Who would have known that September would bring so many things to write about because ladies in our club kept on running and took part in some lucky events which still went ahead?

We stepped into Autumn with a palette of new colours, trying to grasp moments of normality and squeezing days to the last ray of sun that sets quicker on the horizon with every day.

I’d like to start this newsletter with highlighting entries made on Facebook under the post for September.
Thanks to Helen Carey for sharing her lovely running and walking break in the Scottish Boarders. Helen stayed with her husband in Melrose and she recommends the area for trail running as there are lots of well-marked long distance paths. She came back promising herself to do more hill training before her next visit there. It’s definitely a good goal to have, Helen.

A lovely teaser from Helen

Then Anna Young appears to have had a busy month, which she started with running (or rather bathing) through a muddy obstacle course organised by Thrive Outdoor. It looks like the whole family can take part and the event meets Anna’s approval as it offers a friendly atmosphere and good value for money.

Anna sharing a “mudness” with friends.

Once she shook the mud off, she ran The Gallops marathon from Barrow, Newmarket and back. She clocked 4:35:17 on the mixed terrain. Bravo Anna, nothing is stopping you!

“Galloping” Anna

This is not enough of her running adventures, as this Young lady ran a further 30 miles on 20th September with Hare & Tortoise at Layer Marney for Next Chapter. As usual, according to her, the event was well-organised and it offered a lovely experience.

Well, that’s impressive, Anna. Very well done. I hope you had a nice cake afterwards!

I’d like to welcome Zoe Reynolds to the club, whom I haven’t yet met, and I am curious of. Zoe seemed to enjoy all trail runs organised by our chairmen and she ventured out on a Colchester Orbital self-navigating route as well. On top of that, she completed Bradwell (Essex Trails) “Don’t hit the wall” 7 miles self-navigating run on 27th September in 1:59:44, and she enjoyed the scenery and how well the event was organised. Well done Zoe. I look forward to hearing more from you and perhaps seeing some photos too?

Also, Phil Presland reported that he completed 7 miles of “Don’t hit the wall” in 1:00:05, Scott Young in 1:09:04 where Deborah Hollidge, Vicky Presland and Paul Hollidge ran the 14 miles version in 2:29:00. It was their first official event they had in months and I bet it felt good to race again.

Deb and Paul smiling (I’m sure) to the camera whilst Victoria Sponge looks like the best trophy to aim for after the run

Another busy lady this month is Leoni Harvey who ran the Nuclear Blast on 12th September. She described it as “sadly not the OCR I fondly remember. Whilst I accept masks are currently necessary, they are not an OCR runners friend! A mishap on the monkey bars early on saw me fully submerged and said mask spent the next 5k trying to suffocate me. Less atmosphere than normal and nobody could assist you on the course – even your husband! A lot of the good obstacles were replaced with things that involved dragging or carrying various objects which is not my strength and are pretty boring. Basically, I’m now a drowned, muddy and suffocated feeble female. Medal and Vest made up for my suffering though”

The challenge may not necessarily sound like a lot of fun, but the photo above indicates that this girl had a lot of it!

On 20th September a few Gt Bentley’s members ran the Colchester Orbital, which was organised by Running Colchester. So, Leoni teamed up with Emma Levett-Welham and Frank to complete 13.6 miles (or 13.97 if you get lost) around Colchester. Well done, ladies (I know you missed your usual suspects: Neil and Mark, but it’s good to see you running in the company of a true gent, Frank 😊.

Looking strong and effortless

On the 19th September, after a change of venue and date, a team of 5 took part in the New Forest Marathon in Dorset. There was supposed to be a bigger team of blue vests flooding the venue on the 13th September on a flat trail course through a beautiful National Park. Instead, runners had to face over 1400ft elevation through two laps around some private grounds. Sarah Davison, Caroline Talbot, myself, Paul Davison and Rob Dyer completed the challenge on a sunny day where the organisers did everything in their power to make this event to go ahead. They adhered to all necessary requirements set by England Athletics. Marshals were very encouraging, and the course was stunning. In overall the atmosphere was amazing, despite no spectators were allowed along the course, and strangely it was still one of my favourite events to date.
At this point I would like to shout out a massive congratulations to Caroline Talbot who chose this event as her very first marathon! This was her longest run to date, and she soldiered on through challenging conditions to the finish line. This is definitely something to be proud of. So, bravo Caroline!

Blue team not knowing what awaits them in the early hours before the marathon

Trail Run Champs part 4 – Stutton

Sadly, the very last trail in the series of 4 is coming to an end. The last date to complete it and claim the one and only “I Trailed Them All” t-shirt is 6th October. The trail is 6.5 miles long, unless you take a little detour, which I am aware happened to a few of us 😉 However, it is a pretty spectacular one and offers breath taking views.

Sun setting over the River Stour
Anna Lyon chose to walk the trail with her family – Harvey and Ben
3 muses enjoying the last trail and a sunny day
Emma and Hien chose slightly more challenging weather conditions for their last trail in the series

Well done to all ladies who took part. I cannot wait to see the final scoring.

You Can Trail Your Own Way

With the final days of the trail series a new treat emerges on the horizon. It is another chairmen’s idea to keep us busy. This is a one day only event – 14th November with the meeting point at Rodbridge car park, Borley rd, Sudbury. Runners will be made to use their superpower skills and navigate their way by themselves to selected check points with a choice to run about 20 or 10 (ish) miles. We will need to use a map and a compass. I’m sure more details will be provided nearer the time.


