Chairmans report 2015/16
This report being my first is for the year ending 19th October 2016
My tenure began after a contested election and in my view was good for club democracy working as it should and it left me deeply honored to represent you all but also respectful of Nick Brown for offering to do likewise, not an offer to be taken lightly.
Nick continues to serve the club by offering a more technical and structured session at the track on Mondays, this has over the last few years contributed towards making the club a well rounded vehicle to running improvement.
As running is what the club is mostly about I will endeavor to do justice to as many of the achievements its members have enjoyed as I can. Hastings Runners has always been in the forefront of the local community and it’s association with St Michaels Hospice continues year on year punctuated by the sterling efforts of those like Nigel Thorley and his daily 10k leading up to Christmas ending in a full marathon.
If that wasn’t enough later in the year Nigel put together a team to break the Guinness world record for a conga no less which added further to a sizable donation to this noble cause.
The hospice is also the beneficiary for the club sponsored Kieth Chandler Memorial 5 mile and this year saw all records broken for numbers running and subsequent size of the cheque presented, a staggering £5000. Whilst many members are fully involved on the day I must pay tribute to Tony Demarco, Mary Chantler, Victor Froehlke and Terry Kitson for the preparation and execution of what is a now a major event in the south east.
I apologize to the many others too numerous to mention. I am well aware of so many individuals who run for a variety of worthy causes throughout the year we all know who they are and appreciate the effort they make for the good of others
Hastings Bonfire celebrations continue to be set off by a small but select group (many of whom are newish members) aided this year by Nick Webb our thanks to him for this, it is another opportunity to promote the club in a positive light.
No mention of Hastings Runners in the community could be without the annual Half marathon which continues to be smoothly organized by Eric and the Hastings Lions. A special congratulations to Eric on receiving the community award recently a thoroughly justified honor. This years Half saw very fine 149 runners from the club take part with many others helping before and during the race. We are proud of this race and strive to support Eric in making it the high ranking race that it is.
Whilst Parkrun is not strictly a HR event it is none the less dependant on the many member volunteers from the club and our thanks must go to principally Nick and Helen Brown and all those involved again too numerous to mention who provide this springboard to a more healthy and rewarding lifestyle. We are well aware of how this has played such an important part in the growth of the club.
Earlier this month saw the culmination of what I am sure will become a world renowned and epic achievement in running. I refer to Ben Smiths 401 marathons in as many days. It was not surprising but still heartwarming to see so many members support Ben in this most arduous of challenges.
Our members running continues to take many of us far and worldwide and again at the risk of being invidious I mention Matt Edmunds who may well have earned more air miles than any of us but also Richard and Louise Coates, Andy Bashford and his Cyprus team plus the usual contingent who travelled to Grysloke to name but a few. We salute you for taking our motto literally around the world.
The club championship continues to dominate our running calendar and our thanks must go to Paul Sargent who has compiled the target times and points awarded for the various categories for some years now and is standing down. At the time of writing we still need to find a replacement for Paul and whoever that may be should be encouraged to know that technology moves on a pace and I am confident the work load can be reduced.
Club only races form the backbone of the championship and this year has seen a marked increase in participation. Over 60 at the Brenda Boyle pier to pier, nearly 100 at the handicap 5k and latterly 93 running in one way or another in the Rye to Hastings race. So our thanks must go out to all those involved in making these so successful. Chief Marshal Terry Kitson assisted by Maria Trottman make these races safe and smoothly run whilst integrated with the general public with whom we share the race courses. Registration and time keepers Mary, Vic, Jill, Corrina and Steph who are often helped by others also deserve our thanks as do all those that volunteer to marshal. It is pleasing to note that in the main the introduction of the 200 points system has been successful in gathering a wider number of marshals. The newly introduced electronic timing system is very much in its early stage but I am confident this will be a major step forward in easing the pressure on speedy race results and recording. At this point I must thank our IT technicians Kim and especially Anthony for continuing to help the club in an area many of us are completely lost in.
This leads me to pay tribute to all those who excelled over the past year whether it be that 5k PB or a grueling 50 miler over the Sussex downs. To be honest this tribute is in fact to you all, as members, you have excelled in your own way and your fellow runners salute you. I am deliberately leaving out any particular achievers as it is best left to the presentation evening to applaud your efforts. No race is complete without prizes or in our club races trophies I cant say enough how much of a relief it is to have Natasha take on the responsibility of retrieving and engraving of the aforesaid awards its not without its hiccups it must be said but then who wants to give up a well earned trophy!
The selection of what races constitute the Club Championship continues to need our scrutiny with some attracting very few runners we need to be constantly seeking better alternatives, a matter that will soon need redressing next month. In the main though members take on these races with admirable enthusiasm and eagerly await its outcome early next year.
Several of our members also actively pursue involvement in the Sussex grand Prix and our thanks go to Kim Callow for his encouragement in this. Many of our members especially the more senior ones if I can put it that way continue to do well in their age categories in SGP, a feature also found in the cross country (ESSCCL) fixtures where a healthy increase in participation last winter saw the club come 6th in the team event. It was an expression of the renewed enthusiasm for cross country that saw a staggering 216 run at our own event held at Pett, my personal thanks to all those that made that a well received fixture that also included the prize giving.
