Mens Newsletter – October

Welcome to the GBRC Men’s October newsletter, we’ve given captain Scott some time off from newsletter editorial duties this month as he’s busy with race preparation, therefore the responsibility to deliver the newsletter fashionably late falls on my shoulders! 


October has been a busy month of marathons, virtual marathons, 10k’s, 5 miler’s, trail runs, cross country relays, tabbing, parkruns and the successful online launch of the GBRC half marathon!

As the autumn evenings have well and truly arrived so has the challenge to find suitable safe training routes and venues! Fortunately the club has been able to secure the use of the track at the new Northern Gateway Sports facility at Junction 28 of the A12 on Thursday evenings during the colder/darker months. The Thursday evening sessions have already proved to be very popular and provide a traffic free and motivational environment in which to train alongside other club members. All we ask is that members add their names to the weekly doodle poll so that the coaches can plan the sessions based on the numbers attending, anyone struggling with the doodle poll can contact the coaches via messenger etc. and we`ll get you added to the list.

NESS XC League

November sees the start of the NESS cross country league with the first fixture held by Springfield Striders on Sunday 7th November at Writtle University CM1 3RR.  Historically we have always seen huge numbers of blue vests attend these events, they are great fun, highly competitive and often provide an opportunity to run on areas of land that are usually closed to the public. After the racing there is the opportunity to stay behind for a tea or coffee (make sure you bring a mug) and a chance to compare race experiences with each other while the results are compiled and announced.

Vicky Presland has sent out a couple of emails with important information and instructions for the XC series, keep an eye out for any last-minute emails and Facebook posts in case of any late changes or cancellation of an event. Please remember to run in the club kit (vest or t-shirt). If you don’t have any of those yet, please contact Barbara Law who usually comes to Wednesday sessions in Gt Bentley. You can contact her by using this link on our website  or through the Messenger if you use FB group page.

As always car sharing is encouraged wherever possible when travelling to XC events.

Essex Vets XC Championships at Writtle University
The event will take place on 4th December, and it’s being hosted by Springfield Striders. Yes, it falls on the same day as the club’s Awards Night! Charlie Keitch is kindly collecting names in our club and if you are interested in taking part, please let him know as soon as you can ( Entries will close on 21st November so we will need to have teams ready before this date. 

Fish and Chip run

Marion Simmons is organising a fish and chip run from Great Bentley Village Hall on 22nd December to admire the Christmas lights around the village followed by fish and chips at the Village Hall. Fish and chip orders need to be with Marion by December 15th at the latest. Full details are in the email sent out last week or on the Facebook Fish n Chip run event page.


Tom Komorowski celebrated his 100th parkrun at Highwoods, we saw a GBRC represented by Paul Arnold in the Lakes, I went to Sheringham in Norfolk, Charlie Keitch was further along the Norfolk coast at Gorelston Cliffs for his 34th different parkrun, Rob Dyer took his blue vest to Damhusengen (that’s Copenhagen to the rest of us!), the Preslands made an appearance at the ‘Hilly’ Lyme Park in Derbyshire.

Paul Connell managed a course PB of 19.54 and fourth place on the tough Highwoods summer course, he claims he was helped round by trying to keep Ryan Day in sight, who bagged first place.

Alton Water parkrun

A new local parkrun event opens this Saturday 6th November at Alton Water. This latest addition to the list of Saturday morning 5ks is a two lap course mainly on trails with the obligatory post run coffee in the café at Alton Water, parking is £1 payable at the café (DO NOT pay the car parking machines for parkrun as it costs more than a pound!)

Essex 20 at Carver Barracks

Next March sees the return of the Essex 20, a 20 mile race that forms part of the Essex Road Running Championships and an ideal ‘warm-up’ for a spring marathon! The event is now open for entries, as usual there are no medals or T-Shirts for Essex 20 competitors, as well as keeping the entry fee low (just £15 + booking fee for a 20 mile race is a bargain) it helps reduce the impact on our fragile planet by not having to produce, ship and ultimately dispose of unnecessary medals and T-shirts. To further enhance the green credentials of the race the organisers are offering entrants the chance to buy a tree for £2.60!!! Each tree will be planted in Scotland and owners will be issued with a certificate showing its’ exact location so that they can go and visit (I’m not sure how ‘green’ it is to drive the length of the country to visit a tree though???) 

