I have been having a very busy month so I will try to keep this newsletter as concise as possible.

Let’s get to it then
First of all, let me greet a few new ladies to the club. In November our club counted in at 224 members and we were joined by Rachel Taylor, Laura Davis, Larina Marsh and Michelle Stoddart becoming our latest members. Welcome all. When you join us on training sessions, please approach the leader and introduce yourself. We are a friendly bunch, and we look forward to meeting you all in person soon. I’m sure this has already been communicated with you when you registered with us, but I would like to mention that the most important pieces of information can be found on our website. Our training sessions are being updated on a weekly basis with access to view the seasonal schedule too. Please explore our website further – any questions please don’t hesitate to contact either myself or any member in the committee.

When I started writing this newsletter, I dedicated a full page to the Awards Night. Sadly, this has to wait a little longer. We will update you as soon as we figure out the best time to start organising things again. Thank you all for your continuous support!
I just want to add that the new club year for collecting Club champs 2021-2022 began on 15th November 2021. This means that from now on you can claim for the next year’s Awards Night (that’s right). Please do not hesitate to contact Paul Davison (you can find further details on our website) to let him know about your most recent performance. Please don’t leave it too long as spreadsheets are regularly updated and please don’t be shy to make your claims. The same applies to collecting stars for our efforts – these rewards are for individual performances where the only competitor is yourself. Again, details about “how to” are on our website and the person to contact is Eric Shaw keeping a keen eye on pretty much everyone – ensuring club members get the right number of stars for their efforts.

Many of us longed for the cross-country season to be on this year and we finally got to battle two of those in November. Mud lovers are now spoilt rotten, just like their shoes covered in mud – happy feet are bouncing up and down with excitement as it has been ….well, far too long since the last time we could race in such challenging conditions underfoot. What’s there not to love? Well, we should really be asking those brave souls who experienced running cross country races for the first time acquiring cross country baptism by mud. At the 2nd race in Gosfield where many said (myself included) that it was the toughest XC to date. So, well done to Charlotte Hammond and Louise Balfour for braving the great challenge – I hope this offered you enough joy to come back for more 😉 – that cake and coffee certainly had to be worked hard for!

On 12th December we will be hosting our own cross country. Scott, Tom and team are working hard to make things run as smoothly as possible. Please refer to the previous communication from Scott but really what I am aiming for is for us to keep thriving. This season looks really good for us so far and; if we could keep the momentum up of past 2 races it would be absolutely amazing. There is so many reasons to be proud of our club and seeing us as high in the league as this makes my heart grow. We have flooded both cross country events now with blue tops and still had energy to chat over tea and cake. So, what we got filthy on the way (although some people come to XC especially for that!), we were all together!

Thank you all very much for the effort you put into the races – I look forward to seeing you at the remaining 3 races:

12th December 2021 – Great Bentley Running Club – Hilly Fields, Colchester
30th January 2022 – Harwich Runners – Ardleigh Car-Boot Venue, Off the A12, Old Ipswich Road, Colchester, CO7 7QR
20th February 2022  – Hadleigh Hares – Duke Street Hadleigh Suffolk  

My special thanks, and I’m sure all ladies would join me on this one, go to the wonderful Cross Country ambassadress (isn’t this a cool title? 😉) – Vicky Presland. Her passion to promote the series is contagious and for someone who hates mud (yes, it is a thing for me) in the past it took a little bit of a pep talk and convincing to throw myself into another filthy race. However not this year! For the first time I can honestly say I enjoy getting absolutely filthy and gasping for air in utter exhaustion because it feels so great to be there with you lot! I know my efforts pay off and I hope that most of you feel the same.

What else is on the horizon?
It looks like Christmas is! Therefore, please let us extend our best wishes to you and your families. Have a lovely time. Let it be very merry to you all! 🎄🎅🎁

From our club things, we have 10 miler on the 9th January. There will be further information nearer the time, but you can put this one in your calendar as it is a potential PB course and it’s always fun to race against a friendly Harwich Runners club. You can read a little bit more about this one on our website of course 😉 here.

Another thing is – our half marathon. Please contact Scott if you wish to marshal on the 6th February. As a reminder, all members who would like to run the race should volunteer to marshal first and a few runners will be selected out of hat. So, you have to be in it to win it. Good luck.

I would also like to let you all know in advance that I have decided to step down from my current role as Ladies’ Captain with effect from 1st April 2022. I would like to carry on as the Club’s Secretary (unless challenged) but it would be great to see fresh blood taking over the position of Ladies’ Captain. I am happy to chat about the role anytime and I will also be offering my assistance as Vice-Captain (as already discussed with Anna who will be stepping down too). So, if any of you are interested, please give me a shout. I should point out that all Committee roles can be challenged and are subject to club members’ votes. Voting will be arranged at some point in March by the current Club Secretary 😉

What did we do in November?

It turns out a lot. Looking at weekly reports we could see a few ladies reached parkrun milestones. Lisa Briggs and I carry on using the same term “parkrun, not birthday” which started as an inside joke when we described milestones. So, happy 100th (parkrun, not birthday 😉) to Sue Wray and Charlotte Hammond and 150th to Deborah Hollidge. That’s many early Saturdays there. Well done ladies!

