April… ahhh yes the Month of Marathons – all those winter moths of long, hard training paying off and coming to fruition… or… as it happened; the month of just entering ‘some kind’ of race and feeling the trepidation and triumph of race day once again.
With “roadmap” seemingly replacing “road racing” in the runners lexicon, some were finally able to look forward to a new batch of Covid secure racing.
With a virtual 1k (1000m) series to boot the ‘Mara Month’ was by no means quiet. If the Mile was brutal, the next series in the virtual races was surely tantamount to torturous, nevertheless the question was asked and the answer that came was: ‘The 1k’.
February’s MoTM Alan Carley and March’s MoTM Wendy Fraser impressed in the early rounds once again to continue their respective purple patches.
Yvonne Buckley and Michelle Parczuk also laid fine platforms to improve upon.
Keeping the friendly rivalry aflame, GRC’s Three Wise men of Paul Jepson, Peter Storey and Thomas Napier also carried on their fine efforts.
Sam Dodwell proved his worth with a win in week 1, a time that would ultimately see him place 3rd in the overall time standings with 03:29.
Sinead McDonnell went from strength to strength improving every round, likewise Kate Marshall
Vicki Hardy blasted an incredible 29 seconds off her initial effort.
Paul, Peter, Tommy, Michelle, Tracy Webb and Alan all also showing improvements over the weeks.
In terms of improvement Louise Kennedy took the crown – making a gigantic leap in the 3 weeks she competed, eventually finishing 44 seconds quicker than round 1 with 05:13!
Matthew Williamson was crowned the winner with a time of 03:16 in week 4.
Away from the virtual showdowns, the running community flirted with the return of actual races once again. Races followed a similar formula to last time; closed courses, laps, waved starts and limited entries.
The incomparable duo of Catherine Payne and Robert McCardle donned the green vest for the Essex Marathon, held at Debden Airfield, an old WW2 RAF base.
It was Catherine who turned heads with a time of 03:24:30, an age grading of over 84% and more importantly a number one ranking in her age group!
Robert also ran competently, although fading in the final few miles of the multi lapped course, a 03:36:03 gave him just over the 71% in his age grading and a top ten ranking.
Ian McBain followed suit in his own Marathon performance, this time at Dorney Lake. Not to be sniffed at, he came away with a 1 minute and 20 second PB. 03:29:37 also saw him dip under the 03:30 mark to return a very solid return to marathoning.
The famous motor racing circuit at Mallory Park held their two day race event; The 5k on Saturday and 10k Sunday. Stuart Baty lockdown consistency and dedicated mileage saw a fantastic PB busting performance on the Saturday 5k. Taking full advantage of the quick nature of the largely flat, lapped course, he bettered his best by a brilliant 30 seconds to clock: 23:04.
Also nominated, Sam Clark improved his 10k PB on the Sunday by 40 seconds to finish in 40:18. Although tweaking an old injury in the process, he was somewhat pleased… but vowed to come back stronger to shake the sub 40 minute monkey off his shoulders!
April’s Member of the Month Runner Up, Sam Jepson-Rivers, officially beat his PB by over a minute to clock 38:54 in Mallory Park 10k. His 03:28 also saw the 2nd fastest 1k time overall.
April Member of the Month
To describe someone as a ‘novice’ can some sometimes be a little derogatory. When we use that word in the description of April’s winner of Member of The Month, Aaron Smith, we mean it with a nod to how new racing he is (and running in general). we also hope it conveys how impressive the performance was… In just his second 10k race this ‘novice’ not only bettered his hitherto PB, but laid it to waste in unbelievable fashion.
Running since August 2019, he has grafted long and hard to improve his fitness, work on his speed endurance and upped his mileage to circa 40 miles a week. Running the 10k at Mallory Park his composure and controlled pacing meant that Aaron not only dipped under the sub 40 minute barrier, he obliterated his PB by a staggering 5 minutes and 2 seconds! All this in a distance Aaron himself has said is his least favourite.
Congratulations Aaron and to all nominated for April.