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March 2021 Member of The Month

Sophie Le Saux

Congratulations to Sophie who is the March member of the month. Sophie was nominated and given the award for litter picking within her local community, thank you for making the local area a cleaner place to live in!

We spoke with Sophie to get to know more about her:

  1. How long have you been a member of Sandhurst Joggers? I joined in February 2015. And my first club run was on a Monday night. I was a bit nervous I wouldn’t keep up with the group, but I made it back to the Sports Centre car park in one piece! Patrick was very supportive. I remember not being able to talk and run but I seem to have mastered it now! Little did I know that I, when I signed up, I became the 300th Member and received a personalised SJ vest.
  2. What first attracted you to the club? The Sandhurst Joggers sign by Memorial Park! Then for a few months, I kept visiting the SJ website and the rest is history. 
  3. Tell us a bit about yourself? I am from Brittany, and I have lived in the UK since January 1999. You would think by now I would have a perfect British accent, well not in the slightest! I lived in Peterhead in the north east of Scotland for 2 years then moved to Sandhurst. I have a son, Lucas, that I keep dragging to Parkrun or other running activities! I am a sales manager selling catering equipment to global fast-food chains in the UK, Ireland, and the Nordics. 
  4. What benefits do you feel you gain from running, with or without the club? My job can get hectic and running helps with my stress levels. After a run, I am a much nicer person to be around. 
  5. Do you take part in any other sports? Not really, I tried cycling when I was injured, bought all the gear but realised I didn’t enjoy it as much as running. And as soon as I was fit again, the bike never left the shed. I do enjoy Pilates and it keeps me injury-free.
  6. Do you have a favourite distance you like to run? I enjoy half marathons as they are long enough to be a challenge and my body doesn’t need weeks to recover like for a marathon.
  7. Do you enjoy races? Yes definitely, but I prefer the longer distances, 10 miles+. Training for a race makes me so much more disciplined. I like following a plan and if left to my own devices, it tends to go wrong. I know it’s all very subjective but Farnborough Half and Fleet Half are my favourite races, lots of Sandhurst Joggers running and supporting.
  8. Do you enjoy/participate in the social aspect of the club? Yes, during the past year, I took part in a few of the challenges. It kept the boredom at bay and got me out of the house.
  9. What are your running aspirations? I would love to run another marathon and do it in 3h45min. If I put some effort into it, I think I can achieve it. Famous last words!
  10. Is there anything you feel the club could improve? Not really, I think we are lucky to have a club that offers runs 6 days of the week. I don’t have anything to complain about…so terribly unFrench of me!
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February 2021 Member of The Month

Monica Burbidge

Not only did Monica set up a WhatsApp group for the Tuesday runners, during the first lockdown, but she has taken part in almost every challenge the club has come up with, accompanied by lots of lovely photos.

Thank you Monica for all your pictures during your runs, it has been great to see you getting out and about!

We got in contact with Monica to get to know more about her:

How long have you been a member of Sandhurst Joggers?
Since autumn 2016, I think. I remember turning up for my first club run in twilight and finishing in the dark!

What first attracted you to the club?
I had decided to try and run my first half marathon: the Fleet ‘Pre-London’ Half Marathon 2017 (at the time, my new colleagues in our US office were very interested in the ‘Pre-London’ bit!). I thought this was a good opportunity to think about joining a running club for advice, moral support and, of course, people to run with! I entered the Yateley 10k series in 2006, and when I turned up for race 1, I was immediately drawn to all the friendly runners and helpers in red vests. The rest, as they say, is history!

Tell us a bit about yourself:
I grew up in the West Midlands and also lived in Manchester for a few years when I was a postgrad student. Now, I live in Ash Vale with my long-suffering husband, Mark, who doesn’t run. He did give it a go with me a couple of times, but he decided it wasn’t for him as he wasn’t getting an endorphin rush, and I decided it wasn’t for him as I couldn’t bear all his moaning and groaning!! He’s very supportive of my running though and will order me to lace up my trainers and get myself out for a run, especially when he senses I’m getting a bit grumpy!

I’m a molecular biologist by training. After working in London in scientific research for a few years and then in science publishing for another few years, I wanted to work more flexibly and closer to home (and not have to take an afternoon off work in order to be able to get back in time for a club run), so I now work as a freelance science and medical editor. This has allowed me to attend most Tuesday club runs, and run during the day too when work is quieter.  

Aside from work, running and home life, I like singing and I also learnt to play the ukulele a few years ago. Occasionally, my interests happen to collide, and I have been known to stop briefly during a race to join my band or choir for a song before continuing on my merry way! I loved being part of the ‘for one night only’ SJ30 band that played at the Annual Ball to celebrate SJ’s 30th anniversary.

