Please find the annual report below, which gives an update on many areas of the club’s activities and a look back over what’s happened over the last year. The club is in a healthy place with growing numbers, lots of new exciting things that have taken place or started over the last year. A summary follows with a more detailed look below for those interested in reading more.
- Membership numbers higher than last year (496 members currently) with lots of new second claim members from other clubs
- Membership fees remain the same, absorbing a £1 rise in England Athletics fees
- Club finances healthy, new accounting system working well
- Nearly £6,000 handed over to charitable causes through club events
- Nominated charities will remain as Maggs Day Centre and Worcestershire Young Carers
- New Pitchcroft parkrun started after club funds a third of setup costs
- Last year’s Croome was a success with a record donation to the National Trust
- Some money from this year’s Croome will go to further the outreach work with visually impaired runners
- Men’s cross country team promoted to division 2 in Birmingham League
- Female cross country team record turnout and finished second in the county championships
- Champions league has been well received with one event left to run
- Nearby 100 club tops sold this year with beanie hats the latest kit addition
- Club standards awards start with 148 certificates earned by members
- Derek sets British mile category record and many club records lowered by members
- Wild One was a success at the new venue, raising just over £2,000 for charity
- Outreach programme hugely successful allowing visually impaired runners from New College to run in a safe environment
- Guide runner Wendy Cole becomes the club’s first marathon guide runner
- 5 x C25K, 3 x 5-10K programmes and numerous additional programmes (hills, parkrun improvers and efforts) put on by qualified leaders
- 106 miles completed at Magic Mile sessions
- Club mental health ambassadors focus on a range of activities for the next year
- Start of the ‘parkrun tours’ to encourage trying different parkruns
- Dan Cale completes his 100th different parkrun around the country
- Club runs running smoothly with growth in many areas, but we need to look to help more members step up and take groups to fill in when regular leaders are unavailable
- Tracy, Phil and Hazel have joined the committee since last year and James, Mike and Kazz stepped down due to other commitments
Membership is considerably up on this time last year at 496 members (at time of writing) compared to around 420. We’ve continued to see more second claim members come over from neighbouring clubs that want to take part in our club runs and receive other benefits from being part of the club, which has kept Cat extremely busy. New members have also joined after ‘graduating’ from the successful couch to 5K and 5-10K programmes led by our trained LiRF and CiRF leaders.
England Athletics have raised affiliation fees by £1 to £15/year, which will come in from April 2018. This increase will be absorbed within current membership fees, so there will be no change to BPJ membership fees when they will be due in April 2018.
This increase by England Athletics partly reflects the increased costs (including inflation) and a massive cut in funding, but also reflects a desire for investment in the sport to be maintained and, in some cases, increased. This still represents great value for money at only £1.25/month for not only the many individual benefits but to continue to fund the sport of athletics and running in this country.
A separate update on club finances will be given by treasurer Hazel Sherrington, but club finances are healthy with a sufficient reserve to be able to run the club’s activities; purchasing kit, equipment, LiRF training and organising club races and events. The move of the accounts to a new system has made things a lot easier to manage on a day to day basis by Hazel with Jenni Morris kindly taking on the role of auditing the club accounts.
The club races raised a sizeable amount for good causes, with Croome raising £3,600 for the National Trust and a total of £2,349.94 raised for the club’s nominated charities; Maggs Day Centre and Worcestershire Young Carers from last year’s Wild One along with additional money raised by selling refreshments at the cross country fixture the club hosted, selling leftover buffs and bags that were used for race mementos, the Christmas party raffle and rebate money the club received from races.
There will be no changes to the nominated charities for the next year. It’s also important to highlight the fantastic fundraising efforts that club members have done over the year, with tens of thousands raised for London ballot places and other activities. Chris Baigent-Reed has done great job of liaising with the charities allowing the committee to concentrate on the event organisation.
The club can also be proud to have voted to donate a third (£1,000) of the setup costs of the new Pitchcroft parkrun, the rest of which came from the City Council and H&W Sports Partnership. It’s another great addition to Worcester’s running community, offering a fast, flat course right on our doorstep. 185 BPJs have now taken part in the event since it started in June 2017. The event has also helped to relieve some of the congestion at the Worcester parkrun at the Countryside centre, which is now seeing around 200 less runners each week.
