This month’s newsletter appears to be much harder to write as the lockdown number… (I lost count now) deepened already stagnate runners’ routine. Restrictions imposed by the government disrupted our running world, club sessions, social runs we used to do even a few months ago. Therefore, we are now even more grateful to Caroline Searle for posting training sessions each week. I realise it is hard to be motivated and to try to execute each session by yourself. So, if you have done even one of them, I salute you. If you haven’t yet, please give it a go. Perhaps it might be worth to buddy up with someone who is local to you to keep each other motivated and to help following steps of training sessions. Please be mindful of being visible out there and consider wearing hi-vis outfit for your safety.

It’s not all doom and gloom
February offered a wide palette of weather conditions where the Beast form The East II hit our region, it threw some pretty harsh conditions at us to run in. However, those who braved running in the snow were keen to share some black and white photos in social media.

Davina Swindell did a canicross with Charlie
Anna Lyon and a running treat around Essex University
Sarah Davison making risk assessment 😉
The usual suspects smiling from ear to ear – The Simmons
A lot of “whipped cream” captured by Leoni Harvey somewhere near Gt Bromley
This is one of my black and white moments in Highwoods country park

Looking back at those photos and the first week of the month, I remember seeing some comments being made regarding the GBRC Half Marathon. Some of us were simply grateful the club didn’t have to go through the dilemma of taking the cancelation of the race under a strong consideration. The race was cancelled long time ago but imagine making so many arrangements for it to go ahead just to be cancelled last minute due to severe weather conditions!
Claire Poole missed the club’s half marathon so much, she decided to run 9 miles of the route once the snow had melted.
Deb Hollidge and Vicky Presland endeavour longer trips on weekends and the one that caught Sarah’s and my eye was where they did 16 miles and Deb kept a fabulous pace where she would achieve a pb on 15 miles mark if this was an official race. It’s great to see Vicky and Deb exploring new parts around Colchester and it’s fantastic to see Deb progressing so well – she’s the force to be reckoned with 😊
Maddy Allen shared her first marathon experience with us. Maddy joined the club mid 2020 and she turned 16 years old in January. This came to my attention in the beginning of February and I think it is worth congratulating Maddy for a ‘maddy’ way of celebrating her sweet sixteenth birthday – with a run… a marathon! She ran it in 4:35:07 and she collected £950 for the charity – Mind. Very well done to you!
With the recent announcements by Downing St, we are looking hopeful into the future and we are following updates by EA (England Athletics). We might be able to resume some training sessions soon, but we will be taking an extra careful approach towards the form and amount of participants per session. Once we are able to resume some human interactions, we will be in touch, so watch your space 😊
Also, Sarah and I would like to welcome Tessa Halsall who joined our club in February and we hope to meet her in person soon.

London Marathon
Please note that Paul Carlisle is still collecting commiserations from the VMLM ballot by 12:00 on Monday the 15th March and the club draw for 2 lucky members will be done later that day. May I remind you that you should not enter the club ballot if you entered the virtual race instead. Also, GBRC should be your first affiliation claim if you wish to take part. Good luck on the 15th.

With reference to the Website Officer and Ladies’ Vice Captain roles I will make a separate communication to all soon.
As a recap I’d like to mention that AGM will be sent to all members on 1st April (after 12 o’clock 😉) via email. It will be one document which will include all reports from committee members. So, I’m sure there will be a lot to read then. Meanwhile, please note that if you have any suggestions or feedback about the club, please don’t be shy to share it with the committee members. Any new ideas will be discussed at the committee meeting and then will be addressed at the AGM.

Exercise of the month
This time I would like to use the first session prepared by Caroline in this lockdown. Please follow the following steps and please do not hesitate to let her know how it went. I’m sure Caroline will be happy to hear from you. Enjoy!

Mobility warm up from head to toes.
• 10 minutes warm up, increasing pace in the last minute.
1. 3 x ½ mile repeats with 90 seconds recovery between each effort (at pace where you can get 3 to 4 words out)
½ mile is approx. 800m. Each effort should be the same pace.
2. 1 x mile at a slightly increased pace from 1st set.
After 1 mile rest for 120 seconds.
3. 3 x ½ mile repeats with 90 seconds recovery between each effort (at pace where you can get 3 to 4 words out)
Each effort should be the same pace.
• 10-minute steady run to cool down.
Session is 4 miles of effort plus warm up and cool down.

Questions of The Month
Our next victim is Donna Harris whom I got to know long before she joined our club. We went to Krakow together (twice) and we’re hoping to plan another visit there once we are allowed.

Age category: 40 (not sure what the age cat is)
Occupation: Primary Care Network Project Manager (However currently redeployed to COVID Vaccination centres across North East Essex)
How long have you been in GBRC for? Just over a year  
The silliest thing you did on a race: Got injured because I kept turning to look behind me.
Favourite distance: 5 miles
Best achievement: Krakow Marathon
What’s your ultimate running goal: To still be running when I’m a little old lady
Favourite medal/t-shirt and what for: Hare and Tortoise Remembrance run, the medal is amazing. T-shirt that will be my Great Bentley top 😊
Interests other than running: Cycling
Favourite & Worst events and why: Favourite -Krakow Marathon because I never thought I’d manage it but I did and its also a very good excuse to go to Krakow, if you have never been you are missing out. Worst – The grizzly. 20 miles around hills i have discovered is not my thing.
Most challenging event and why: The Gauntlet Triathlon 70.3. Although i had great support along the way from many, a shout out needs to go to Mr Paul Arnold. This was challenging for many reasons, the distance the heat and personal circumstances. It proved to me that I am probably one of the most determined people I know and that if you believe you can you will.
Most useful running information you can share: Hydrate. I’m so bad at this but it does make all the difference.

Runner Of the Month
For many, social aspects of running is the key to stay motivated, and when we are stripped from such important element it’s hard to keep going. This month was not the one where we raced and worked on a speed. It was more about maintaining a physical and mental health. It’s about being fit but staying safe. Many of us faced challenges, negative and sad news along the way, combined with gloomy weather conditions which didn’t make it any easier for us. Therefore, this month Sarah and I would like to take our hats off to every single lady in our club who against all odds, stepped over the front door and went for a run. You may not realise this, but by keep on running you inspire others to do the same. 
Let us hope that we are in the very last lockdown, and that we can look into the future full of hope that we can resume training sessions, social runs, and human interactions we all miss so much.
So, hats off to all of our blue ladies – to one and all, for your self-motivation, support, and encouragement you have given to one another. You are our Runners Of the Month.