the Geoff Day Memorial 5k. So get your diaries out!

GBRC trail: Round 1: March 31, Round 2: May 19, Round 3: May 23, Round 4: Aug 18, Round 5: Oct 23.

Micky Edwards: Baseline race: May 1, Handicap 1: May 15, Handicap 2 May29, Handicap 3: June 12, Handicap 4: June 26

Geoff Day Memorial 5k: July 10.

Happy New Year to you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


This has been a very quiet month however it hasn’t stopped many of you turning up and smashing training and races. Dave Jones continues to run well bringing his 5k time down plus had a very impressive run at the Vets XC…Adam Smith and Charlie manage to podium at parkrun which is something many of us wont experience and to keep running this consistently is awesome. This month however the award for ROM has to go to the man who has been coming back from serious injury…progressively improving and managed to grab a bronze standard whilst fuelled on sprouts, roast potatoes and gravy. An all-round top bloke who really deserves recognition.


Congratulations Paul Davison for runner of the month!