Croome Capability Canter
Last year’s club race the Croome Capability Canter saw a record donation to the National Trust of £3,600, which is used to help them maintain the picturesque parkland. The race was a great success with BPJs picking up prizes across the categories. Over the summer, BPJs and some of our chums from Malvern and Pershore took part in a training run around the race route. Some were greeted by a surprise sighting of the male Warwick Rowers in the middle of their naked calendar photoshoot!
This year’s race will take place on Sunday 26th November and with the continued support from members volunteering and marshaling, I’m sure it will be another success!
Some of the money raised from this year’s Croome will be used for the club’s outreach programme to further the great work helping to to get more people with visual impairments participating in running.
Last year’s cross country season was a highly successful one for the club. With a record BPJ turnout, after 4 Birmingham/Midlands League races, 4 Gloucestershire League races and 1 County Championship race, the men were promoted to Division 2 of the Birmingham League and BPJ ladies finished second in the County Championships.
The club also took their first attempt at hosting a fixture, organising the final fixture of the men’s Birmingham league with a course in Droitwich. The event went very smoothly and the club received great feedback, with participants praising the great organisation, friendly marshals and the addition of a new course. There are currently no plans to host another fixture this season, but we should look to do so again in the future to do our share for the leagues.
This year’s season has just begun, so fingers crossed for another great season and hopefully a bit more mud this time! Thanks to Chris Harris and Lorraine Griffiths for continuing to captain the teams. If you’ve never taken part, come and give it a try!
Mark Dillon has continued to run the champion’s league which has been well received. This has led to runners trying different events and adding another competitive element for those that want a challenge. With one remaining fixture (Wyre Forest parkrun on November 25th), it’s all still to play for! Mark has kindly offered to run the league again next year with the fixtures to be confirmed soon. 8 of the events will be parkruns from the parkrun tours to encourage participation in those and to ensure the league remains affordable to take part in.
Kit sales have been extremely busy with the growth in members. This year has seen Jo sell 58 vests, 39 t-shirts, 1 long-sleeved t-shirt and 20 sets of event clips sold to members.
Noel at Urban Prints has continued to support the club by taking hoodie orders directly and offering a discounted name printing service for members.
The club purchased a batch of club branded high vis vests for members to wear on dark nights if they’ve forgotten to bring theirs along. This has been effective so far, but we do need to ensure that members are regularly reminded to bring their own high vis.
The latest addition to the kit are BPJ branded beanie hats. Available in four different styles and sold at cost price, they are proving popular already going into the winter season. Jo is looking into waterproof jackets/coats, watch this space!
Club Standards Awards
The new club standards awards developed by Derek and maintained by myself have been well received, with 148 certificates awarded (58 bronze, 60 silver, 29 gold and 10 platinum). The awards offer another perk of being a club member, giving members something additional to focus on with their training. Going forward into next year we need to look at being able to make the process slicker, so certificates can be awarded more regularly after they are earned.
Races and Records
Black Pears were busy throughout the year, since January of this year, over 1,500 races were logged at 238 different UKA licensed races. The 10 most popular events among club members were:
- Worcester City 10K (121 runners)
- Worcester City Half Marathon (64 runners)
- Crowle Gunpowder Plot 10K (55 runners)
- Evesham Town 10K (48 runners)
- Virgin London Marathon (48 runners)
- Malvern Joggers 10K (43 runners)
- Pershore Plum 10K (39 runners)
- Rock ‘n’ Roll Liverpool Half Marathon (37 runners)
- Worcester Half Marathon (34 runners)
- Pendock Spring Chicken Run 10K (34 runners)
There have been some great times logged, but most notably, we now have a British record holder in the club, when Derek Jackson set the British Masters’ M65 Mile record of 5:29.40, set at the Worcester AC Open meeting in May.
New club records were set for nearly every age category in 2017 and at the new Pitchcroft parkrun, our very own Ian Radford currently holds the course record (15:49) and until recently Sophie Booth held the female course record (18:44).
The Wild One
The Wild One went successfully this year, raising £1,926.91 for nominated charities. Solo runners, pairs and teams of 5 turned up in a range of music themed fancy dress from the Spice Girls to the Beach Boys. The new venue at Old Elizabethan’s Cricket Club proved popular and we will be looking to set a date for next year at the same location. Many club members helped out on the day, marshaling for hours and helping set up and pack away all the race equipment.
Mark Dillon then organised a fun head torch 5 mile run around the Wild One route at night followed by soup with participants receiving one of the leftover Wild One medals; a great way to use the medals and raised an additional £264 for the charity pot.
