Chairman's annual report

Paul Evans
Posted by Paul Evans
Monday 21st November 2022 6:45pm

Dear members,

Please find the annual chairman’s 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 numbers steadily increasing following a large drop during the pandemic. There have been lots of new exciting things that have taken place or started over the last year.

Wednesday track nights

Wednesday track nights have become one of the most popular club runs of the week. They started up just before last year’s AGM and have gone from strength to strength.

Free for members of all abilities (representing even more value for money for the membership fees), each week there’s a structured session of sprints/intervals/efforts to help improve your running ability and vary your training - or you can use the track to follow your own session.

Thanks to Chris Attwood who started and co-ordinates the track nights, numbers have reached 60+ some weeks and it’s been really great to see a wide range of abilities taking part and encouraging each other round. The track offers a safe, floodlit place to train without having to worry about traffic.

Chris also organised qualified fitness coaches to lead sessions at the track: Mark Thomas (Sweetspot Training) earlier in the year and more recently Dan Geisler (@Club_coaction). Thank you to them for helping the club - just last week Dan was standing in the pouring rain motivating everyone! Come and give it a go, you won’t regret it - Wednesdays 7pm at Nunnery Wood track.

New club kit

Late last year we put out a survey to members to assess whether there was enough interest in a refresh of our club kit. Although there was a sizable interest in a completely new design, there was equally a lot of reservation about changing it. In the end, we took the decision to keep the current design but move to Scimitar to gain lots of improvements to our current kit, while retaining our club’s identity:

  • Stripes printed through sublimated printing. No seams = no chafing.
  • Vented panels down the sides to increase ventilation.
  • Worcester printed on the rear to celebrate our home city.
  • Separate mens and womens options for a better fit and increased comfort.
  • Improved material using fully recycled 140gsm aerolite polyester.

I’m really happy we made the change. Feedback has been very positive and demand has been high - even though we ordered what should have been technically enough for a couple of years on top of pre-orders, orders have been flying in so we’ve had to put another big order in. Next year I hope we can talk with Scimitar regarding even more kit ranges.

Thank you to Avril Munday for managing the kit, which has been more demanding this year with the new supply. Avril has been regularly arranging to get last minute kit orders to members in time for races. Please try and help her out and order your kit in good time if you can!

Track and field league

Another new venture for the club this year was our participation in the Midlands Veterans Track and Field League.. Following the success of our track nights there was considerable interest in taking part in some competitive track events.

I put the idea forward late last year to join the league. I was nervous about whether there'd be enough interest and whether it would go smoothly.

Considering we're not a 'proper' track and field club, we did great! The club finished 4th out of a total 8 clubs. Really proud of all the members that took part for stepping outside their comfort zone and giving it a great go. Although it was mostly about taking part and being inclusive, it's been nice to have the competitive aspect, seeing members fill in events to get extra points and give the other teams a run for their money.

It wasn’t just the running events, we had members take part in jumping and throwing events with some laughing how they hadn’t given those a go since school!

The final fixture on home turf (Nunnery Wood track) was a great finale to our first season in the league. It was nice to see other club members, friends and family come along to support the team.

I'd like to say a big thank you to Peter Darwen for assisting with manager duties. Thanks to Steve Jones too for stepping in and helping as well, especially in the 3rd fixture and to those that officiated and assisted.

Steve Jones and Di Fox have kindly volunteered to take on the team manager roles going forward, taking over from me and Peter Darwen. I look forward to supporting them and seeing how we get on next season.

Social events

Our events coordinator Claire Shacklock has done a great job helping the club get back to a regular calendar of social events. Demand for social events is slowly returning to normal following the pandemic. Over the last year we’ve seen a range of events from meals out, to summer balls and axe throwing!

Also thanks to Gareth Jones for organising a series of events and challenges including British Bake Off and Eurovision themed challenges! There has been some lovely feedback that it has kept members who haven’t been able to run to still feel connected with the club.

New College running club

Our outreach club for visually impaired runners is thriving thanks to our coordinators Mat Capel and Ann Hewlett along with their group of dedicated volunteers. This is a really special thing that the club does and it relies heavily on having enough guide runners. If you’re able to help out, even if it's occasionally please get in touch.

Group leaders and volunteers

As always, the club wouldn’t be able to function without the amazing group leaders. Thanks to all those that help make the club what it is today. It’s been nice to see some new faces in the group leader community. It really isn’t that scary leading a group, so if you fancy giving it a go, let us know.

