With the shortest month of the year, I am writing my last newsletter as your Ladies’ Captain. Next one will be delivered to you by Anna Lyon. I cannot believe that it’s going to be 2 years since I have taken this role upon myself and when I look back, I cannot believe the journey I have made since then. Ladies, it’s been a pleasure. However, there are enticing changes on the horizon and with the beginning of April a new Ladies Captain and Vice will take over mine and Anna’s posts.

So, heading straight to those changes I’d like to highlight that the club Annual General Meeting will be held at the Village Hall after the training session on Wednesday 6th April at 8pm. Everyone is welcome. This is the time where we will announce results from the poll (which is yet to be created) and where members can raise questions or any issues that we, as a club, should work on to make things better. You can refer to the Agenda I sent to you on the 1st of February. I’m sure I will re-send it at some point soon prior to the meeting.

I realise that many of you cannot attend the rescheduled (from Dec 2021) Awards Night on 26th March this year. It is never easy to arrange a date that suits most of us. When organising this again I concentrated on the congestion of racing events and on the availability of the Village Hall for the upcoming weeks. However, Mothering Sunday slipped my mind. We don’t have the greatest number of guests on the list so far, so please don’t be shy, even if you want to pop in for a few hours.  Please let me know by using this link

I also have 6 runners for the morning social run on Sunday 27th March. Well, I’d like to mention that we are planning to have a breakfast cooked by our Chairman (he might even wear decent clothes!) after we have returned from our run. This should give us energy to clear up the hall after the party. It would be great to see as many of you come and share yet another good memory. You can use this link to register your interest

You can find more details in the email I sent on 26th February.

On 12th March our club will take over a local parkrun in Highwoods, Colchester. Yolande Arnold is collecting names for additional pacers. Please contact her if you can be of assistance (more details can be found in the email from 4th March). Let’s flood Highwoods with blue tops.

Additionally, please let Meera know if you would like to take part in the Essex Road Relay on 10th April at Northern Gateway. It will be great to wave a strong blue flag there too 😊

A few ladies I’d like to mention about.

Please welcome Grainne Hallahan, Deena Rahman and Sarah Burfoot to the club. We can see that Grainne started sharing her running ventures with us under the FB feed. She took part in half marathon at Stratford Velo Park and ran it nicely in 1:53:09. That’s just wonderful to see. Hope all of you feel welcome in the club and that you enjoy running and training with us 😊

Emma Wakeling is doing better and better. She is gaining her strength back while she continues to recover from having gone through many heavy hoops last year. She carries on bringing her ducklings (Laci and Brody) to parkruns and they all power them up and share smiles. Emma is such a good sport. She looked after all the kiddies at all cross-country races, and always prepared bacon and sausage rolls for them. She ran Ardleigh race with her head full of doubts prior to the race and still completed it with a smile. Her positivity is contagious and many of us are so proud of our Emma. Onwards and upwards – always with a smile 😊

Another fabulous lady who caught my eye is Hien Hoang who is training very rigorously for her first road marathon. I don’t want to add any more pressure on her with reference to the challenge ahead. However, seeing her on training sessions and finishing strongly at Tarpley 20 indicates to me that the training which was prepared by our head coach Caroline Searle is working according to plan.  Keep it up, strong lady!

Still on the Tarpley front, Caroline Talbot shone at 20 miles distance too. She has never run it as a race but when she took her only marathon into account and some training runs, she pretty much shaved a good 17 minutes off. That’s just sweet 😊 and I can’t wait to see Caroline completing her goals ahead where she expands her comfort zone mile by mile.

When it comes to expanding comfort zone, Lisa Briggs knows exactly what it means. I can imagine her innocently saying ‘yes’ when she was asked whether she would like to take part in the Parliament Hill race on 26th February. After all it is a big deal to compete in the English National Cross – Country Championships. I’ve never tried it myself but I would definitely be taken over by my nerves prior. Going through mud, mud and more mud for 5 miles, she did it and she was happy, even having fallen in the bog. She certainly did her club proud. Well done to the whole GBRC team.