Added together with the £100 rebate we got from the organisers of the Worcester City Run for the number of BPJs entered, brought the total of £2,290.91 to be split between the charities.
Although numbers were higher than last year, for next year we need to look to promote the event earlier and look at additional options to maximise attendance to ensure we raise as much as we can for the club’s nominated charities.
Outreach / Guide Running
Due to the dedication of the club’s guide runners, our New College running group has been going for over a year now. This September we moved our sessions to the track at Nunnery Wood and it has been wonderful. The students and guides have loved the move. Gone are the dark evenings struggling to negotiate pot holes, kerbs, people and dogs. We now have a lovely safe environment for the students to use and have been able to introduce different kinds of running to the students. Particular favourites so far have been relays and sprints.
We have also just heard that we have been awarded a Freedom Leisure Sports Grant of £240 to pay for 6 of our guides to be England Athletics guide runner trained and to buy us some equipment. That added to the club’s commitment to putting some profits from Croome towards paying for our students to use the track, means that we can keep offering a safe, fun, engaging club for the students.
In April this year, after months of training with our guide runners, Amy McLean-Nelson one of our New College Students ran London Marathon with Wendy Cole. It was a massive achievement for Amy who at just 18 years old was the first student at New College to run a marathon. It was also the first time a guide runner from Black Pear Joggers had guided a runner over the marathon distance – huge congratulations go to both Wendy and Amy for this achievement.
Huge thanks goes to our wonderful team of guide runners who give up their time every week to ensure the students get to run.
Since the last AGM, there have been numerous 9 week programmes aimed at taking those with no running experience to being able to run 5K and those that can run 5K to be able to run 10K. These have been very successful thanks to the LiRF/CiRF leaders that have led them, with lots of them joining the regular groups. Some past ‘graduates’ have even gone on to run marathons, which is fantastic to see!
- 4 x Monday C25K programmes (2 x January*, May and September)
- 1 x Tuesday C25K programme (September)
- 3 x Monday 5-10K programmes (January, May and September)
* One programme was part of the Freedom Leisure Sportivate scheme targeting 18-25 year old females and one was for everyone else.
Another parkrun improvers programme was kindly run by Derek Jackson & Becky Spencer, which helped runners achieve new PBs, improving their running speed and form.
Earlier in the year Neil Richards led a regular Wednesday evening hill training session and Helen Burton continues to take a Thursday night efforts sessions.
Becky Spencer completed her coaching training this year, so now joins Claire and Jo as the club’s third qualified ‘coach in running fitness’ (CiRF). The coaches introduced their first drop-in session to support Autumn Marathon Training, providing support with training plans, sessions to include in plans, running pace, nutrition and anything else members want advice on. The next drop-in session is Monday 27th November 2017.
Over a range of dates in May and then again in July, the club held some Magic Mile sessions. 106 miles were completed with many surprised at just how quickly they could actually complete the mile, surpassing their predicted times. More will be put on again next year.
Mental Health Ambassadors
The club’s mental health ambassadors are now Alison Law, James Matheson, Steve Jones, Glenn Barker and Neil Richards. After putting on a couple of ‘run and talk’ events over the year, the ambassadors have recently met up with Jo and myself to plan how best to make the role work within the club. Aiming to improve mental wellbeing through running, over the next year, more events will be organised and their visibility increased, starting with a talk in a few weeks after the riverside run on 28th November.
Also new for this year are the official ‘parkrun tours’, with the aim of getting club members to go visiting different parkruns further afield and run in their club tops. The fixtures are put on by Peter Darwen and promoted on the club website and Facebook group. This year started the tours with the inaugural Wythall parkrun. Next year 8 out of the fixtures will be league races. In October this year, BPJ Dan Cale completed his 100th different parkrun around the country at the new Pitchcroft parkrun.
Club runs have ran smoothly over the last year, with the expansion of a group going out on a Friday evening. The club continues to have a core group of committed group leaders but we need to look to expand the roster of leaders that can fill in at a range of paces, whether that is either to fill in for regular leaders that are away or take groups where there are gaps in paces available. It’s great to see a few new regular leaders step up and take groups and have found it extremely rewarding.
Mondays have remained popular with a range of pace groups on offer from jog/walk to 7:30/mile and coached programmes. The large numbers have sometimes led to some groups becoming too large. We need to look to split groups where needed to ensure safety.
