Alan Carley, Feb 21

In a month usually focused on longer runs and hard races to finalise those Spring marathon plans and tactics, February can be a tough month on runners. It’s perhaps refreshing that, in light of continuing Covid-19 Pandemic restrictions, the February ‘Virtual’ event was the exact opposite of those long distances; the 3000m. Traditionally, a ‘track’ event the 3000m/3k is a little jaunt into the unknown for many in the GRC ranks. The challenge became ever harder finding a suitable road course conforming to our regular Virtual Event rules, and perhaps more pertinently a matter of timing, in the wake of a continued spate of bitterly cold weather.

Straight off the bat in week one, Joe Diggins continued to impress with his multi-dimensional running, Andy Atter rediscovered some fine racing form, Michelle Parczuk gave a very respectable showing and the incomparable Holly Durham hit her straps again.Despite the subzero temperatures gripping week 2, most showed signs of improvement, with Nic Webster shaving off an incredible 62 seconds!If week two was marked by freezing conditions, then week three was coloured with rising heat in the competition with some head turning times. The quickest two were separated by just 1 second! The final week saw some incredible running with 17 posting their best time of the series!

The age defying pair of Peter Storey and Paul Jepson improving by 30 seconds and 63 seconds from week 1 respectively, Ben Mason bettering his time by over a minute from W1, Tracy Webb knocking off 51 seconds, Vicky Platts improving by 61 seconds and January MOTM, CJ Walker bettering her effort by a tremendous 70 seconds!

February Member of the Month Joint Runners Up; Vicki Hardy and Ben Hatherley both attracted attention throughout the series with Vicki improving markedly week on week. Indeed she has now hit a level previously unseen in her running and her rapid rate of improvement is a joy to watch ‘virtually’.Ben, having had some time away form running through injury, blew some of the cobwebs away with a fine display of 3k running. All 4 times were within 17 seconds of each other, he clocked over 70% age grading 3 of the 4 runs (narrowly missing with his first attempt) his best time a fleet 11:09!Well done Vicki and Ben! February Member of the Month!

If you were to define ‘Purple Patch’ then perhaps you could no better than to point to Alan Carley. Proving that certain things get better with age, Alan took to the 3000m like a duck to the water. If his opening gambit of 12:01 drew looks, his best time in week 3 of 11:41 drew applause and acclaim. Even with the brutal age grading, thanks to the track event conversion, Alan impressed! He topped the age grading list with 74.15% and never dipping below 70%, running strong and consistently. Not only did he excel in his own performances, but he regularly helped to pace others in their attempts, helping fellow club members get better most of the time!

Big congratulations, Alan!

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