What benefits do you feel you gain from running, with or without the club?
I never regret going for a run and I love the simplicity of it – all I have to do is get changed, put my shoes on and go outside. Whatever else is going on in my day/week/life, and however hard or bad the run seems, I always feel better afterwards, so calm and relaxed, and with a sense of having achieved something. However, during the first lockdown last year, I found that I was becoming anxious being near people and became quite reclusive, only going out for short walks at sunset when the pavements and paths were quiet. This was obviously not good for my mental health. Over the next few months, I gradually made myself go for longer walks, then short runs, and eventually longer runs, and the various challenges and virtual races organised by SJ and YRR really helped with this. More generally, I have made lots of friends through the club and have enjoyed many special experiences, such as marshalling several times at the London Marathon and running it twice through the marshal’s ballot.

Do you take part in any other sports?
Although I loved watching sport, especially athletics, on TV when I was a child (and still do), I was never a sporty kid, quite the opposite! At university, I started playing squash and 5-a-side football. I learnt to swim properly at the age of 29 when I had adult lessons. I started running in 2002 at the age of 30, after my boss entered me (while I was away on holiday!) into a 10k, the Canary Wharf Jog, to raise money for the British Heart Foundation, which was funding our research at the time. I survived the training and the race itself and didn’t hate it! Over the next few years, I ran only sporadically, but realised I needed to stay fit and healthy, so started working out at the gym fairly regularly and doing cardio and strength classes. Since starting regular running again when I joined SJ, my main other activities are those that I find complement my running, such as yoga and Pilates, swimming and strength work.

Do you have a favourite distance you like to run?
My favourite distance used to be the half marathon. These days I prefer 10k, but I am currently training for a virtual half marathon in April, after the actual event was postponed last year, and enjoying the longer runs again. I have run six marathons, and although it is not my preferred distance (maybe something to do with those challenging last few miles!), the sense of achievement and elation at finishing, especially at a big event, is something very special.

Do you enjoy races?
Yes! I’m not competitive by nature, but I like the challenge of having something to train for. I love the race-day atmosphere, the camaraderie of meeting up with club mates and helping each other along if we happen to be running at a similar pace, and the sense of satisfaction and achievement at the finish. Despite my aim usually being just to finish with a smile on my face and wanting to repeat the experience, I do find that I push myself more when I’m in a race situation.

Do you enjoy / participate in the social aspect of the club?
Oh yes, absolutely! I love the social aspect and participate when I can, though to be honest, every club run is sociable J. I particularly like the pub runs, where we go for a lovely chatty off-road run somewhere different and then continue the conversation over a pint and some good grub. I like the End of Year Ball too, when everyone is dressed up to the nines and we celebrate people’s achievements and contributions, also the (not) Weekend Away, which is a nice mix of running and related activities, informative talks and social interaction.

What are your running aspirations?
In terms of my own running, mainly I’d just like to be able to keep running for very many years to come, injury free and with a smile on my face, just like my lockdown running buddy, Alurie Dutton J. Maybe attempt one more marathon – my last one in 2018 didn’t go too well (though I did just about manage to finish) and I haven’t yet overcome the resulting brain weasels. A sub-30 parkrun/5k would be nice – I achieved this just once when I also ran my 10k PB. I would also like to continue trying to help others with their running by encouraging self-belief and overcoming any confidence issues. After all, running is such an accessible sport and anyone can run if they are physically able and put their mind to it!

Is there anything you feel the club could improve?
I would like to see more of a team spirit at finish lines of races, so that more finishers stay around to cheer in the later finishers. This is something the club used to do really well across all races, but seems to have dropped off somewhat for some events in recent years.

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January 2021 Member of The Month

Sharon Burfield

We have all had our struggles with the current situation, but add to that being Matron of two ICU’s during a pandemic, working very long days, shortages of staff and having a young family to look after, but somehow still managing to get out to run!

Thank you Sharon for all you have done during the pandemic – You are a true hero to us all!

We got in contact with Sharon to get to know more about him:

How long have you been a member of Sandhurst Joggers?
I was actually a member back in 2003-2004, but left due to working in London and having my two boys.  I came back to the club in December 2015.

What first attracted you to the club?
They were easy to find and I felt so welcome on my first few runs.  Then when I came back, SJ was the only local club that ran most days, and they are such a friendly supportive bunch I would never go anywhere else!

Tell us a bit about yourself:
I’m a nurse, wife and mum to two boys, who loves running, reading and listening to music.  I love the social aspect of running, as well as the challenge of longer distances.

What benefits do you feel you gain from running, with or without the club?
It helps me to maintain my physical and mental fitness, helps to relieve my stress and means I can eat what I like (within reason!!).  At the moment it really is my ‘me time’ where I can just think or talk about completely random stuff, and forget about the stresses of work.

Do you take part in any other sports?
Occasional cycling, and walking, but it’s really running that’s my main passion.

Do you have a favourite distance you like to run?
Probably marathon or ultra-marathon distance, as I can have a chat and eat nice food whilst enjoying the scenery with my amigos!

Do you enjoy races?
Yes!  I don’t enjoy long waits and queues for the toilet beforehand, but that hasn’t been a problem in the last year!

