Let me start this newsletter with a welcome note to 3 new ladies who joined our club in January: Lindsey Allen, Joanne Weatherall and Holly Ragal. We currently hold 236 blue souls in the club which is an incredible number. I don’t think we have ever counted so many members in the club before. I hope our new ladies will enjoy training and running with us and hope we can get to know each other a bit better very soon. Ladies, please give them a warm welcome 😊
Although January appears to be dominated by parkruns, it was also a quite quiet month in terms of running events. However, two major races made January a bit more attractive. Firstly, 10 miler interclub race in Gt Bromley. We also had the January edition in Cross country – a very successful day in terms of collecting points but also for socialising. Gee, didn’t you just love the atmosphere there? To break it all down a little, let me enthuse about the interclub 10 miler first.
What a day that was! We saw 83 runners in total of which 35 were ladies and 19 of those were GBRC 😊 We were blessed by weather gods for keeping us dry, however a few icy layers made the journey a bit tricky underfoot. The main thing is that no one got injured. Thank you to the crew of organisers and to marshals who made it all go smoothly. The support was immense and no wonder – there were quite a few PBs made on the day and that hot beverage in the end tasted really well, especially with the company of fellow happy runners. Personally, I recall getting fantastic vibes from both clubs. Many Harwich runners expressed how much they enjoyed the whole event, and that the atmosphere was friendly and welcoming. When it comes to an end result, it turned out that GBRC won with a difference of 225 points (GBRC 1863 and Harwich 1638). It is a nice feeling to see Gt Bentley reaching out for the trophy once again. Well done all. Brilliant job done 😊

Race Directors on cold duties 😉
Justine Sheekey showing 1 finger (in the nicest possible way) for the 1st female home with a whopping 1:07:41!
Zoe Reynolds and Caroline Talbot close the race with smiles
Sorry ladies but this gem wins the cutest female of the day! Issy Wilson 😊

And then Benfleet 15 happened:
Wasn’t that that a sticky muddy pudding? Oh, it was. A lot of runners said that in comparison to the last edition from 2020 it was more difficult to run it this year because of how sticky the mud was. My shoes collected so much mud I could barely lift my feet off the ground. However, I cannot honestly say if conditions were tougher. I found it all tough because I pushed too much, which made me class this race as “never again”, which I never make such strong statement about completed races. So, I cannot be unbiased here. Despite the challenge, our ladies did phenomenal performance on the day though.

Mud people

Additionally, we saw Meera Rajoo-Oakley running the Essex Champs cross country in Basildon where she fell 3 times but no wonder – the conditions were awful – from what I know it rained too. Poor Meerkat didn’t share her post run photos with us, but well done for racing there!
However, Leoni Harvey shared a photo from her SG-100 – Phoenix Running 10k race with the most bizarre medal. I’d probably be tempted to use it in the kitchen or as a tableware 😉 It’s spectacular.

Leoni with husband carrying tableware 😉

In the end of the month, we witnessed another 4th out of 5 cross country. This time we met at Ardleigh Quarry and race was organised by Harwich Runners. 23 Gt Bentley ladies battled a rather hard underfoot course with some technical elements through the quarry. It wasn’t muddy to some disappointed mud enthusiasts, but many enjoyed zig-zagy parts of it. It was fun … in retrospect 🤣. Anyway, our ladies performed as well as possible, landing 3rd in the women’s team score and contributed their points towards the 3rd place in general league position. We did well as a club, not just by making noise when cheering for our club’s glory 😉

When it comes to juniors – our ducklings did us proud too where 9 girls and 6 boys landed 7th and 4th position respectfully, which contributed towards the 6th place overall in the junior league. Congratulations!

