For the ladies, the award goes to…. Gemma Bitaraf.
Gemma, as always, devotes her time to GVH in abundance which is especially altruistic as she has barely been running the past couple of years. However, Gemma made a superb return to XC this season finishing as a point scorer in all the matches she attended and giving the regular runners a proper run for their money. This was an absolute joy to see. Since taking a back seat from running following a knee complaint, Gemma has embraced the muddy world of cyclo-cross (CX) which, for those who don’t know, is a form of bicycle racing which typically takes place in the autumn and winter.
It consists of many laps of a short (2.5–3.5 km or 1.5–2 mile) course featuring pavement, wooded trails, grass, steep hills and obstacles requiring the rider to quickly dismount, carry the bike while navigating the obstruction and remount. Gemma has shown such grit and determination to improve her CX skills and as her photos always show, has completely immersed herself in the muddy brutality that it demands! Many incidents causing injuries to herself, and the bike, didn’t stop her getting straight back in the saddle and it has always been with a smile and a spirit of persistence.
Gemma’s passion for success in her new-found sport has rewarded her greatly. After 14 races, Gemma finished the season in January as the 4th senior lady in the league! Gemma, you are incredible. You are proof that courage and determination reap the rewards and you continue to inspire us all with your coaching advice, support, training plans and also your shining example of athletic prowess. You totally rock.