Do you enjoy / participate in the social aspect of the club?
Yes – I have made some lovely friends at the club and love to get together with them when I can.  I don’t always attend functions but am hoping the ball will go ahead this year so we can all get together properly!

What are your running aspirations?
To keep running until I am 100 (at least!), and I would like to achieve a 3.30 marathon at some point.

Is there anything you feel the club could improve?
I think it will be nice to get back to club runs at some point, and perhaps then we could have a bit of a refresh in terms of marketing..  It would be good to attract some new runners – of all speeds.

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December 2020 Member of the Month

Andy Hazell

Andy stepped up to take over the coordination of the Tuesday run groups, which is a challenge in its self! With the restrictions changing, almost on a daily basis, it became an even bigger challenge! So congratulations to Andy.

Thank you Andy for coordinating Tuesdays – We can’t wait to get back to Tuesdays! 😊

We got in contact with Andy to get to know more about him:

How long have you been a member of Sandhurst Joggers?
In my 2nd year now

What first attracted you to the club?
I already knew a couple of members and them convincing  me that even I could be accepted by a club being not very good at running at the time, I have got a bit better over time,

Tell us a bit about yourself:
I live in Owlsmoor with my long term partner Sue , you are likely to see me ( If not running) on a motorbike or driving my classic Ford Escort,

What benefits do you feel you gain from running, with or without the club?
Health and friendship

Do you take part in any other sports?
I would like to say yes but no.

Do you have a favourite distance you like to run?
I think it has to be 10k as I dint do them a lot but enough to be a challenge still,

Do you enjoy races?
Does anyone enjoy them until they finish them ?

Do you enjoy / participate in the social aspect of the club?
I try to commit to them when I can, the social team make great efforts to bring ideas and things we can do as a club even through the current tough times.

What are your running aspirations?
Keeping getting out and hopefully soon with the rest of the club like we used to.

Is there anything you feel the club could improve?
Currently happy with the club and all it has to offer.

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November 2020 Member of the Month

Vinnett Taylor

Vinnett received several nominations from many members who sing her praises with regards to the motivation and experience she brings to their running journey.

Thank you Vinnett for always encourage us on runs! 😊

We got in contact with Vinnett to get to know more about her.

We got in contact with Vinnett to get to know more about her:

How long have you been a member of Sandhurst Joggers?
Just over a year – I joined September 2019. Don’t be fooled into thinking I’ve not run before. I was a very good runner when I was younger. I just took a bit of a rest (couple of decades).

What first attracted you to the club?
I met a group of Sandhurst Joggers (Patrick, Helen and Jackie) at Bracknell Parkrun and was invited by Jackie to try a Sunday morning run at the Lookout. I did and everyone was really kind and that was it. I joined.

Tell us a bit about yourself:
I am divorced with a 21year old son. I am a Director and Consultant, I am known for my expertise in championing Digital Transformation around the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, leveraging business acumen to generate solutions.
I have worked on lots of first-to-market technology including WiFi hotspots in 2003 and autonomous vehicles in 2013.
My passion outside of work has always been sport. I played mixed hockey for Maidenhead until I hit my 40’s, when the bruises took too long to heal.

What benefits do you feel you gain from running, with or without the club?
Losing my confidence was quite difficult to deal with after my divorce and running with Sandhurst Joggers has allowed me to meet great people and has given me back my passion for running.

Do you take part in any other sports?
I do reformer Pilates several times a week.
Back in February I completed the England Athletics Leadership in Running Fitness (LiRF) and Coaching Assistant course. I am in the process of doing my coaching qualification in Athletics Coach Endurance but won’t be able to qualify until we can do the practice days. Hopefully I’ll be able to give something back.

Do you have a favourite distance you like to run?
I don’t have a favourite distance at the moment. I’m no spring chicken, therefore my body is probably more suited to the longer distance runs, like the marathons. However, having run for Halifax Harriers, county “Yorkshire” and the English schools in both the 400 and 800 metres, don’t be surprised if I change my mind once I’m fit again.

Do you enjoy races?
I have a love-hate relationship with races. I hate them until the start and once I start running, I love them.

Do you enjoy / participate in the social aspect of the club?
I’m not really a beer and curry girl, so you will notice I disappear rather quickly after the handicap and I’ve really enjoyed the virtual events through lock down.

What are your running aspirations?
My goal for 2021 is to do a 5k under 20 mins. So that will be a 19:59, plus a 4-hour marathon. It’s not going to be easy. I have a plan but it needs to be fun so I will need to have some crazy people around me to stop me from getting too focused.

Is there anything you feel the club could improve?
It would be good to have a session within the week that includes strength training, focused on targeting the key muscles and keep us injury-free.
Maybe introduce a fell run once a quarter and or a night run at the Lookout as a bit of a twist to our winter runs. (Not sure if we could do a risk assessment on them). Just a few suggestions.