2016 has been an eventful year with lots of exciting changes. This report hopefully summarises a lot of these changes.
Mondays and Perdiswell
Monday club runs have continued to run smoothly, despite our lack of an inside meeting place due to the construction work at Perdiswell. The car park and lighting are better than they were last winter fortunately. When the centre opens in the new year we should at least have some shelter from the rain under the large canopy outdoors. We can’t organise an inside meeting location until the centre opens and we can look at the capacity and availability, but it will be looked at.
Tuesday’s runs have seen attendance grow in recent months thanks to the efforts of Phil Miles and regular group leaders, with runs at a variety of paces. Phil has also continued to lead the Sunday long runs, which have gone from strength to strength with over 70 runners during the peak Spring marathon training season and even now we’re in Winter, there are regularly 40 or more following the windmills round the lanes of Worcester.
With parkrun on a Saturday and smaller groups of members arranging to meet on Wednesday evenings and Friday mornings, there are now BPJ runs every day of the week!
Clubmark and LiRF
June saw the club being awarded Clubmark accreditation. This was achieved thanks primarily to the hard work of Jo Evans, who put countless hours in to The award means that England Athletics recognise that we are a safe, inclusive, quality running club and that we have met all of the criteria set out for adult running clubs.
The club now has over 30 qualified LiRF leaders, which has increased the variety and quality of sessions that the club offers. We have seen many graduates from the Couch to 5K and 5-10K programmes build up their confidence and abilities. Also some of our leaders have started catering for the growing demand for wanting to improve their running, with leaders like Neil Richards taking hill training sessions, Derek Jackson running a parkrun improver course and Helen Burton leading ‘efforts’ for mixed abilities. The club now has two qualified coaches in running fitness (CiRF); Claire Shacklock and Jo Evans with Rebecca Spencer currently in the middle of her training.
The club continues to support local charities, with members voting in Maggs Day Centre and Worcestershire Young Carers as our nominated charities in May. The club’s summer charity race, ‘The Wild One’ was the first event raising money for the charities. The event was a success, but numbers have started to decline year on year, so in the new year we’ll be looking at the event format and location with input from club members.
Philanthropy extends further than just club events, a large number of members fundraising for London Marathon places must have seen tens of thousands of pounds raised for many different charities and the club’s inclusive ethos has grown with two designated welfare officers and England Athletic’s introduction of the mental health ambassador programme has seen the appointment of 5 mental health ambassadors, which have put on their first event, a ‘run and talk’ night. I look forward to seeing the team put on more events in the new year.
The club’s Outreach programme has seen our club having a growing number of qualified guide runners, trained to lead runners with visual impairments. This has led to some really positive, rewarding work with Worcester’s New College too. The guide runners started a running group with their pupils, enabling them to run in a safe environment.
Back in February, Rebecca Wilkins, one of our members sadly passed away. Rebecca had many friends within the club and as a LiRF leader, was part-way through leading one of the couch to 5K programmes. August saw friends from the club, led by Mark Dillon and Graham and Lesley Harris come together to organise a charity 10K race in her memory. The ‘Wilkins Way’ was a success and helped to raise not only £1,323 for Anorexia and Bulimia Care (a charity close to Rebecca), but also continue her legacy by funding the training for two more LiRF leaders.
The popularity of the club’s annual Croome Capability Canter race has gone up another notch. Selling out in under two minutes this year, the race is a great testament to the efforts of the committee and club members who work hard to make the event a success. Now in its 7th year, the race is set to raise a good amount of money to help maintain the scenic National Trust property that we’re fortunate to be able to run around.
This year also saw some changes to the committee. Martin Reeves (groups co-ordinator), Steve Jones (publicity co-ordinator) and Clive Andrews (treasurer) have stepped down from their roles after many years of service to the club. Also, Mike Lane stepped down chairman after nearly 5 years in the role. The AGM will see the vacant role filled. The EGM saw James King voted in as treasurer and myself voted in as the club chairman. Since my appointment Tracy Kennish has done a great job of handling a lot of news updates to the website that I previously did and publicity work, taking over from Steve.
Membership and Fivergate
Early in the year saw an incident that came to be affectionately known as ‘fivergate’, when the committee took the decision to raise membership prices by £5. The committee took this decision after England Athletics increased the affiliation fees further, which have risen from £5 to £13 since 2012 as well as helping to cover the cost of training a large number of LiRF leaders. The committee received some strongly worded emails and demands from one club member, who took to Facebook to air their views. It was reassuring to read all the comments on the Facebook group with all but a few members passionately defending the committee about their feelings on the matter and the value they get from the club.
The club’s membership still represents great value for money and is similar to other local (non-track) running clubs. Membership prices will continued to be reviewed and any future decisions communicated out in good time. It’s important to remember that the committee have families and full time jobs and try to act in the best interests of the club at all times. The committee may not always get it right, but should be treated with respect. A separate update on club finances will be given by James.
My role of club chair is challenging at times, but is made easier thanks to the hard work put in by the rest of the committee. Countless hours each week are spent behind the scenes helping drive the club forward. We’re also fortunate to have lots of fantastic club members that are prepared to give up their time to help from volunteering at club races, leading groups, organising cross country teams and race leagues. I feel very proud to be part of such a friendly, inclusive club.
Award Winning Club
It was also great for the club’s efforts to be recognised by picking up a ‘Community Sports Award’ and also a nomination (but no win unfortunately) for a ‘Club of the Year’ award.
The club Facebook group has grown considerably over the years. There are questions raised each year about safety and the large number of members on the group. I’ve written up a report that aims to clear up some of these questions and concerns and offers some practical advice. Please have a read and get in touch if you still have any concerns or thoughts on the subject.
I look forward to seeing the club develop even further in 2017. There are lots of exciting things on the horizon, from the full opening of the new leisure centre and more LiRF leaders to our first hosting of a cross country league race and an upcoming club standards award scheme for members to work toward. More will be revealed in due course!
2016 in numbers:
- 2: Qualified CiRF coaches (plus 1 in progress!)
- 3: 5-10K programmes completed
- 4: Couch to 5K programmes completed
- 5: Mental health ambassadors
- 38: The number of qualified LiRF leaders and guide runners
- 72: The record number of BPJs during Spring marathon training
- 148: The number of club members that ran the Worcester 10K
- 420: The number of paid-up members
- 1455: The number of Facebook group members
- 4378: The amount of pounds given to charitable causes from club events in the past financial year (Wild One and Croome)
Stay safe and enjoy your running. I hope you all achieve the goals you set yourselves for 2017.