Russel Whittaker May 2023

In what seems to be a lifetime since we last praised and trumpeted the exploits of you crazy cats in green and black, let’s sit down together and meander through what was Marvellous May!

The month in review

Peter Jennings and second claim member Kirsty Dickens took to Milton Keynes on Bank Holiday Monday to run the marathon.
Consisted of a road section and then two laps of Willen Lake and Ouzel Valley Park.
Peter set off strong-but-steady on his first road marathon with the first 18 miles ticking ‘uneventfully’ but on the second visit to the river section the dreaded wall appeared in the guise of cramps and back spasms. By mile 22 he had recovered enough to allow more running than walking. Finishing in 4:21 he was disappointed in his time, but vowed there was ‘plenty of room for improvement’.

Similarly, Kirsty’s first 19 miles went to pace and plan before she too encountered difficulty, rallying after a walk/run approach in mile 22 she too secured a PB of 03:57:38 at the finish line.
As the world tuned in for King Charles’ coronation, prolific racer Peter Bonner marked the occasion with the the inaugural East Yorkshire 10k and Half Marathon, organised by Runthrough from Burton Constable Hall, a country house, gardens and historic family collection located near Hull.

Opting for the half option and still feeling Manchester marathon in his legs and the celebratory coronation ale the day before, he still finished in a chip time of 1:28:02.

Each year the pretty North Leicestershire village of Wymeswold hosts a five-mile race known as the Waddle alongside a 2k family fun run and annual duck race on the village stream.
A simple format of an out and back along a closed road. But there’s a twist! The ‘out’ section of the course is predominantly uphill with the ‘back’ a forgiving descent back to the village.
Conditions for the start were perfect for the field of 221 runners including the sole GRC entrant Paul Davis.
After a steady start Paul on the ‘out’, the ‘back’ saw Paul catch a couple of runners but also overtaken by a couple and he crossed the line satisfied with 38th position more than happy with a chip time of 36:57.

Off road adventures!

Robert Pask and Stefan Latter journeyed to Lincoln for The Skelly 10k Trail race on Friday 19th May.
Organised by Lincoln and District Runners, this evening trail race covered cycle paths, woodland trails, farm fields and gravel tracks.

Robert ran with his wife and friend of the club Lisa and enjoyed the race immensely, finishing in a time of 57:20. Following a heart attack last year he is still under strict doctors’ instruction to run to a low heart rate.
Stef enjoying the race and the mix of terrain, finishing in 44:50.
Both runners complimented the race to planning to revisit in 2024.

On a lovely sunny morning of Saturday the 20th of May, five had a date with the ‘Grim Reaper’… luckily the name of a multi distance event at the stunning Grimsthorpe Castle where runners had options for solo 100, 70 and 40 mile distances as well a 10 mile day race and night race. Team GRC opted for the 10-mile option.
Runners covered a mixture of estate roads, ancient woodlands, a disused Victorian railway, limestone tracks and grass trail.
GRC newcomer and off-road newbie Danny Wallace (CatherineDanny Wallace) ran well in a time of 1:30:40.
Trail loving Dale Towning, (Manchester fatigued), followed shortly after with a time of 1:32:12. Jon Whittaker followed up his London Marathon debut with a finishing time of 1:42:25. Catherine Wallace who has made an amazing return to running was pleased to cross the line in 1:51:37.

GRC play away…

Runners a strange bunch, no further indication of this is evident than whilst on holiday and on a cocktail inspired whim, Naomi Rivers took to the Lisboa Eco Half.
New shoes, new kit and ignorant of any route characteristics she set to it…
The course passed the most emblematic points on Monsanto Forest Park with magnificent views of Lisbon.

The profile of the route turned out to be somewhat mountainous with 573m/1879ft of elevation and by mile 6 of the gruelling route, she was longing for the “flat” of Whissendine 6ix!
Her usual grit and determination on show she was thrilled to finish the 13.1 miles in around 2:09.

After years of flirting, pub chats, envying other clubs with overseas trips, we finally took the punt! The inaugural race abroad was the pristine grand Duchy of Luxembourg, more precisely Luxembourg City with it astonishing views, architecture not to mention free public transport.
A team of twelve flew out early Friday morning for the Saturday evening races. The eight who were running the Half Marathon set off at 7pm along with around 13,000 others in warm and sunny conditions and much fanfare.

(Barely) leading the GRC pack was Sam Jepson in his first ‘real’ race back after nearly a year off injured and Andrew Pask. Their plan of running together for the bulk of the race went out of the window after a few miles when Andrew couldn’t live with the pace. Sam faltering from mile 11 because of serious blister issues, clocking 1:29:05. A PB but not the time he was hoping for.
Andrew was not too far behind with 1:32:17.

Next, Sam Dodwell feeling the effects of some injury niggles lately and lacking some long run conditioning. Still clocking a respectable 1:39:25, some way off his best.

Trip organiser Matthew Atter had a great weekend. Not taking the race too seriously and with a modest amount of training he enjoyed his run with a time of 1:44:03.

Next up was the first lady, Zoë Wragg with no doubt the performance of the weekend. Going into this race full of confidence, on a course that is far from suited to PBs she loved every minute of it. With a beam writ large on her face, she ran brilliantly to bag a 2min 5sec PB with 2:00:59. Project ‘sub 2’ a very real prospect and soon.

Alison Clark also had a strong race, her time of 2:14:51 bagged her a new official half marathon PB of 2min 7secs.
Hot on Alison’s heels was Kate Marshall who was also struggled with blisters. Kate clocked a solid 2:15:15 someway off her best race enjoyment taking precedence this time.