What’s on the horizon: Well, except from our own half marathon, where so many work tirelessly and the gratitude for that hard work cannot be measured in words, there are a decent bunch of events that our members can look forward to. As you may already know I created the spreadsheet to potentially make your search a bit easier. It’s on our website, under events or here.
I am trying to keep it up-to-date, but should you have any suggestions please don’t hesitate to contact me. Just to name a few, on 10th April Northern Gateway is hosting Essex Road Relays. It’s a 5k distance and if you are interested to take part and represent our club, please let Meera know. Further details were sent to you by email on 16th Jan.
Also, Rob Dyer is organising Run: ONE again. This will be it’s 2nd edition. Rob is collecting £7/each for the Alzheimer’s Society charity in memory of his father. The idea is to run 1 mile anytime between 1st and 31st May this year. All participants will receive medals. There is a real chance that the 1 mile will be incorporated into one of our training sessions in May, so this could be a nice social team effort for a lovely cause. Please see more details here.
Another thing I’d like to promote in the club is the Friday 5 series. There are 6 races in total where clubs and individuals compete against each other on the 5 mile distance on Friday evenings between 20th May and 1st July. Our club organises the last of the fixtures which closes the series with a popular, flat course around Gt Bentley with a delicious selection of cakes in the end. This is once again a very well marshalled course where we ask all members not to sign up for, as we will be asking to volunteer first and if we have enough marshals, names will be pulled out of hat for the race. I hope this makes sense. Nonetheless, entries for the whole series will open on 1st of March. You can keep an eye on this by visiting the website here.
When it comes to the Awards Night – yes, we didn’t forget about it and I’m hoping to communicate with you all soon. This is postponed, not cancelled. I’ll be in touch in due course!

Due to Men’s Captain, Ladies’ Captain and Vice Ladies’ Captain stepping down, these positions will become vacant. Therefore, as I stated in my email, I am collecting nominations for these roles, and in fact for any role there is in the committee. You can nominate yourself, of course. Please let me know.
All posts can be challenged, and in case of receiving multiple nominations for 1 post, there will have to be a general vote in place upon which that post gets filled. The club’s new affiliation year begins on 1st April and this is the official date from which committee officials will be on their duties.  
I will communicate with you all with further details nearer the time. The date for AGM has not been decided yet but it will be held at Gt Bentley village hall after one of our sessions there.

Questions of the Month
This lady is one of the most humble and nicest people I know. I met her during one of the Friday 5 series 3 years back and I was stunned by her performance then. She is a turbo rocket and she is so laid back about it. I remember she placed 2nd lady overall and 1st in age category. Her self-discipline inspires me and she is a massive enthusiast of cross country where her personal record is as high as 2nd female home (Halstead Nov 2021). Ladies, let’s here from Emily Zethraeus.

Age category:​F40
Occupation:​ lawyer
How long have you been in GBRC for? It’s over 10 years on and off with maternity breaks
The silliest thing you did on a race:
​oh probably arriving so late I had to run to the start and keep running. To be honest though I made that same type of mistake over and over again for years before I finally got a bit better at allowing enough time to get there, park the car, warm up etc etc. Very silly. 
Favourite distance: for a long time I would have said marathon or half, then after I had my children I focused on 5k for a couple of years as the training runs were shorter . Now I don’t know what I’d say, I don’t feel like a short distance runner (I never did really) but on the other hand it’s been a really long time since I have run a marathon. I’m training at the moment for a duathlon with a 10k run-50k bike-10k run. So maybe it will become 10k for the next few months. 
Best achievement: London marathon probably even though it was in 2013 so I need to top it really! I qualified for an ‘age group’ duathlon race abroad last year which was an ambitious goal for me so I was also proud of managing that.
What’s your ultimate running goal: ​marathon pb or maybe an ultra one day
Favourite medal/t-shirt and what for: ​London marathon-classic!
Interests other than running: triathlon 😊
Favourite & Worst events and why: favourite: I will pick muddy cross country. Worst: I can’t think, but for me it’s more about how well or ill prepared I am. if you know what to expect and have trained for it then even a tough race is ok but if you haven’t prepared or you are not feeling well or something like that then any distance can be so hard.
Most challenging event and why: they are all challenging if you’re pushing yourself for an ambitious time! The last section of a marathon is hard. But the 3rd km of a 5k PB attempt is also really hard. 
Most useful running information you can share: well probably not many people need this tip except my younger self but; get to the race in good time! You don’t want to be stressing and miss your warm up it just makes a hard effort harder. 

Runner of The Month
This month we could see a few ladies expanding their comfort zone by taking upon themselves challenges they haven’t considered before. I will never forget Zoe Reynolds finish in the club 10 miler. Despite being the last person to cross the line, she did it. She took part and she completed task in front of her. Everyone was cheering for her: GBRC and Harwich Runners – all together, and her reaction to this was priceless.
Another lady who mustered a fast 10 miles that day in 1:47:03 despite having doubts at first is the same lady who ran sticky-muddy, hilly and all sorts(!) Benfleet 15 a few weeks later (3:12:24). Michelle Auer – you’re stronger than you think, and that smile of yours recharges batteries of everyone who sees it. It’s contagious 😊 Congratulations Michelle. You are our Runner of the Month.

How on earth she could still smile like this after THE HILL????