Riverside Runners Chairman's Report 2017

Well, this time last year I didn’t expect to be here today in the position of Chairman, but now that I am I have to say that I’m actually rather enjoying it. I especially feel proud to be the Chairman of a club that my Dad was a founding member 30 years ago and is now one of the five honorary members. 

Over the past few months we’ve had some new additions to the coaching team. Whilst the coaches are available to support all our members they are integral to the development of our juniors. Quite simply we wouldn’t have a junior section without them, so many thanks to all the coaches and helpers for giving their time. They are evidently doing a super job, with many Riverside juniors topping local fun run results, obtaining a creditable third place in the Junior Frostbite League and with several of last year’s juniors making a successful transition to the seniors. 

I’d also like to thank Alan Turnbull who has been doing an excellent job setting up the Tuesday speedwork sessions, along with his brother Ian. Come rain or shine the sessions are organised, varied and importantly suitable for all. If you’ve not been, come along, you might like it! You'll certainly improve your running. 

Throughout the year we’ve seen some excellent individual and team achievements with many of these being recognised and rewarded either with a Star of the Month award or at the annual Presentation evening. Hopefully seeing or hearing about these has inspired more of you to get involved in the Club Championship or take part in other events. 

Our Charity10K race once again raised a significant amount for the Club’s nominated charities; the UpsideDownClub and Macmillan both received £1476.57 and the St Neots 1st Scouts £664. 

Our Half Marathon remains extremely popular and the partnership with NiceTri Events is working well. This is our flagship event and helps keep the Club’s finances healthy.  

The beginners course was also a great success during 2016. Here's hoping that 2017 also brings some equally enthusiastic new members. 

The success of these events is down to you, the members, so many thanks to all of you who have volunteered or helped in any capacity throughout the year. 

So, in its 30th year the club is still going strong. Riverside Runners is a great community club; very welcoming to all, providing encouragement and support, with coaching available for runners improvement and a friendly social environment to enjoy. When you join Riverside Runners you are making friends for life. 

As you know, Club Captain Keith Pritchard is standing down. I would like to thank him for all his hard work over the past few years, he’s been an excellent Captain and from a personal perspective incredibly supportive. Darren and Natalie are also standing down, they have been valued Committee Members and along with Keith I know they’ll remain active, valued members of the Club. 

It just leaves me to thank Keith, Malcolm, Clare, Darren, Natalie and Karen for their support on the Committee and I look forward to welcoming the new Committee members on board.

Read the Secretary's report here.  Read the AGM Minutes here.


Riverside Runners Chairman's Report 2016

2015 has been a year of progress for Riverside Runners. We nudged above 200 senior members for the first time in many years and the junior section runs at capacity for most of the year. We welcomed 45 new senior members to the club during 2015 and looking at the list of names, not only have the vast majority re-joined in 2016, many of them have become very active members of the club.

We also welcomed a new website. As someone who makes a living in the IT industry I understand the complexities of an undertaking such as this and would like to thank Sam Windebank and Helen Liddle for collating the club’s requirements and Kyle Chesterman for delivering them. A website remains the first point of contact for most people new to the club and the new site gives a modern and professional first impression of Riverside Runners. It also provides a much needed portal to the club’s Facebook page and includes those who don’t have an account of their own in much of the club chat and news which until then they had missed out on.

On the running side, it was great to see two teams competing in the round Norfolk Relay, some fantastic individual and team performances in the Frostbite League and many others besides.

Feedback on the reformatted club championship has been very positive. Separate short and long distance championships increase the appeal and outright and age-graded championships mean everyone should have something to race for and someone to race against. While the timing and age grade calculations remain a dark art to many, the format of the club championship is simple: turn up, run hard, get a medal at next year’s presentation do. Please get involved!

