It came to my attention that myself and Sarah were virtually nominated and appointed club’s ladies’ captain and vice captain. We are deeply humbled and sincerely privileged for the vote of confidence and support. Thank you very much. We’ll do our best to make you proud. Sadly, we couldn’t see everyone on the AGM on the 1st April as planned, when these roles became formality. The AGM document was sent to all on that day and I hope everyone had a chance to read collated reports from members of the committee.

Both Sarah and I would like to thank two fascinating ladies who held captaincy spots for the past two years. Meera Rajoo-Oakley and Debbie Hollidge were a brilliant support to the club and provided us with motivation and inspiration through their time.

Debs and Meera

April was a peculiar month and we don’t know when we will get back to normality. No races were held, hence our amazing team of weekly report writers were stood down for a time being. There are no club sessions, no Wednesday briefing before Caroline’s or Mick’s efforts, no chats, social runs, no stretches afterwards where we laugh at someone wobbling in the middle of the Village Hall trying to find balance, no Friday 5, no jaffa cakes and tea. I’m sure we all miss all these things and I’m sure we will appreciate it all even more when we meet up again at the end of this.

Nothing will stop us!

Although we might feel a bit nostalgic and low with motivation, we still find fascinating ladies who keep us inspired and motivate us. I am absolutely amazed by the level of creativity amongst our girls.

For instance, there is Joe Wicks on TV Mon-Fri at 9 am for parents and kids to keep the nation active and positive. I must admit I haven’t seen a single episode yet, as I tend to sleep for England and Poland all together now 😉. However, I did see some impressive outfits on Facebook. Justine Sheekey, her husband Joe and little boy Noah dressed up one morning and shared their positive post-workout vibes with the world. I bet it’s never boring in the Sheekey’s household and this picture has definitely put a smile on my face, and I hope it worked for you too.

Inga set herself a challenge where she did a 30 Days Running Streak, starting on the 17th March and finishing on 15th April. She wrote she did no more than 3 miles of easy runs but no less than 1 mile a day. Her mileage went up weekly, peaking to 24 miles. She stated she felt good about it except for day 3 when she fell over and done in her knees and hands. Luckily, she was very near home to patch herself up with plasters. Other than that, she seemed to have fun, which has given her a new motivation to start and build miles up and plan new workouts again. Well done, Inga!

April is unusual and because of social distancing, Sarah and I allowed ourselves to look on Strava for the time being and our attention was caught by the ever so lovely and positive Sarah Greenham who has been consistently clocking miles, exploring trail paths in her neighbourhood. Sarah G carries on inspiring us by her strength, determination, and level of motivation and that gives us a ripple effect. Without knowing she makes us go for a run to explore our areas too 😊 Keep it going, Sarah G!

Sarah captured this beauty on her local run

Also, it looks like Donna Harris is doing lots of running with her husband and sometimes taking a four-legged, fluffy friend for a 3-mile stroll as well. Go Donna! Enjoy those miles 😊

Marion and Nina Simmons found their favourite trail route, which is also local to home and it appears to be very scenic, especially on sunny mornings 😊 (No idea who the man they ran with is. Must be a relative 😉)

Marion took it at a bird hide just off the Rowhedge trail

Anthea and Holly Colsell continue to surprise us. They often go for discovery adventures around North Colchester exploring new paths and bridleways.

Ideally, I would like to get back to the monthly thread on GBRC Facebook page where we could share any virtual runs, discover new paths, exercises, bootcamps and any activities collated under one thread to keep our spirits uplifted. For instance, if you find paths you never knew existed and are enjoying exploring the neighbourhood whilst avoiding people in the same time, you could share some photos, stories, and videos with us. Bleating sheep are very popular nowadays 😉

The virtual side of sanity

In the beginning of April, a few of us took part in the virtual run of 5k, which was discovered by Charlie Keitch, and was called Virtual National Road Relay Championships. There were some technical problems with the Open Track website (the organisers) and the server errors prevented people to register or to submit their results smoothly. Eventually, some of us received the results and our team scored 61.03% in the age grade category. But this didn’t stop our girls from getting their first virtual stars and it kept Eric busy. Justine ran for a PB of 20.35 which helped her scoop 4 of them, Caroline Talbot got 2 stars for 25:13, Leoni Harvey 29:17 and Helene Tyler ran in 31:15 and both ladies received their first virtual stars. Smashing effort, ladies!

61.03%2418: Justine Sheekey (71.81%), 
3044: Magdalena Komorowska (66.97%), 
2500: Rob Dyer (66.69%), 
3133: Malcolm Jarvis (66.53%), 
3049: Scott Young (64.65%), 
2370: Rob Ferguson (64.53%), 
2641: Duncan Scott (63.56%), 
2873: Daniel Whymark (61.26%), 
3405: Caroline Talbot (60.51%), 
3306: Danny Draper (53.37%), 
3663: Caroline Searle (51.82%), 
3799: Davina Swindell (40.76%)
Virtual National Road Relay results

On a separate occasion, well done to Teresa Jones for getting 2 stars for completing 5k run in 29:17.

This brings us to “up the mileage” category, where some ladies took a 10k challenge and the first to achieve 2 stars was Vicky Law who ran the distance in an impressive 57:16!

Those who entered the Little Bromley 10k had a chance to run it anytime during the originally scheduled 19th April. Based on Strava/Garmin evidence, our blue ladies attacked the distance scooping first stars and keeping Eric busy.  

Super well done Tricia Stacey and Eileen Shadford for their first virtual 4 stars, Marion Simmons and Fiona Gosling (somehow missed on the final result with 1:04:19) 3 stars and Caroline Talbot for 2 stars.

Bravo to our blue ladies whom we admire so much!