Marshals, marshals and more marshals

Looming on the horizon are two events that are key to our running club and its’ continued success; in December we host our round of the NESS XC series and in February it’s the annual GBRC Half Marathon. In order to run these events safely and successfully we need volunteers to help marshal the course, car parks, give directions etc. etc. You don’t need to be a member or have any specific qualifications, mums, dads, aunts, uncles are all welcome, all that’s needed is a bit of common sense and bag-fulls of enthusiasm!! 

Scott is collecting the names of willing (and unwilling) volunteers for both events, if you haven’t let him know already that you are available for either one or both events you can email him at 

Our NESS XC fixture is on December 12th 2021 and to ensure everything goes to plan we need at least 45 volunteers to fulfil the various roles. 

The GBRC Half Marathon is on February 6th 2022, each year a selection of GBRC members names are drawn out of the hat and get to run this fast, flat and sold out event, in order to be in the draw you must offer to marshal first. We need a minimum number of marshals to offer their time before we can allocate places to run in the race, the more volunteers that we have the more places we can have available to run in the race.

Annual GBRC Awards Night

Yes, it’s time to blow the dust off the dinner jacket (or posh frock)!! December 4th is the date for this long-awaited glitzy celebration of everything GBRC! An email was sent out a few weeks ago with all the details, but in a nutshell; firstly reserve you place, it’s £5 entry on the door, bring you own drinks and glasses (if you use them!) pizza supplied, if you don’t like pizza then bring your own food!! I look forward to seeing you all there.

A final reminder that Mags needs you to cast your votes for the various categories before the 7th November deadline, every vote is important and very often an award is decided by a single vote, so if you haven’t voted yet, get voting NOW! 

The following morning (December 5th if you haven’t worked it out!) the club will be holding the annual ‘Hangover cure breakfast run and village hall clean-up operation’ more details and a Doodle poll to follow soon.

Runner of the Month

This is the most difficult part of this job as every month we have so many guys who have delivered some amazing performances, to single out one person is a really tough ask and this month is especially tough, here’s a selection of this months highlights, sorry I couldn’t mention everyone!!

Tim Ballard deserves recognition for finally making it to the start line of the Chelmsford Marathon without falling over! Tim then completed his 26.2 in an incredible 2:56:47, just 11 seconds shy of a PB, he also bagged a 3rd place finish at Ipswich parkrun for good measure. Great running Tim, I just hope you’ve kept something back for XC?? 

Paul Davison grabbed a PB at Bedford Autodrome 20 mile race in a time of 2:25:16, earlier in the month he achieved a PB at Tiptree 10 (1:06:13) and just to out-gun Tim he finished one place higher in 2nd at Harwich parkrun! Again, I expect to see this pace continue at XC! 

Martin Owen has finally seen sense and ditched two wheels in favour of two legs! Martin has completed five half-marathons over the summer months with each one being quicker than the previous, a great effort and a great achievement. 

Frank Gardener has been touring the country with Mags for various races over the past few months, October took them to Eastbourne for the revised Beachy Head Marathon where the course was changed at the last minute due to flooding.

Dave Jones continues to rack-up the miles by completing the Chelmsford marathon and tabbed the Paras 10 complete with 35lb bergen, Brian Telford also trained hard with his 35lb bergen for a strong Paras 10 finish.

David Balfour is running well; he completed his virtual London Marathon in 4:08:58 and followed it up with a parkrun a week later to get the legs working again!

This months Runner of the Month is a long standing member of GBRC, after slipping off the radar for a while he’s now very much back and running like a machine. Although he is known to make an appearance on the roads I think its fair to say he prefers the cross-country trails and if there’s some mud thrown in as well that’s even better! Not content with simply running, he likes to challenge himself on some of the toughest terrain, often running with weight on his back or taking on a Canicross event with one of the hounds!

At Paras 10 he finished in 1:32:00, 1st Vet 50-59 TAB and 8th place overall. He also took the civvy Tab team win with team ‘Kiss My Booty’ a team made up of various Booty’s!

October also saw him finish 3rd male vet in the one dog at Canicross Midlands, Box End. 5k Saturday 19:57, 3k on Sunday 11:57…of course this months well deserved ROTM is John Booty, well done John on an excellent run of achievements and we look forward to the next Booty family challenge!

Our Runner of the Month John and his Paras 10 trophy

Thanks for reading, keep running and stay safe

Paul Hollidge, Mens Vice captain