Here with blue and proud teammates: Meera, Vicky and Sarah

One of our newbies, smiley and very friendly Norma Smith, guided by Caroline’s training plan successfully completed our own Gt Bentley half marathon with a 30+ minutes PB. What a pleasure to see such a strong performance and I heard that Norma is eager to take on new challenges and her result has given her the confidence to train further.

Our super-trooper Fiona Gosling completed all 5 races in the cross-country season. She is such a versatile athlete, but she kept quiet about completing 50 miles on 12th February in 18 hours 37 minutes. This was the same event which was completed by our three musketeers (only there were no muskets, lol) organised by LDWA called The Winter Poppyline. This qualified (now 4 of them) to the LDWA flagship event in June. Whether it was walked or ran; I salute you all! Super well-done! 

An absolute legend and our own club treasure, Barbara Hilder-Law insisted that she ran the last XC race in Hadleigh as her last. I, like many others, refuse to take this on board however it is understandable why she would like to finish on a high. I need to mention that Barbara, who ran 4 races and marshalled at Gt Bentley, was accompanied by a very special lady who didn’t let her finish last in Hadleigh – Sue Wright – What a beautiful friend you are! We are all hoping to see Barbara carry on running, and that despite of what she is saying now, she will continue to enjoy cross country next season.

I need to mention that our Vice Captain Anna is currently taking part in a crazy challenge which she doesn’t want to spill any beans about until she completes it. I’m going to honour her wish, just about 😉. She tied my arms behind my back, so I’m going to make sure she will tell you all about it in the next newsletter. Now, Anna L – I put you on the spot, so there is no other way but to write about your challenge in the next newsletter 😊

Questions of the Month:

Oddly enough I remember meeting this lady in Krakow (Poland) where a few Bentley blues went for a half marathon there (I think it was in 2018?) with a bunch of friendly members of Running Colchester. Who’d knew that most of them will change their purple vests to blue since then?
Yola is one of them 😊 She is a very inspiring runner, consistent and sensible, but most of all she is a lovely lady with one of the best smiles in the club 😊
Ladies, let’s hear from Yolande Arnold.

Age category:    50-54
Occupation:       Bookkeeper
How long have you been in GBRC for?   11 Months
The silliest thing you did on a race:         Not a race, but I stacked it, whilst trying to be clever and read Rodger’s Trail directions and run at the same time, I will not be making that mistake again, bruises lasted weeks!
Favourite distance:        10 Miles
Best achievement:         Half Marathon PB at Great Bentley Half 2019
What’s your ultimate running goal:  I don’t really have one, I would just like to remain injury free.
Favourite medal/t-shirt and what for:
   2021 Tiptree 10 T-Shirt & Hare & Tortoise Medals are always amazing.
Interests other than running:  Jigsaw Puzzles
Favourite & Worst events and why: The same event: Castle Series 10k, Chateau De Chantilly, France, 36 degrees heat, felt like the longest 10k ever but in the most stunning grounds.
Most challenging event and why: Castle Series again, Hever Castle Half Marathon. The Hills, that’s all I need to say.
Most useful running information you can share: To enjoy your runs/races, some you will love, some you will hate, but at least you are out there keeping active and healthy.

Runner of the Month

Having many fantastic and inspiring ladies doing incredible things this month, this lady was still our obvious choice. Well, having seen her blossom on cross country races, we can see she is coming back to the form before she caught an injury. I know she is eager to progress faster (most of us know how competitive this lady is 😉) but the progress she has made is working. She is spreading her wings and lengthening her strides when attacking hills and muddy trails of cross-country races, yet still finding capacity in her lungs when screaming words of encouragement whilst racing. (I could only respond to that once. No idea how she does this but hearing her voice during the race pushed many of us further!). She completed 5 races in the NESS league, and she is keen to promote other XC races like when she mobilised a team of girls (I think for the first time ever) to wave a blue flag at the Parliament Hill where girls took 85th place out of 104 nationally! Well, I say no more. This name speaks for itself, although you might hear her being called Meerkat, I call her Mirka (just a cute version of her name in Polish) but officially the lady we have in mind is Meera Rajoo-Oakley. So here is to you Meera. Our runner of the month for February!