Club Captains

Ladies Club Captain: Caroline Brock

Caroline wins at Marathon Eryri

Our ladies Club Captain is Steel City Strider’s very own Queen of the Fells Caroline Brock and here we get the chance to learn what makes her tick.

Whilst it’s unwise to ask a woman her age, Caroline is currently an F35 so not really a veteran. Early experience of running was not encouraging having been coerced into cross country at school even though, although decent, she hated it. Now it is one of her favourite things to do! Later, running on a treadmill was a means to an end simply to keep fit but things began to get serious when she entered the Sheffield Half Marathon in 2013. Having got the running and racing bug her friend Doug convinced her that being in a club would be good for her running and that Striders was a great club.

Caroline would usually expect to run about forty miles per week, and longer if marathon training, including at least one speed session. This would be long reps for the marathon (this might be 5x1000m up to 3x2miles) or a track session plus the weekly long run (12-15 miles or more). Training is a mix of road and trail including a weekly easy off-road run to enjoy the views. Summer sees a weekly visit to a local fell race too. (Here Caroline is being modest for a visit to her wine cellar would see that it is well stocked with prizes earned on the fells. ed).

Caroline simply loves racing, but her favourites have to be the relays; road, fell, cross country, and the Sheffield Way…. They’re a great day out and being part of a team can be a lot of fun, putting in a hard effort for the club, being able to cheer on your teammates and getting the encouragement back too. The Sheffield Way buffet is a reward in itself. The Grindleford Gallop has to be on the list too because it’s such a brilliant local race and the weather is always a treat.

Even though fell races are not included, Caroline’s Power of Ten shows superb improvement since 2013. London Marathon 2019 is her personal favourite as training had been consistent and the best ever in the run up to a marathon, feeling focussed and in control on the day. After some awful marathon experiences, finally running the time that she knew she was capable of felt amazing.

The worst of those awful experiences was perhaps Rotterdam 2018. After training through a hard winter, it turned out to be warm on race day. Collapsing just when the race should be starting at mile twenty Caroline got a lift to the finish on the back of a quad bike although pace had been fairly consistent up to that point. The issue wasn’t the training but problems coping with warmer weather and an inability to take that into consideration and slow down a little. Parents had always said that their daughter was stubborn; worthy traits in an endurance athlete but not knowing when to stop and simply running to exhaustion can have unpleasant consequences. However, lessons learned, and all that winter’s training were put to good use with a great summer of racing and lots of fun before taking stock to have another go at the marathon the following spring.

Ambitions include an aim to keep running as well as possible for as long as possible and also nailing a sub three marathon one day. If you have ever seen Caroline race you will know that this should not be an issue. (ed. Caroline achieved a sub-3 in 2021!).

The Club Captaincy role for Caroline has evolved, being adapted to take note of what her clubmates think the role should be. An important task involves working with the other club members who work hard behind the scenes to get teams together for events then shouting at everyone to do as they are told on the day! Caroline’s objective is to make Steel City Striders the best club in South Yorkshire!

And in answer to the real question it’s beer, especially after a race.

Men’s Club Captain: Seth Kirby

Seth trying hard at the Rother Valley Relays!

Seth took up the Men’s Club Captain role in September 2022. You’ll probably find him run leading on the fells, or at races on the trails, or more recently on the track. Seth did cross country at school but instead chose to pursue his football and cricket career which took up much of his time, and he still ended up being mediocre at both sports… During his teenage years, he ran cross county for the Staffordshire and West Midlands Army Cadet Force but later ditched running until a few years after university when parkrun looked appealing, and there was nothing to do in Cheltenham!

He has been a member of Steel City Striders for a number of years and enjoys local track events and short fell races, as well as participating in team and relay events – if he is quick enough to be picked! This is now much easier as he is able to make some of the selections. You never know he could be given a reserve spot for some of the relay events…

Promoting opportunities, particularly for those club members who do not think they are quick but really are ‘faster’ runners at the various relays and club championship races, alongside enticing and encouraging others to participate in fell runs, trail and track races are just some of the areas that he is interested in supporting. All with the hope of continuing the growth and success of the Steel City Striders.

And to follow Caroline’s lead, cake and hot chocolate are fine post-race treats (as he quit drinking a few years ago!).