April has come to a close, and you ladies have really embraced Spring racing and taken advantages of the numerous opportunities to run that the season affords us, whether that’s for fun, medals or PBs!

This is also my first newsletter as Ladies’ Vice-Captain, and Meera and I are really looking forward to supporting you all and celebrating your achievements over the next 12 months.

News and notices

Training – I think we can all agree that having lighter evenings is very conducive to training. Doodle polls continue to be sent out every Thursday, but if you like to plan your training schedule further ahead than that you can see our Spring-Summer training schedule here, which runs up to July.

Mickey Edwards – the club’s annual handicap 5k series begins with the baseline race on 11 May and the first handicap race on 25 May. If you haven’t taken part before, you can read more about it here. It’s a great way to improve your 5k time! If you’re not able to run, please consider contacting Fraser about marshalling instead.

Friday 5 series – the first race in this local series of 5 milers takes place at Felixstowe on 20 May and entries are still open. You can find out more and enter here. Please don’t enter the final race in the series (on 1 July) as that’s the one that the club organises, and we’ll be putting out a request for marshals and other helpers nearer the time. Assuming we have enough marshals, there will be a ballot to decide who from the club gets to run.

Colchester half marathon – entries for this race on 22 May close on 2 May. If you haven’t entered but would like to support the runners, Meera is still looking for volunteers to help marshal in the club’s “support zone”. The email sent on 21 April has more information.

Ladies’ meal – please be assured that this hasn’t been forgotten! We will be in touch with you again about this. There is still time to vote for your “ladies XC runner of the year” if you haven’t already done so. Mags’s email from 1 March explains how to do this.

Our Ladies Squad

a) Getting to know you

Most of you know her already, but do you really know her? For our first newsletter, we thought it would make sense to find out a little more about our new ladies’ captain, Meera Rajoo-Oakley.

Age category: I am of an age that used to be considered old; but then they looked at me and decided that someone with a face as fresh as mine shouldn’t be considered a vet and so changed the categories. Now I can still feel young in the “Senior” category. I fully expect that as I approach 40 the categories will keep updating so I remain a senior forever.

Occupation: Actuary

How long have you been in GBRC for? Since May 2015

The silliest thing you did on a race: Not running fast enough.

Favourite distance: 5k – even when it is a bad run it is over pretty quickly! 

Best achievement: In running or just in general life? In running I am not sure but probably my 43:51 10k; but I have been blessed with some pretty good days so it’s hard to pick. In general life my greatest achievement is probably managing to keep Mr O onside since 2007. He has long since realised my “homemaker” skills are lacking, but luckily my foibles through life are entertaining for him to watch.

What’s your ultimate running goal: I no longer have one … It used to be a sub 3:30 marathon but I have retired from marathons and accepted that that one will not be achieved so I have no goals anymore.

Favourite medal/t-shirt and what for: SVP100 – I was after the cut-off (just) and shouldn’t have been given one, but Robin managed to secure me a medal so it represents both the run and the fact that he has my back…. And I was only late because I fell over, got up and ran backwards on the course for half a mile before realising I was passing a house I’d seen before. In my defence though it was dark and I was tired as well as having just fallen over, so a bit of disorientation could be expected. Maybe that was the silliest thing I’ve done on a race come to think about it. 

Interests other than running: varied, but most involve playing with colour: art, sewing, gardening. 

Favourite & Worst events and why: My favourite event is Hadleigh XC. I love that course and when I am on form I have had sheer enjoyment on it… that downhill finish! My worst event was Colchester half 2019 – I was struggling with my hips in the lead up to London Marathon that year and this was supposed to be a training race. Instead it was the moment when the pain became overwhelming. I finished but it was not enjoyable. So not the event’s fault but a bad moment for me.

Most challenging event and why: They are all challenging in their own way. I suppose London Marathon was my biggest challenge as I always approached it with an ambitious goal (unachieved) and therefore it always felt difficult. Whether something is a challenge is all about expectations/desired outcome – when your ambition is big, a race will be challenging.

Most useful running information you can share: Turning up is almost always better than not turning up. I say almost always as there was a time I didn’t really fancy a run, fell over whilst out and so turning up that day was not better than not bothering. But 99% of the time turning up and trying is better than not.

b) Inspirations

You’ve all had such a successful month that it will be a challenge to keep this section brief! For a detailed account of all your exploits over the past month, please refer back to the weekly race reports.

Grainne Hallahan bagged herself a podium place, Bev Shortley ran a 10k PB worthy of 5 stars and Mags Komorowska ran a fantastic marathon PB in Krakow. Leoni Harvey got PBs over both 10k and half marathon this month, and Claire Poole has been extremely busy, completing the Brighton marathon after achieving a half marathon PB at the Harwich half.

We were spoilt for choice, but the lady we have chosen as April’s runner of month achieved a PB at the Harwich half marathon, followed by a big PB at the Bromley 10k and ran the Layer 5. She trains consistently, always with a smile on her face, and supports all other runners (and running dogs!) Our runner of the month is Louise “Lovely Lou” Balfour.