Member of the Month
With the season of darkness upon us, the club is safely in semi-hibernation. The virus continues to erase our activity calendar and for many, the epoch of incredulity. However, our member of the month for January is undeterred: Simon Crilley has been showing us the light with his constant commitment to getting out of the door and running. Often 6-7 days a week and at quite a relentless pace. Several times through the month when conditions made it by far the best option to stay indoors, he was outdoors – come rain or shine, day or night. He has even been adjusting his pace over the weekends to appreciate the benefits of a more leisurely run… something he has found difficult in the past! As well as his excellent commitment to the task, Simon has always displayed his considerate nature and always has time for fellow runners, which is a lovely attribute during this period. Congratulations Simon.
And in no time at all, the month was over. February has never been a good month for running - what with Valentine’s Day weakening limbs and blurring vision. Something that could help refocus and recover limbs was needed so fortunately, the club had an invitation to attend an informal series of Yoga classes – perfect for dark and damp nights! James Aubury was our yogi and he took it upon himself to encourage as many as possible to join him. With so much positive feedback and introducing it to us in this format, James blossomed into our Member of the Month for February. Namaste James.
Our Member of the Month for March is a brave COVID-19 survivor, our most senior runner, and someone who has bounced back with great form in our virtual challenges. Mike Ward had been in hospital with the virus and it didn’t go unnoticed that his chances of recovery were made good due to his fitness. Although he’s just 85, the regular runner does suffer the occasional seasonal cold but C-19 is a very different threat and does attack the respiratory system with little mercy. Mike’s healthy lungs were surely a great advantage in battling the terrible illness. Back on his feet, he soon took on our virtual competitions and has now built herself back up to the 10km distance. Best wishes Mike and congratulations.
April was the month one of our most legendry runners leaped back into action by running in as many marathons in the month that most of us would do in a lifetime! He also indulged in his 74th birthday on the 20th. Yes, Phillip Howells is the club’s member of the month. There isn’t enough space to write worthy accolades for Phillip here, however, his drive and gritty determination to complete 100 marathons, 100 trail marathon, and 100 Ultras was in full display in April as he did complete the first ‘100’ with his 100th trail marathon – that’s off-road to many of us. With the virus affecting events over the last year, Phillip really did not have the option of rolling out of bed and doing a local race, he needed to travel to the North East of England to run on the banks of the River Wear, and in unfavorable conditions. So quite an epic achievement under the circumstances – even for the popular Ledbury legend. Congratulations Phillip.
With the summer sun starting to shine and late evenings tempting, the club has had a new driver behind our running meets – arranging COVID safe groups and sending out enticing reminders of what the club has planned. I’m sure everyone has seen the name Chris Duckworth on social media invitations; Chris’s timely communications with the club has been the perfect helping hand to bring the runners back into the group surroundings that have been missing for such a long time. Club committee member Chris also had a helping hand in putting an easier and more active face on the club website. With the racing year still struggling to get... running, it has been marvellous having a club comms refresh and it is clearly beneficial to the smooth running of the club. Our Member of the Month for May – Congratulations Chris.
With our sporting lifestyles slowly taking shape this summer, one club member in particular has been shaping up activities for us to indulge in. Club Captain Fantastic, Roy Northcott has done a sterling job with virtual runs and he really lifted the club’s participation by rolling on with his smoothly organized 5 mile handicap series – always one of the most engaging 'social' events of the season. Many thanks to Roy for hosting another year and for the work that goes behind it. Congratulations Roy, our Member of the Month for June.
Our member of the month for July really needs no further introduction. Nevertheless, Phillip Howells has achieved something that many of us would dream about, and many would have nightmares about. A truly exceptional gentleman, Phillip has been known as “Britain’s Most Overactive Pensioner” since 2015 and in 2021, there is evidence to suggest that he is still that very person. This July he reached a milestone of completing 100 marathons/100 trial marathons/100 ultra-marathons. The stats of his achievement is quite astonishing. Read more about it HERE
Based in Ledbury, Phillip has a 3:20 marathon time on his CV and while many mere mortals would consider one marathon as a lifetime achievement, Phillip’s log book is staggering. But things were never easy for him – needing a back operation and then advised to stop distance running! Those who know Phillip, know that the greater the challenge, the greater his determination. Congratulations.
With summer nearing its end, the club favourably looks back at members who were warming rays of sunshine; with August still fresh in our memories, the club's official summer garden party was a glorious success – and only because of the equally warm hospitality of Alec and Elaine Vincent. In fact, both Alec and Elaine have been big parts of the summer – Elaine has been ever active on the club runs and in fine form too, whilst Alec has safely pulled away from a dreadfully long period of niggles centered around plantar fasciitis. He is back to his best and showing a healthy spring in his step once more. Our member of the month award for August goes jointly to Elaine and Alec. Congratulations.
This month’s Member of the Month was an easy choice for our judges, even though the month contained several shinning individuals, no one came near to out-shining Carly Merriman’s exploits in London. Of course, we are talking about her magnificent marathon debut. As many know Carly was drawn out of the hat for the Tewkesbury club place and from that day, she turned into a dedicated runner with a strict training regime. Having been joined on some quite outstanding training runs with Lucinda Jones, her fitness had improved to levels never seen before. Ahead of the race, she gave an honest target time she had hoped to finish in; her goal was 3:45 hr and although her training times over shorter distances looked promising, that time would be a challenge… after 20 miles of racing the body tends to want to stop moving and the mind starts its long battle to keep the legs moving. However, Carly was ahead of schedule and despite the expected aches and pains she crossed the London Marathon finish line in an eye-opening 3:35 hrs. An extraordinary time for the working mum of three. Her official time gives her a ‘good-for-age’ qualification in any of the major marathons, including London 2022. Congratulations Carly.
November for Tewkesbury Running Club has always been about annual Guy Fawkes 5 event and quite suitably, our member of the month for November is now very much connected to the race on 7th Nov, as it was Thomas Lee’s first formal running event: Tom took part in our C25K (couch to 5 kilometres) over the summer with the Tewkesbury Parkrun on 4th September being his graduation day. Tom’s C25K went so well with the club that his immediately joined the TRC and become a regular on Monday runs with the odd Wednesday too. In the autumn he started to recce the GF5 route in preparation for the race – his first big race. Having never ran before he started the C25K, Tom built himself into a respectable athlete, so much so, he was able to cross the finish line in 50:17 mins, inside the top 300. Congratulations Thomas.
Our member of the month for December is another relatively new club member. A popular figure in the local running scene - especially during the prize presentations, Sue Baldwin took many years debating to join up with TRC. Without question, she hit the ground running upon arrival and continues to run at any opportunity to represent the club at events. Sue's unmistakable warm smile and aura is a perfect tonic for the cold and sometimes frosty winter runs. Living just a paddle away from Tewkesbury, Sue popped up at lots of the run meets and when she races, she certainly turns up the heat. Sue is an outstanding addition to our club of many abilities and an easy choice for our selectors to choose as December MotM. Congratulations Sue.