An interesting month that started off well with an abundance of training sessions on offer and a few events to attend.  Then COVID-19 presented us with new variants and associated issues resulting in a rapid U-turn, putting an end once again to club training sessions and events such as the Springfield Holly Hobble and the more recently planned alternative, the Colchester Orbital Run.

Fortunately some of you have been able to attend some events, pre Tier 4, and have shared some great pics with us to show just how you continue to run and enjoy yourselves, regardless of what this crazy world throws at us.

The month of December seems to have given us lots of mud and water and some ladies who ‘enjoyed’ this were Vicky & her sister during the Springfield Striders Hobble, a 15 mile run with lots of woods, mud and bogs. This was the run that Vicky had suggested we did as a club event and was planned but now postponed. Hopefully we will get to run this in 2021.

Vicky Presland & her sister enjoying the Springfield Striders Hobble

Hare and Tortoise Running continued to offer 2 Covid secure events on the same day, a 6 hour and 3 hour (after dark) Reindeer Run, which were laps of just over 5k distance. Zoe Reynolds put in another sterling effort and completed 18 miles on this extremely muddy course. I myself ran the 3 hour after dark event and completed a half marathon distance. I applaud Zoe for achieving 18 miles as I agree with her that it was muddier than Benfleet and only I could find the one and only deep puddle to take a tumble in when it was dark 😊.

Zoe Reynolds attempting to stay upright at the Hare & Tortoise 6 hour Reindeer Run event

Mud & Trail continued to be the theme for December runs with Sue Sorrell, Nina & Marion Simmons completing the 8k option of the MEC Christmas charity trail race at East Hanningfield.

Another event (minus the mud) which seemed popular with GBRC members was the postponed Essex Remembrance Run half marathon at Debden Airfield. This was a 3 lap course, described as good pb potential due to it being a flat course with some minor bends. What they didn’t factor in was the above ankle deep puddle, rain and horrendous head wind at the end of each lap!! Despite that there were many pb’s on the day including Caroline Talbot who ran a fabulous time of 2:02:54, a massive 6 minute pb on her previous half marathon when she ran our own club half marathon in February. Frustratingly the course was slightly longer than a half marathon distance and Caroline was actually seconds of a sub 2 hour time for the official half marathon distance. We have no doubt she will achieve this very soon as she continues to run from strength to strength. Magdalena was very close to her pb time, running the course in 1:46:50, another fabulous effort!! I was way off my pb but happy with my time of 1:51:11. I think we would all recommend this event in the future for anyone who wants to attempt a pb so check out Active Training World for this and other events.

GBRC representatives at the Debden airfield half marathon ….and no it wasn’t fancy dress before anyone questions my outfit choice 😊
Our very own ladies captain running strong & looking great at Debden 😊

Raw Trails offered a trail half marathon in Stowmarket and its surrounding countryside, called Let it Stow. There were a few GBRC members that attended, however I was the only female. It was closer to 15 miles on the day (including a slight ‘detour’ when I missed a marker). A very hilly & muddy route which I would recommend for next year. They have already opened up 2021 entries for the event which will be on 19th December, you can check out more details and enter here: Let it Stow – Half Trail Marathon – Raw Trails . It’s a great event if you like fancy dress, there were many Santa’s out on the course, and the added bonus of a mince pie at the end.

Sarah ‘enjoying’ the mud once again

Leoni Harvey, Emma Levett-Welham and Donna Harris all enjoyed the Thetford 10k which they said was a nice route. Great to see you all participating in and enjoying an event in the month of December ladies.

Daniel Harris Whymark shared a 5 mile navigational trail route for us to enjoy over the Christmas period which many of us have completed. Once again a very muddy & wet course, but a beautiful route so if you haven’t already attempted this then it’s a great run which starts at St Johns and heads out to Crockleford Heath. The details can be found on our GBRC Facebook page.

Beautiful Scenery enjoyed over the Christmas period
Marion & Nina taking in the scenery on Daniel’s trail route he kindly shared with us

More mud loving individuals this month included Davina and Charlie who embraced some canicross, Meera’s Sunday training group at Dedham and Gemma Camp who joined the GBRC legend Eric on the East Bergholt Trail run.

Merry Christmas everyone from two muddy canicrossers on a Christmas eve run!
Meera’s mud-loving Sunday group!