Many now see Tuesday as their main club run night thanks to a good base of committed regular leaders, with regular groups from 7:45-11:30min/mile. Consistently, attracting 50-60 attendees each week. It would be good to see more groups emerging from 11:30/mile to jog/walk, especially to help those from the latest C25K group transition into the regular pace groups.
Although not an official club night, there are a handful of groups that regularly meet at Perdiswell, including Ian Hornabrook’s 11:30/mile run that sees the route stop off and sample a different drink and a different pub each week. The photo added to the Facebook group with a cryptic clue has turned it into a bit of game to guess the location and drink!
The mug run over the lighter months remains extremely popular with many staying for a drink at the pub after. Numbers drop considerably when the run moves back to Perdiswell in the autumn but a variety of pace groups are still on offer, with a regular jog/walk group. Although not officially a club run, the regular Thursday night efforts group with John Potts has remained popular with lots of BPJs attending from a range of paces. John continues to give up his time each week to help train the BPJs, many going on to set huge PBs in races.
Whilst not yet listed as an official club run the Friday runs have established a regular following for their 10min/mile single group run, with around 25 different members attending at least one run with an average turn out of about 10. Craig Yardley and Phil Miles have jointly led the group though Craig will now take sole leadership going forward.
Record numbers attending including members from Malvern Joggers, Worcester AC, Pershore Plums and Cheltenham AC joining the BPJs. Spring Marathon training saw turnouts between 70 and 115 aiming towards multiple marathons. 2017 also has offered a second full marathon schedule aiming towards the first Birmingham Marathon. Numbers have remained high between the marathon schedules typically over 50. Two start times will be introduced for the 2018 Spring Marathon Training to offer more flexibility and assist road safety. The plan is to bring on new volunteers to help the smooth running of the Sunday runs during Spring Marathon Training.
At last year’s AGM, Phil Miles and Tracy Kennish (now Tracy Kennish-Ward after the wedding of the year!) were voted onto the committee:
- Phil joined as the Tuesday and Sunday Run Leader, having co-ordinated these two club events for some time now, which have both continued to grow. Phil’s efforts saw him win ‘volunteer of the year’ at the England Athletics regional sports awards, well done Phil!
- Tracy was voted on as the club’s publicity co-ordinator. Tracy continued to put together informative news articles that were well received by members as well as helping to promote the club’s Wild One race. You can read Tracy’s previous posts on the News page on the website.
Due to work commitments, James King stepped down earlier in the year as club treasurer. Faced with a difficult task of taking over the accounts mid-year it highlighted that the accounts need to be easier to manage. I migrated the accounts to a modern online bookkeeping tool, which makes it much easier to keep on top of. Hazel Sherrington kindly stepped up and took on the role of treasurer.
Mike Lane is also no longer able to continue the social secretary role due to work and family commitments (the arrival of his daughter Jemima has ensured he has more than enough to do). We’ve taken the decision not to retain this as a separate role going forward. Instead, the club’s social calendar will include things like the Christmas party, picnics and meals after Phil’s new travelling Sunday runs, social events by members for marathon place charity fundraising meals and more.
We’d like to encourage members to step up and help organise social events. It can be as simple as picking a date and location to go out drinking, a meal out or something more elaborate. If you would like any guidance or help promoting an event, let us know.
Kazzandra Bishop will formally step down from the committee at the AGM; Kazz joined the committee as the race director for Croome but in recent years took on more of a general role assisting with club races and events. Kazz will be spending most of her time looking after baby Penny, who looks rather fetching in the “Black Pear Joggers Baby” baby grows the committee bought as a gift.
Priorities from the Clubmark club development plan include:
- To continue to roll out the registration/number gathering systems used on a Monday to other club sessions.
- To develop consistency with First Aid recording procedures throughout the club.
- To continue our programme to train more first aiders and purchase more first aid kits.
- To update and circulate the BPJ welcome pack.
Finally, the success of the club relies on the selfless volunteers that offer to give up time and put themselves out for the benefit of others. If you don’t normally help out, please consider what you can do to help, whether it’s taking a group from time to time, helping marshal at club races, putting out water for the Sunday runs, acting as back marker in a group or something else, you will find your efforts will be highly appreciated by others and ensures the regular volunteers are not overloaded and have extra support.
Thank you to all that have helped over the last year, especially the other committee members who give up a considerable amount of time each week to support the club, especially with a lot of activities that aren’t often seen or recognised.
Wishing you all enjoyable experience with the club over the next year and beyond.
Black Pear Joggers