Caroline Davis, July 21

As we entered July the nations sporting gaze turned from Europe to the jewel of East Asia: Japan and the postponed Games of the XXXII Olympiad.

As a multitude of sporting achievements and drama amazed and astounded in equal measure nearly 6,000 miles away, the runners of Grantham set about their own achievements, albeit slightly closer to home!

High on the agenda in the month of July was the internally arranged club 5k – a very strong contender for the most attended Club Grand Prix series event of the year, was arranged in response to the obvious disruptions, postponements, and general lack of races in the local area.

Clearly the appetite was strong, as no less than 60 runners clad in green and black took to the Turnor Road/Hall Lane course near Harrowby Hall.

The course – affectionately dubbed “Covid 5k” – offers a pretty flat, relatively quiet road 2.5k stretch that is run as an ‘Out and Back’, all in running or walking distance from members who reside in Grantham.

 A mix of long serving members and regulars took up the invite but were perhaps outdone in enthusiasm by large number of recent graduates of the Beginners course completed just a few days before, eager to compete, meet the wider club and get involved.

Performances drawing the eye were Joe Diggins, Sam Dodwell, Rachel Hamilton and Sarah High. Scoring impressive age grade performances or running very close to their personal bests.

The other event in the calendar was the welcome return of the Conti Thunder Run 24hr. ‘TR24’ saw swathes of GRC make their way to Catton Park, Derbyshire in what is seen as somewhat of a runners pilgrimage.

The tough, multi-terrain course is famous for chewing up and spitting out even the most seasoned of runners. It can also be described in the category of that classic runners’ terms as ‘undulating’.

Competing in various team sizes, as pairs or even as solo, runners set off at midday on the Saturday and run, walk or crawl for a full 24 hours!

It was here that two members garnered nominations for Member of The Month;

The January MOTM winner, Cj Walker Lees is making 2021 quite the year to remember as she ran the 10k day event and then completed a further 3 laps with her team.

Sam Dodwell added to his 5k performance with 5 of his own consistent laps and for his accomplished organization and captaincy.

Away from the bright headlamps of Catton Park, there were a few races that went ahead in July.

The Newstead Abbey Dash 5k saw the return of double nominated pair Julia Hallam and Amanda Mumby. Both used this as their first return to racing and both celebrated with 5k PB’s.

Amanda clocking 32:01 to shave off 39 seconds from her previous best and Julia making a giant leap for Hallam-kind and bettering her previous best effort by a whopping 2:29 to clock a near 30 minute busting 30:11.

The Orsted Great Grimsby 10k saw 1500 take to the streets of Grimsby in baking conditions (we actually did have a week of summer!). It was here that the Runner up of July’s MoTM set about his work.

Donning the green vest for first time since January of 2020, he has undergone some serious training miles in both running and his preferred cross training option of choice; cycling… and boy (!) has it paid off.

Despite the heat, despite the humidity and despite the large crowd Rick Dobbs settled into his work and clicked off miles 2,3,4 and 5 with relative consistency. With the heat taking its toll at mile 6, he still rallied enough to drop a sprint finish and better his previous best by a staggering 4 minutes and 34 seconds! Top stuff, Rick!

And so to the winner…

July Member of the Month

If you were to look up ‘Hero’ in a dictionary it would say something like this:

noun – /ˈhɪər·oʊ/

“a person admired for bravery, great achievements, or good qualities.”

If I were to also tell you that she is completely oblivious to that status, I’d also be accurate. Perhaps that’s what makes her even more of a heroine.

The aforementioned ThunderRun was the scene and the achievement was 13 – yes THIRTEEN – 10k laps of brutal cross country in 24 hours.

130km or 80 miles with a total of 6500ft of elevation.

All this with not much sleep, changeable weather and numerous night laps with largely no-one for company. The grit and determination and the ability to take herself off to lord knows what sort of mental space / pain cave is nothing other than: heroic… and all with a smile on her face!

Ladies and Gentlemen the July Member of the Month is the incomparable; Caroline Davis

Congratulations Caroline and all others who were nominated.

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