Stephen J Fay made a fleeting appearance, in the midst of a European holiday clocking a solid 2:19:35.
It was then the turn of the 5k team runners. Setting off at 20:10 for the challenging (as in, completely uphill) last part of the Half Marathon course, Sylv Hull, Julia Hallam and Robin Atter ran as the ‘GRC Chimpions’ in what turned out to be a slightly chaotic run.

After all the running was done, all that was left to do for the weekend was kick back, enjoy the sun and sample the local beer, quaddy voddy’s and ice cream. Plans are already afoot for the next adventure!

Month review part two
On a lovely late spring day, three made their way to Deeping St James to take part in the Deeping Rotary 10k a flat single circuit finished on playing fields.
A small 163 runner field were treated to decent conditions; warm sunshine and runners enjoying the cooling head and side breeze in places.
First back was veteran Paul Jepson (Paul Lenton) finishing in 50.58. Zane Wojtowicz completed her race in 54:27, keenly followed by Richard Urquhart 54:52.

On the very warm Wednesday evening of 24th May, sixteen members of GRC took part in the Trent 5 mile race hosted by Beeston AC. A Returning fixture in the GP series, the multi terrain course was particularly dusty following a dry patch.
Tantalisingly close to the finish line, runners are sent on demoralising final lap of the field before finishing.
Joaquim Jeronimo, making the early reckoning, before a side strain rather halted his progress. Still finishing in 5th place in 29.36, collecting the MV40 prize. The first GRC lady to cross the line was Hannah Whittaker in well-paced and determined 36:32.

The ladies enjoying more of the spoils, with Naomi Rivers – 40:13, Nicci Whittaker – 40:35 and Sylv Hull – 43:16 all securing PB’s
Consensus stating it was a well hosted by Beeston with a very friendly atmosphere.
Rounding out the month, the bank Holiday weekend saw seven members head north over the border to take part in the Edinburgh Marathon Festival.

The festival has different running events over the weeekend from 1k up to the full Marathon on the Sunday.
The course for both the half and the full marathon starts in the city centre on Potterow with the picturesque backdrop of the University of Edinburgh’s McEwan Hall. From there runners take in many of the city’s iconic sights and to Musselburgh before turning back towards the beautiful finish line within the vast playing fields of Pinkie School.
The mixture of the crowds in the city centre, the peace and quiet of the Royal Park and the bustle of the seaside promenade make for a good mix at various points along the route.

First to the starting blocks with an early start was Kevin Kettle taking on the half marathon, despite suffering with an injury knowing a good time wasn’t in reach, still finishing in a very creditable 1:44:40.
Robin Atter, Jo Grace, Julie Gilbert, Rachel Pattison, Rosalind Sadler and Nicola Cottam had all signed up for the marathon distance.

First back for GRC was the ever-improving Robin Atter. Retuning to Edinburgh after his first marathon last year. The aim: sub 3:30. Stronger, smarter and more determined after a very prosperous year of running and racing, he was pleased to have come in at 3:27:50.
Jo was next home for the club. A curtailed training block leading up to the marathon had seen Jo struggle to run with injury, so her goal was to enjoy it. She vowed to return in much better fettle!

(In)famous GRC trio: Julie, Rachel and Ros had completed the London Marathon five weeks hence and came in “not having a whole fit person between them” just wanted to enjoy the event and do their best.

Julie was first to finish. Having settled into her pace up until around 21 miles, with the last 5 miles being a run/walk. Squeezing in just under 5 hours with a time of 4:58:23.
Rachel was next, running for The Brain Tumour Charity, aiming to fully embrace the event whilst raising awareness. Running with Julie for the first half, then tailing off slightly in a time of 5:03:27 only just outside her PB.
Ros was next home and, as seemed to be the order of the day, had been nursing an injury for quite some time, pleased to finish with a time of 5:17:19.

Nicola Cottam rounded off the intrepid runners, pleased to have finished after nausea blighted most of her run. A time of 5:40:48 testament to her grit and determination!
Runner Up

As ever I try to crank up the atmosphere by certain omissions here and there… Time to right the anomalies:

Harking back to the stunning Grimsthorpe Castle, and the 10-mile trail race over tricky, and testing terrain; we highlight a fantastic run, especially given his marathon at Manchester only a few weeks previously.
If not for a somewhat bemusing and confusing water station/self-help tent that cost him “at least two ruddy places!”, it still meant a top ten finish a fantastic time of 1:19:32.
This in the midst of giving up countless hours for the beginning to run programmes we run, the runner up for May; the ever-popular Russell Maksymiw!

Some of the beauty and appeal of this club is that it is the warm sense of family and community it fosters. Sometimes quite literally!

For a while now, this man has been the ‘bridesmaid’ not the bride in terms of Member of The Month recognition in his own family… Despite being one of the fastest in the club for some 18 months or more.
‘Bout time it righted itself, eh?!

A insanely executed and superb marathon in April, barely received a mention… thanks to some quite baffling and legendary performances that month.
To keep the same level of application, hunger and performance, speaks of the man!
To Beeston for the Beeston/Trent 5. A course made somewhat harder by the heat, dust and difficult under foot surface this year especially.
First across the finish for GRC in a rapid 29:08 after exercising some deft race craft and patience , finishing in third place overall and achieving his first podium finish… the Winner of May Member of the Month is: Russel Whittaker.

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