GBRC “Sixathlon

The Sixathlon events have now started and one of the first ladies to complete an event was Gemma Camp. Eric said he was “very impressed with Little Gem this morning as she has never done one of our trail runs actually navigating herself I left her to it on the East Bergholt trail run and she didn’t put a foot wrong just proves that you can’t always go by looks”. So lovely to see Gemma and Eric completing one of the GBRC Sixathlon events and we look forward to seeing more of you in the mud Gemma when we can.

Don’t forget that the following GBRC Sixathlon events can be completed up until the 28th February and full details can be found here GBRC Sixathlon! | Great Bentley Running Club

The six events are as follows:

  1. 1 lap of Abbey Fields in Colchester
  2. 5k – North of Colchester
  3. 5 miles around Great Bentley
  4. 10k cross country in Brightlingsea
  5. 10 miles Clacton to Walton and back
  6. 6 mile trail run from East Bergholt

When you have completed an event simply email your time to Scott Young, no need to send proof of Strava/Garmin etc, he just needs know your time and which event it’s for (


Another option to keep us motivated and which I would like to bring your attention to is an event that Rob Dyer and Caroline Talbot are organising to support the Alzheimers Society. This is going to be a 1 mile virtual time trial in May 2021 for all, including family & friends. It can be ran or walked and has a medal too for those of you that love a medal! It’s only £7 to enter and they would appreciate it if people could sign up and register as early as possible to enable them to order medals in plenty of time. Rob has started to send invites out for this event Run:ONE but if you have any questions and/or want to register then please contact Rob, Caroline, myself or Mags for more details. I have heard rumours that this could become a yearly event (no pressure Rob !!) and I’m sure you will agree it is for a great cause.

Who Are We?

This month we decided to ask the same set of questions our ever so lovely, humble and amazing female runner, Alison Clarke.

Age category:    65-69
Occupation:       Freelance writer
How long have you been in GBRC for?   I joined in July 2014 so 6 and a half years
The silliest thing you did on a race:         I forgot to pump my tyres up before starting the Harwich triathlon. They were pretty flat which wasn’t helpful. I didn’t forget the next year!
Favourite distance:        10K
Best achievement:         Tarpley 10 miles in 2015 when I won the Female Vet 60 category. Sadly it’s all been downhill since then (pun intended!)
What’s your ultimate running goal:        I would love to do an ultra of, say, 50 miles but as I struggle with 10 miles at the moment, I think that goal is some way off!!
Favourite medal/t-shirt and what for:   My favourite medal is for the Clacton 10K. My favourite t-shirt is for the one and only marathon that I did a few years ago.
Interests other than running: Cinema, reading, chess (well, I’m learning) and being a serious news junkie.
Favourite & Worst events and why:       My favourite event is Wix 5 miles as it’s such a lovely route and I like the distance. My worst event would have to be a muddy runner’s event I did quite a few years ago. I hate obstacles and I hate mud, so it’s a  mystery to me as to why I signed up!
Most challenging event and why: I’ve only ever done one marathon but that was the toughest thing I’ve ever done.  It was on 1 January 2017 and leading up to it, I had just suffered one injury after another. I had to rest for about a month beforehand in the hope of trying to resolve the injuries which didn’t go exactly to plan. Although  I was very slow,  I finished it.
Most useful running information you can share: Don’t get too despondent when things don’t go to plan.

Exercise of the month

Jump Squats strengthen your glutes to power through runs and reduce strain on your knees and hips. With your feet turned out slightly and your arms extended out, lower down into a squat position until your butt is just lower than your knees. Jump up quickly, landing as softly as possible without letting your knees fall in toward each other.

Leg Exercise – How to Jump squat – YouTube

Runner of the month

Both Mags and I wish that this would become easier to choose our ROM, but the month of December has not been so with many of you continuing to run strongly from month to month.

Our runner of the month for December is a lady who often features in our newsletters as she always seems able to find events to enter, which generally feature mud, amazing distances and the opportunity for her to support other runners with her friendly personality and motivating words along the way.

This lady battled very challenging conditions to run an astonishing 9 laps (30 miles ish) at the Hare & Tortoise 6 hour Reindeer Run event. Not only did she manage to stay upright in extremely muddy conditions, whilst wearing a Santa Christmas outfit she also found the time to support another runner to complete his first marathon. If this wasn’t enough for her she also managed to achieve 3rd position overall and 1st lady position. Well done Anna Young, you are our Runner of the month for December!!