I’ll try not to repeat content of our weekly reports, but I would like to give a special shoutouts to ladies who caught our eye the most.

So, on the parkrun front I can see that a certain lady goes from strength to strength, as Anna Lyon gets faster, fitter and stronger (this appears to be a popular phrase now) every time she goes for a run. Well done, Lady Vice!

Here in Clacton with a PB of 23:47, son Ben and a beautiful scene in the background😉

Around the Remembrance Day weekend we could see our ladies running different distances to mark the special occasion. Yolande Arnold, Sammy Cotton, Bee Palmer-Jones, Bev Shortley and Leoni Harvey took part in the event organised by the Hare and Tortoise covering routes between 10k to a half marathon. Also the popular Stebbing 10 miler saw 4 happy Bentley ladies: Hien Hoang, Louise Balfour and Alison Clarke.

Bentley ladies …and David

Billericay 10k appeared to be a happy running destination too, where Claudia Keitch, Inga Hayden-Cooper, Bev Shortley and Louise Balfour shared smiles through undulating course. Louise got herself a PB and Inga Hayden-Cooper earned 4 stars for this race followed by a strong 10k in Chelmsford this month which is still within 4 stars range for her and she got another 5 stars for the Harwich Parkrun on 13th November which she ran in 22:45. Allison didn’t seem to rest either as she made an appearance at Chelmsford as well, waving to the camera like a queen and …she smashed the race by finishing in 59:45 which she was pleased about.

Meanwhile, Leoni ventured for Southwold 10k where she nearly reached a PB by running her 2nd best 10k.

Another lady who continuous to inspire is Sarah Davison. I can hear her blowing raspberries at me when I type this but honestly, she deserves a recognition. She is a versatile runner from 5k to 50k. She may not think November was her best running month, but I can see what she does. She scored 3rd at the Springfield XC and then she ran Tissington marathon in Peak District despite a hiccup with her knee and no preparation for the distance this month. She expects more of herself, of course but what fascinates me the most is that she can tell herself that this is her training, and she only takes good things from it. That’s it, I said it. Well done Sarah!

Another lady who is our promising young shiny star is Madison Allen whose bright light shines through the thickest Gosfield mud! Maddy joined our club fairly recently and she is a strong triathlete. Maddy scored for the first time for our team as a 3rd lady in 35th position. Something is telling us we will hear much more from this young lady 😊

Also Fiona Gosling went for an adventure this month and she took part in the Shillington Shuffle organised by LDWA in Bedfordshire on 21st November. She navigated herself through the marathon distance in 7:39hr. Well done Fiona. A little bird told me it was breezy and quite hilly there too. You’re super-trooper!

Questions of the Month

In November we asked a long-standing (or rather long-running 😉) member of our club our routine questions. When I asked her for the most recent photo of herself, she sent me this to represent her running.

but for those who don’t recognise this lady by her feet, here is the most recent photo from the Gosfield cross country. Ladies, let us give you a very inspiring woman – Tricia Stacey.

Age category: 50
Occupation: Sales
How long have you been in GBRC for? I think about 6 years
The silliest thing you did on a race: Turned up at XC to realise I had forgotten my trail shoes, which meant I had to run in road shoes, or should I say slide around the course in road shoes.
Favourite distance: Half marathon preferably off road, you have to treat the distance with respect and put in the training but it is achievable.
Best achievement: completing all of Roger’s trail runs for 2020/2021, and in 2021 I completed them solo.
What’s your ultimate running goal: To carry on challenging myself with different events and encouraging others.
Favourite medal/t-shirt and what for: Benfleet 15. Massive medals, I feel that I have earnt my medals at this event.
Interests other than running: Bee keeping, Triathlon.
Favourite & Worst events and why: Favourite event: Benfleet 15 brilliant race, but really tough especially when the weather is not kind and you squelch through the fields ankle deep in mud before the final hill. 
Worst event:  challenge of Malta, it could have been good but the organisation was very poor.
Most challenging event and why: Cyprus international 4 day challenge November 2017 
Day 1 fast and flat 6k
Day 2 mountain run 11k
Day 3 1/2 marathon trail run
Day 4 Paphos 10k
This is a well organised event, The year I did it we had good weather, good scenery and I took part with good friends.. but 4 days of running is a challenge.
Most useful running information you can share: Make a friend or two to train with, but work out what you need to achieve from your training and negotiate with your friends so you can all achieve your goals. This may be a run that they call recovery and you call a steady run

Runner of the Month
Anna and I had a little bit of a conundrum this month. It’s purely because we were impressed by so many ladies’ performances – the decision was not an easy one to make.

However, Runner of the Month deservedly goes to … Barbara Law who smashed both tough cross country races recently, despite her stubborn back problems; carrying on like the true Bentley Blue trooper she is. Barbara continues to inspire every single one of us. In addition, Barbara provides “blue” outfits to all our members, ensuring newbies are supplied first, as well as organising trophies for the Awards Night and medals for our races. This lady doesn’t seem to rest. What an extraordinary lady she is. So, let’s put our hands together for the lovely Barbara Law – our Runner of the Month for November.

  • Did I say this newsletter will be concise? I lied 😉