BRC member profiles 💚

Happy Monday everyone.

We are kicking off this week with another brilliant members profile.

Today is Marijke Monday.

BRC’s very own Marijke Van Eetvelde

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1. Please briefly introduce yourself?

Marijke Van Etevelde. I joined the club in 2013 and I think I became Ladies Captain a year or so later.

I was definitely a half-hearted runner before I joined the club - I had taken part in a few events like the Race for Life, a 10K and the Great North Run before then, but signing up for races was always the easy part - I didn't really like the training side and I wasn't really sure how to go about it either!

In January 2013 I found myself with an entry to the Brentwood Half that year and not much motivation to start training especially as there was snow on the ground.

When I mentioned to my friend Madeleine how I was dreading having to start the training for the half on the treadmill, she dragged me along to one of Keith Thornton's weekday morning Merrymead sessions which involved running through the icy mud and snowy slush in Weald and after one session I was hooked and I haven't been on a treadmill since!

I loved the fact we were going out in Thorndon or Weald in all weather 3 mornings a week with a bunch of likeminded people and a handful of unruly dogs. After I did the Brentwood Half that year, I became a LIRF a few months later and I also took part in my first crosscountry season in my TGT vest.

2. What events, if any have you got coming up?

For a second year in a row I have trained for the Rome Marathon but it was obviously cancelled last year, and also this year's event has now been pushed back.

With the continued uncertainty around travel I decided I'd only commit to local events, so I am now hoping to take part in the Brightlingsea trail marathon in April and the Blackwater Ultra in May, which will be my first Ultra. In the Autumn I have signed up for the Chemsford Half Marathon.

I also can't wait for Parkrun to resume in June!

3. What does running mean to you? Running has been a game changer for me and I am not sure where I would be physically and mentally fit if I hadn't gone for that run in the mud and snow in Weald in January 2013!

I hated sports at school and as a young adult and finding my running feet has given me so much, not just in terms of being fitter and healthier but also in terms of becoming more confident in my ability and in developing a more positive relationship with my body and with food.

It's also made me realise I am a lot more competitive than I thought I was!

Running has also been a great way to make friends. Running has a wonderful way of connecting people as if there's one thing us runners love apart from running then it is definitely talking about running!

Especially in the last 12 months I have often counted my blessing as being able to go out running, on my own or with one or a handful of friends has most definitely been a savior to keep the Lockdown blues under control.

4. What is your best BRC memory?

I have so many happy BRC memories but the highlights are definitely the mud, cake and cameraderie at the crosscountry races, the crazy blur that was the 24 hour Spitfire Scramble 2019 and having fish and chips in Harwich at the end of a long day supporting and running at the Essex Way in the same year.

One event that definitely brings a smile to my face when I think back to it is the Vitality London 10000 in 2016 where a few of us TGT folks (who weren't really feeling race-ready) decided on the spur of the moment to start right at the back of our pen and just turn the race into a selfie and sightseeing opportunity around central London.

We took photo's on Boris bikes, outside Downing Street, with bin men and police officers and had a ball and still managed to scrape in in just under an hour. It was a great reminder that some days are for racing your heart out but other days you might as well just take things a little less serious and enjoy the company and the scenery!

5. What is your proudest running moment?

Proudest running moment: promotion to first division with the TGT ladies in the Essex League crosscountry race, unexpectedly being part of the winning Ladies Team at the Billericay 10k in 2017, taking the silver medal at the Spitfire Scramble with our Ladies Team in 2019 and probably finishing my first marathon in Berlin 2014!

6. What is the best bit of running advice you could give or have received?

When the going gets tough in a race or a training session - smile! It's scientifically proven it works as smiling tricks your brain, lowers your perceived rate of exertion and improves your running economy. So next time you see a photographer on a race course, throw them a big smile.

Jazz hands optional!


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