Although we are in a lockdown our annual Micky Edwards series is still going ahead. Thanks for those who already submitted their baseline results to Scott. There is still time until Sunday the 3rd of May. Please refer to Scott’s communication reference this.

In the meantime, I am still collecting results and smiles for the Five Miles of Smiles, which will end on the 10th May. Thank you to those who participated thus far. Don’t forget you can always take a photo in the end of your run and don’t worry if you’re camera shy – photo is not compulsory but an extra.

Exercise of the month: Burpees.

As this certain exercise came up in a few bootcamps I had a chance to do, we thought it would be a good idea to elaborate about it and maybe even start a monthly challenge if you like?

The diagram says it all. Some will love it (hats off to those who do) and others hate it with a passion.
No wonder we feel that way. Burpees although are hard to do, they allow to work on many parts of our bodies, but mainly they involve muscles of chest, quadriceps, hamstrings, shoulders, triceps and calves.

  1. Stand tall with a tight core, your chest up, and your feet together. Engage the core before and during the exercise.
  2. Begin by kneeling down to the ground, placing your hands on the floor and kicking your feet back. Perform a push-up from the plank position.
  3. Now jump your feet back up towards your hands. From this kneeling position, jump straight into the air. Land softly and begin again.


I heard of a challenge to do 100 burpees in the shortest time possible and I know a lady who can do them in 10 minutes. However, this is an exceptional example and I strongly advise you to do repeats (not 100!) for 30 seconds only 😉

Fun fact: I thought burpees were the most hated exercise ever and then I saw side burpees! I say no more.

Who are we?

I really like the idea of introducing female members of the committee to you all and Sarah and I would like to expand this idea by choosing one lady from our club per month to answer a set of questions we came up with. This way we might learn something new and bring us closer to each other.

As this is the very first month of our captaincy, both Sarah and myself would answer these questions first.

This was when The North Downs was still allowed [June 2019]

Mags Komorowska:
Age category:    40-44
Occupation:       Certification Auditor
How long have you been in GBRC for?   3 years
The silliest thing you did on a race:         I jumped mid race for the camera…multiple times actually. It’s a compulsive jump disorder 😉
Favourite distance:        Half marathon and 5 miler. I could never decide for sure.
Best achievement:         Run a marathon in 3:49:35 (Krakow 2019)
What’s your ultimate running goal:        To get to Boston Marathon through good for age
Favourite medal/t-shirt and what for:  
Medal – from Chelmsford Marathon for my 1st marathon
T-shirt – from Krakow Marathon. It’s the best one I’ve ever had.
Interests other than running:     I’m a movie geek and I’m fascinated about space exploration.
Favourite & worst events and why:        Definitely Krakow Marathon was my favourite. Despite the rain, I loved running through the city landmarks on a reasonably flat course. I felt strong then and had a fantastic time away with running friends.
The worst – Frinton half marathon in 2018 – the course was shortened and chip to chip time was shorter which wasn’t adequate to the effort made. Also, it was awfully cold and windy and I started to walk as the headwind nearly broke me then.
Most challenging event and why:            6 Dales! When I did it in 2017 I wasn’t ready. I walked it all with a rucksack and layers on. It took me many hours to complete it and legs were giving up. I came back in 2019 and punched my nemesis right in the face 🙂
Most useful running information you can share: Chose your battles carefully and know when to give the maximum effort.

Sarah Davison:
Age category:    45-49
Occupation:       Occupational Therapist
How long have you been in GBRC for?   4 years
The silliest thing you did on a race:         Drinking too much for fear of becoming dehydrated but then having an oopsie moment!
Favourite distance:        10 miles as it’s a good distance to get into your rhythm whilst maintaining a relatively fast pace. I have recently started enjoying ultra distances more, especially trail.
Best achievement:         Completing a marathon without walking. After every marathon I said ‘never ever again’ and then typically booked another within 48 hours. I absolutely hated the first 3 and decided for my fourth I just wanted to run the distance without walking, regardless of pace. I achieved this and a pb!!
What’s your ultimate running goal:        To complete a 50 mile ultra race. I have got up to 30 miles and hope to complete a 50 mile event by the end of this year.
Favourite medal/t-shirt and what for:   Krakow marathon t-shirt. I’m not bothered about medals, they end up in a drawer!
Interests other than running:     This question has made me realise that my life revolves around running and my children tell me I don’t do anything other than running. I love fitness in general and enjoy gym classes too.
Favourite & worst events and why:        Dublin marathon as the crowd support was amazing.
The worst – Krakow marathon as it rained for the whole duration and I was freezing.
Most challenging event and why:    Benfleet 15 – Mud and Hills galore but an amazing event which is a great challenge every time you do it.
Most useful running information you can share:              Hydrate well 2-3 days before a race, eat breakfast early enough so it can be ‘deposited’ before the race and experiment with fuel to find out what works for you. I’ve recently moved away from gels to real food and found it’s much better for me (love a peanut butter sandwich mid run).

Runner Of The Month

Not only a runner and not only “of the month” 😉
She’s a strong club personality who dedicates a lot of her free time to club’s benefit and glory. She represents the ethos of our club, encourages to aim for more but wisely. Some of you might be aware that our lovely coach has been injured which prevented her from taking part in races and club sessions. However, with a smile on her face and the usual dedication she kept us fit and made sure we had enough structure to carry on with our training sessions and even created for quite a few of us marathon plans!

Caroline is getting back to her strength and she attacks drill sessions created by Darren Horner and she challenges herself to do more, to run longer and to get more structure in her recovery. Also, she is the first person to cross the finish line of the Five Miles Of Smiles and submitted a smiley photo as an evidence she played along 😊 She motivates us very much indeed and it’s such a pleasure to see her coming back to running. Brilliant attitude and very admirable will power. Congratulations Caroline. You are our Runner Of The Month!