Chairman’s report on 2017

Chairman’s report 2017

Yet again, another great year for the club as we continue to grow and develop. Our most notable achievement this year was the successful launch of our first ever Half Marathon. Unless you have been involved in such a venture, it may be difficult to grasp how much work went into preparing this event. The Race Committee, ably led by Alex Penny and Lucy Price, met on numerous occasions to plough through the plethora of organisational requirements and regulations and eventually put on a great event. We were helped, in no small part, by the tremendous support of the many club members who volunteered to help with everything from registration, to car parking and marshalling. It was very well received by those who took part, and, as we sold out well beforehand, we have decided to increase entries to 500 in 2018. Therefore, we’ll once again be calling on you all to help and support our half marathon on May 20th.

Another highlight of the year was our second weekend trip away – this time to Bournemouth. Following the success of last year’s Liverpool outing, word had obviously got round with everyone saying what a great experience it was. So much so that over 40 club and family members met up over the weekend of 8th October – many participating in one event or another, with 10 members competing in the Half and 16 in the Full Marathon, as well as the local parkrun and 10k race. Once again, we were indebted to Alex and Laura for planning it all and we’re already considering a number of running festivals for 2018’s trip and your views on this will be sought at the AGM.

Following the talk on Mental Performance last year, we had another presentation in April – this time on Nutrition – from health & fitness expert, Allison Collier, which was attended by around 50 members. We have plans for a third presentation next spring, and would love to know if you have any topics, or even better, names of speakers, you’d like to propose. This will be another item up for discussion at the AGM.

In response to a suggestion from members, we joined the Chiltern cross-country league in October 2016,  eventually finishing a very creditable overall 6th place in a league of 21 clubs. The men’s team finished 6th; the women 9th; the seniors 6th and the vet men 8th. With this event growing in popularity within the club and now we’re regularly fielding a full team, we hope to maintain, or even improve on, our position this year – we lie 6th out of 23 teams at the time of writing, with two more meetings to come.

Once again, we continued to help the local community in pertinent ways. In 2017 we carried out our annual litter pick – this time along Welsh Lane; took part in the October River Rinse; and collected a large number of items for the Buckingham Food Bank at Christmas. Thanks go to Steve Thomson for organising all this. Not forgetting, too, that we raised over £5000 from our half marathon for Buckingham Young Carers and the refurbishment of Maids Moreton playground. Earlier this year, club members voted to donate proceeds from the 2018 Half to Willen Hospice, Alec’s Angels and Maids Moreton School.

The club now has two fully qualified coaches, with both myself and Alex successfully completing our Coach in Running Fitness course in March. I also attended two England Athletics Movement Skills workshops and a talk on nutrition organised by Leap, and completed a mentoring programme, with an EA coach giving me much useful advice on planning training sessions and programmes. Recently, thanks to Simon Hull’s prompting, I have completed a number of relevant short courses organised by the OU. (Anyone interested can access these quite easily and they’re free!) Alex and I have continued to coach, train and support club members throughout the year. A number of you have asked why we don’t put training programmes on the website. The answer is simply that training schedules should be specific to the individual – generic programmes don’t take into account such things as your current level of fitness, the time you have available, and your personal goals, not to mention the need to adapt the sessions as you improve (or not!). So, if you want a training programme or help with running technique etc., you simply have to ask and you’ll get a highly personalised one! When it comes to running marathons for example, you won’t find anyone better than Alex to ask for advice – he’s run over 130 of them and drawn up numerous plans for members.

We also continue to send interested people on the Leader in Running Fitness course. Simon Buchan gained his qualification this year, and we have another three members due to attend in the near future – Heidi Young, Emma Jenkins and Simon Hull. The more Run Leaders we have, the less onerous is the responsibility on those of us who lead club nights and consequently the more sessions and greater variety we can offer. Indeed, Tuesday’s Beginners and Improvers nights have become so popular, that we have had to separate the “improvers” from the true beginners and those returning from injury, with the former now meeting at Tesco rather than the Swan Pool – this would not have been possible had it not been for the extra Run Leaders we now have. Furthermore, we intend to make Tuesday nights open to all, giving members the choice of a third evening on which to run.

In July we signed a new 5 year contract with our sponsors, Rainscourt Family Law Solicitors, for which we are extremely grateful. Their financial input has meant that all members continue to get unrivalled value for their membership fee with such things as subsidised kit and free track sessions and not having to pay to participate in the cross country league.

We’ve had a number of social events with several ubiquitous pub nights, a Chinese meal, Christmas Dinner and Quiz Night – the latter raising over £750 and our thanks go to Laura for organising this.

Regretfully, Lucy Price resigned from the Committee in November as family commitments made it hard for her to attend meetings. She has been a great asset to the club and we have certainly benefitted from her thoughtful, considered opinion. Hopefully Lucy will continue to contribute to the club, especially as a key member of the Race Committee. On behalf of the club, I would like to thank Lucy for all her hard work and commitment over the past 4 years.

We recently reached another milestone when our 150th member joined this December – our highest ever.  As I said in last year’s report, a key reason for this growth in numbers is the friendly, welcoming atmosphere evident on club nights and the way in which our members are extremely supportive of and encouraging to each other. This is something which many new members comment on. It is vitally important that we don’t lose this ethos. Our priority is not, and never will be, to increase membership, but rather to ensure that people enjoy and gain from the experience of being a club member.

Whilst we should again be proud of what we have achieved this year, we don’t plan to rest on our laurels and the committee are always keen to hear ideas from our members. So please come along and have your say at the AGM. As with any organisation, a club is only as good as its members and I trust you will continue to motivate and inspire each other. Once again I look forward to seeing every one of you achieving something inspirational in 2018 that you can be proud of.

A Happy New Year to you all.

Chris Usher – Club Chairman

December 2017