It is at such race meetings that I get the chance to chat to other club representatives and I am so often witness to praise for the club for its strength and enthusiasm. The main reason for this comes from the very core of what we stand for, we all work for the common good of the club whether it be for organizing social events or large race meetings and most certainly includes the day to day running of the club. This brings me on to note with appreciation all the hard work the coaches and committee put in to make this club tick
There are I am sure very few running clubs that can offer its members so many opportunities to run or walk on or off road any day of the week, sometimes more than once a day. In addition we have seen Tuesday nights in the summer develop into a wide range of available runs, it was not so long ago Tuesday was off road only but now with a regular contingent of coaches attending Horntye members have a much wider choice. I must also thank Mary, Vic, Geoff and many others who keep the walking group going which is such an important facet for members who just want to keep in contact or take it easy during recovery from injury. All this would not be possible without a dedicated team of coaches and assistants. Our thanks then to Davinia, Jenna, Cassie, Corrina, Sylvia, Hannah, Steph, Nick’s Webb and Brown, Nigel, Andy, Mike, Kim, Steve Willis and Terry with special thanks to Steve Uzzel for taking on the role of head coach which has helped me enormously and relieved Steph of the role of rota compilation. My thanks also to retiring coaches Morag, Cale ( I know he will be back sometime) and Martin for their past input along with many others who take the lead in offering extra runs on a Friday or Sunday particularly Tony Demarco, Anthony Gardner and Paul Cooper. The latter two being partly responsible for a healthy increase in interest for the longer off road run. Only a few years ago it was largely Paul and Mike who indulged in the likes of South Downs Marathon and Gatliff but now many more are taking to the ultra distance even relatively new members as was demonstrated at this years Anderson Amble, on which point I must thank Davinia for taking on the organization of this event which offers a wonderful day out over the south downs. I would also thank the likes of Colin Wood, Mickey Johnson and Gary Lancaster for stepping in to help out on various occasions, Tuesdays off road and Shearbarn in particular.
As mentioned before the committee is instrumental in keeping the club running as smoothly as possible and I pay tribute to Steph, for amongst many other tasks putting together the all important monthly agendas, overseeing EA affiliation etc etc. Corrina always able to step in when I cannot make a meeting and someone to sound off if looking for advice, Sarah for her priceless minute taking, Rob for his careful attention to our finances and also organizing transport for Pier to pier, Rye to Hastings and London Marathon. Mary continues to preside over the all important membership a task that so often throws up problems as we still get used to the largely electronic renewal system. Lastly but not least Mike, who thanks to an inspired move by our previous President Paul Cabban, was elected to take on this role which puts a more official status to what effectively is my right hand man. Therefore my particular thanks to Mike for allowing me to take on the chair without any interference but crucially there in the wings so to speak, stepping in when I am unable to make a Tuesday or Wednesday and prompting me when an oversight was most likely, proving two old heads are better than one!
Following on from that I wish to record my thanks to Paul Cabban and his past contribution to the clubs well being as President, naturally he continues to be there for us and is again someone I can turn to for advice.
One could say Hastings Runners need little encouragement to socialize but none the less social secretary Andy Bashford deserves our thanks for putting together another great presentation night also thanks to Arianne Callow for organizing the food. Thanks also to the two Tonys Demarco and Naylor for the quiz nights we have after all to exercise our grey cells as well as calves and quads! Also thank you to John and Jen Wright for another teasing treasure hunt.
Social media continues to play an ever increasing role in our club communication. I feel I must say at this point that in the main it does enhance a social network largely dedicated to running and the improvement to health and fitness however it is not always positive and urge those using it to remember that as it is a Hastings Runners facebook page with many more using it than are members any negative or indeed distasteful posts will only bring our club into disrepute and paint a false picture of what we really stand for.
Our website is continually improving and our thanks to Anthony for that it is fast becoming a fountain of knowledge for our members but I must emphasize can only continue with such improvement if members use it and help provide its content.
This year saw much more coverage in the press and we have Simon Linklater to thank for that, it is another reason I am sure we enjoy a high standing in the community where potential members are encouraged to join.
At this point as I near the end of my report I must apologize if I have omitted anyone who deserves our thanks or notable achievements by anyone, in my defense the sheer scale of summing up the achievements of this extraordinary club is testing my literary skills beyond reason
In conclusion I would wish to record that my first year has been overshadowed in many ways by the deep sense of loss the club has endured when Sue Hall was so cruelly taken from us. Sue worked tirelessly for the club as well as being a keen participant in its activities and whilst I was unable to be with you at the time it was of little surprise to be told of how the membership reacted. Tributes from so many stands as testament to the high esteem Sue was held as a contributor to the club’s well being and also a friend to all who knew her. The reason I conclude my report in this way is because I can think of no better way of summing up the spirit and good will within the club, a club that I am extremely honored to a part of.
I commend this report for your endorsement.