Champions league

It’s been great to see the champions league back up and running. In 2020 I was set to be the coordinator, with some new additions to the fixtures and a new spreadsheet to make the administration easier. We only got a couple of events in when the pandemic put a stop to it.

Peter Darwen kindly stepped in to run the league this year and has done a sterling job of getting the updated results out promptly. It’s encouraged members to try new events and encourage some healthy competition.

Well done to Ally Walker who won the women’s league and Rob Bowery who retained his top spot after his win in 2019 (the last time the league ran). We’ll be presenting prizes at this year’s Christmas party.

Mat and Lucy Capel will be taking over from running the league next year. They will share more in due course, but from some of the ideas they’ve shared with me already, I’m excited to see what they have planned.

parkrun tourism

A big thank you to Peter Darwen for all the time and effort he's put into growing the Black Pear Joggers parkrun tourism community over the last 5 years. I know he likes his data and statistics, so I thought I'd crunch some numbers to visualise how it's grown over the years:

Great work Peter. It's difficult as the ‘NENDYs’ (Google it if you’ve never heard the term!) get further away and Covid put the brakes on parkruns in general, but it's been great to see many of you sharing your parkrun travel plans, post-parkrun reports/photos and growing the sub-group to what it is today.

As well as the champions league, Mat and Lucy Capel will also be taking over from Peter Darwen promoting parkrun tourism. I’m hoping they can inspire the next wave of BPJ tourists.

There is a separate BPJ parkrun Tourist Facebook group that you may not be aware of where members share their travel plans and experiences at different events.

Club standards awards

Jonathan Phillips will be taking on the administration and promotion of the club standards award scheme after kindly volunteering to take it on. I have been doing this over the last few years but struggled to dedicate the time it deserves. This is a great scheme the club offers to help motivate members and set targets that most other clubs don’t offer.

The committee

The following current committee members will be standing again in the same roles. This includes me! I’m more than happy to hand over the reins if there’s any members that want to become the club chair, but in the meantime I’ll do my best to serve the needs of the club and support the committee.

  • Paul Evans: Chairman and webmaster
  • Lorraine Griffiths: Club secretary and women’s cross country team captain
  • Claire Shacklock: Race director and events co-ordinator
  • Ruth Bennett: Welfare officer (female)
  • Stuart Parker: Welfare officer (male)
  • Avril Munday: Kit secretary
  • Gay Grove: Committee member (returning back to help after a period away supporting at various Covid/NHS roles)
  • Steve McNelis: Membership secretary
  • Stuart Munday: Group leader co-ordinator and vice chair
  • Chris Attwood: Men's cross country team captain and track coordinator

Farewell to Michelle

I’d like to say a massive thank you to Michelle Kimberley who has stepped down after 4 years as our treasurer. Michelle has done a fantastic job keeping track of club finances, paying all our suppliers and charities and weighing in on other important club matters.

A new treasurer

Jo Evans who currently sits on the committee and has supported the club in a variety of roles over the last decade has put herself forward to take on the treasurer role. We will officially vote the treasurer role in at the AGM. I really appreciate Jo’s support and continued commitment to the club.

Sunday coordinator

Jo has stepped down from her role as Sunday run co-ordinator after doing this for the last few marathon training plans so up until recently we have been looking for someone to take this on. Jo and the other volunteers did a fantastic job of ensuring there were water, sweets and routes available each week.

Gareth Larner who regularly leads a group on Mondays has kindly volunteered to take on the Sunday run coordinator role so this will be voted on at the AGM. Jo and I will sit down with him ready for the Spring marathon training programme - I’ve already briefly spoken with him and he has some great ideas to add some variety to the programme.

Additional committee support

The final personnel update is that we had had Kirsten Beard and Andy Cartwright come forward offering to help the club and committee, so they will both be proposed at the AGM to join the committee as general committee members and support various club developments.

The committee members do a sterling job of balancing the duties expected of their role with more general committee matters alongside their personal and work lives, so it will be nice to help share the workload and bring in fresh ideas and perspectives.

Cross country

Our club captains Chris Attwood and Lorraine Griffiths have done a sterling job yet again and it’s been lovely to see that a wide range of abilities are taking part and enjoying the great camaraderie and team spirit. If you’ve not taken part, you’ve only missed one meeting, so come and give it a go!

What’s next

A lot of what’s mentioned above gives a good overview of things going on next year. I’m mainly looking forward to the continued return to ‘normal’ activities and encouraging members that may have lost their motivation. If there’s anything you think the club is missing and have an interest in helping out with anything, please let me know.

Wishing you all an enjoyable experience with the club over the next year and beyond.

Paul Evans
Club chairman
Black Pear Joggers