We are continuously grateful to Caroline – our Head Coach – for looking after Doodle Polls and for organising sessions for our benefit and glory. The decision was being made to keep numbers low on each session for the time being, which was mainly done to make sure we keep as ‘healthy’ distance as possible, and to reduce any potential queries from members of public. After all, we use some of the housing estates where a bit larger group of runners might raise some discomfort. I do hope we all appreciate and respect such a decision, which was not easy to make.

At this point I would like to thank all LiRFs (training leaders) who offer their free time to accommodate as many of us as possible. Thank you!

Another thing that I really would like to emphasise is that ALL sessions we offer at the club are fully inclusive, regardless of if you consider yourself to be a slow or fast runner. LiRFs plan sessions so that everyone can run at their own pace and no one is left behind. So, if you haven’t already attended any of the sessions, then we hope you feel encouraged to come along and join us. Please be mindful to book sessions with intention to attend. Obviously, we understand that there are unforeseen circumstances where we have to cancel previously booked spaces, but in general, as our sessions are quite popular they are booked very quickly which doesn’t always allow everyone to choose their slot.

As the Earth’s poles are tilting further away from the Sun, we are running into the dark side of our calendars. Basically, it’s getting dark outside 😉 Therefore, please ensure to take with you high-vis jackets and head/chest torches to your training sessions. Thank you.

Still about training, it came to my attention that Nikki Laverack shows a real fighter’s spirit and has progressed significantly since the lockdown. She is indeed such a good sport and it is a pleasure to hear she’s going from strength to strength. Bravo Nikki – keep up the great work!

Reach For The Stars part 2

A total of 20 members took part in the September edition of the challenge out of which 17 progressed on their chosen distances and 6 received additional stars. Congratulations!

I’d like to encourage you to take part as there are two more months to challenge yourself and don’t forget to take a smiley shiny photo of yourself.

Exercise Of The Month – by Sarah

The elevated pigeon stretches – great for when you have been sat at your desk all day!! Opens up your hips, which can help fix lower back pain and improve your performance on exercises like squats and deadlifts. You can do this stretch almost anywhere, using a table, a bench, or even your desk to elevate your leg.

The elevated pigeon pose

Please access the video under the following link:,desk%20to%20elevate%20your%20leg.

The alternative is to do it on the floor, which should look something like that

Questions Of The Month

This month we asked a true club’s legend (and a running inspiration to us all!) to answer our set of questions. Dear ladies, we give you Barbara Hilder Law:

Age category 75-79
Occupation Retired
How long have you been in GBRC for?   21 Years
The silliest thing you did on a race: At the end of the Snowdonia Marathon a couple of years ago the commentator shouted over the tannoy “here comes Barbara Law” and although I had cramp on and off for the last few miles I tried to sprint the last 150 yards and went into total cramp in both legs  and ended uphobbling across the line.  That’ll teach me!!
Favourite distance: Anything 15 miles and over (not now though)
Best achievement: Twice 2nd in 55-59 in London Marathon (pb 3.37 age 58)
What’s your ultimate running goal: To keep running for as long as possible
Favourite medal/t-shirt and what for:   Any Grizzly t shirts
Interests other than running: gardening, reading, watching tv, walking
Favourite & Worst events and why: Favourite – Snowdonia Marathon and The Grizzly especially running in a blizzard the year of the Beast from the East. Surreal!!!
The worst – Essex 20 this year.  Only race I didn’t finish – just couldn’t be bothered on the day.  Shameful!
Most challenging event and why: Benfleet 15 2018? when it snowed and I got hypothermia
Most useful running information you can share: Don’t go off too fast!

Runner of The Month

This is the part where Sarah and I had a long and passionate discussion about so many amazing performances this month. Believe me when I say it was extremely difficult to choose just one.

First of all, we would like to mention that Emily “Lightningbolt” Zethraeus did the Olympic duathlon around Dorney Lake on 5th September of which I know she has been training for a long time. Her dedication, perseverance, and supernatural (it seems) abilities helped her finish as a 1st lady!

She described the event as the best race she will ever have. She ran the final 5k at almost her PB pace. The only negative thing about it was that the organisers messed up the run course, so it was not a full Olympic distance. But the bike leg was correct (40k in 1:11:21). So, when it comes to runs, the 10k was actually 6.5k (she ran it in 27:22) and the last leg was also a bit short 4.5k instead of 5 (completed in 18:02!). Nevertheless, we are in awe, Emily! This is amazing.

Credits to the photographer who must have had a super-fast shutter speed to capture Emily mid race

Another lady who made us absolutely speechless is Claire Poole who made her first attempt to complete the Outlaw X 70.3 (where distance equals to the half iron man). It happened to fall on the windy Sunday on the 27th September. She swam 1.2 miles in 17:35, rode 56 miles in 3:31:39 (exceeding the average speed of 16mph) and ran 13.1 miles in 2:31:54. So, she completed the half marathon distance in that time after swimming and cycling in such tough weather conditions!

To add mores spice to the story, Claire chose to take part in the sprint triathlon in Folkestone 2 weeks prior the Outlaw X as a part of her training. She swam 750m, rode 13 miles and ran 5k. She came 1st in her age group and 4th female overall.

Claire crosses the finish line of the Outlaw X 70.3

Both ladies gave a lot of their free time and commitment to prepare for their challenges. Training is not everything. Resting period, tapering, nutrition, as little stress as possible, routine, self- discipline and perseverance.  We are very happy that your races went ahead, and you did your club proud of you.

Taking all factors into consideration, and the significant progress she has achieved, Sarah and I would like to announce Claire Poole as our runner of the month for September. Congratulations!