The club 10K continues to grow and enjoyed a record entry again last year. Our mission remains to use this event as an accessible race for the town of St Neots and to support local and club charities with the proceeds. Last year we donated £2,700 to the Woodlands Centre at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, £324 to 1st St Neots Scout Group and £50 to the Pightle fund.

The Half Marathon was again successful despite the worst efforts of the November weather. The new start and finish area was a vast improvement on the old and feedback from runners was overwhelmingly positive. Nicetri Events and Riverside Runners met to review the event and both agreed that we would like more marshals from Riverside Runners. One of the selling points of the event has been the fantastic support and encouragement from the marshals and at points on the course this was lacking last year. We will be asking for more Riverside marshals to support the event this year to fix this. To reiterate – the Half Marathon remains a Riverside Runners event which is now organised by Nicetri Events. The continued success of the event will have a big effect on the finances of Riverside Runners and reputation both Riverside and Nicetri Events so we urge all members to do what they can to support the race.

A review of 2015 would not be complete without noting the sad and untimely passing of Adrian Jarvis, my predecessor as club chairman and a longstanding member and supporter of the club and our sport. I can’t say any better what Helen said earlier, but it is worth repeating: He will be sadly missed by all of us that knew him.

Three members of the committee are standing down this year and I would like to thank them for their contribution: Jo Lusha, Annabel Thompson and John Willcock. Happily the remaining committee members: Sam Windebank, Helen Liddle, Malcolm Pritchard, and Karen Roper are staying on and I look forward to working with them and the new committee members in the year ahead.

When I describe Riverside Runners I usually call us a community running club. To elaborate on that I explain that we welcome everyone regardless of their running goals, their fitness or their ability and support each other in achieving our goals. Normally tripe like that is attached to the mission statement of a large corporation but for Riverside Runners it genuinely rings true. As a club we have a great team spirit and whether it is making sure no one gets left behind on the Wednesday Grafham runs, or punching above our weight against bigger clubs in team competitions, Riverside Runners is a great club to be a part of. You, the membership make Riverside what it is so thank you for that.

Read the Secretary's report here. Read the AGM Minutes here.


Riverside Runners Chairman's Report 2015

I usually begin my review of the year by looking through what was said last year. For the 2014 report I noted amongst other things that Riverside Runners’ membership continues to thrive, we have a healthy bank balance, a wide program of races, two teams entered into the Round Norfolk Relay, and that winter saw the juniors take second place in the Frostbite league and the seniors fourth.

While much of that report remains true again this year, those last two points sum up the past year for me – on the positive side I am pleased to report that both juniors and seniors improved to take first place and third place respectively in the Frostbite and that participation was up, but on the downside we struggled to get one team together for the Round Norfolk Relay last September.

The Round Norfolk Relay concerned me especially as it is a genuinely special event. How many runners have seen an owl fly last them during a race? Round Norfolk Relay, Stage 12, 2013 (the following year I saw a rat, but that doesn’t sell it quite the same!). Wildlife aside, I’ve never seen a runner give anything less than 100% when he or she has a baton in their hand and it seemed a shame that so many Riversiders were missing out on the experience. This year Keith Pritchard will be captaining the team and he already has large number of runners interested so I hope our 2014 effort was a glitch rather than the start of a trend in our participation in this race.

The Riverside 10K took place again last August and built on the success of the first two runnings. Helped again by the weather, the club put on a successful event. In its first three years we have raised over £8,000 for the Hunts Post New Life Appeal which is something that we as a club can be extremely proud of.

The Half marathon was another great success and a big thank you to everyone who assisted with the running of the race in any way. In the run up to race day, we did experience difficulties in our dealings with both the police and the council, who seemed at times to take the view that the only safe race was one which wasn’t happening. Happily, our persistence prevailed and the race took place as planned, but these challenges did make the decision easier to hand over the running of the race to Nicetri Events. The demands of a big race such as the Half Marathon are perhaps better suited to a professional company than a team of volunteers in the modern era, and with this in mind we wish Keith and his team every success and urge every Riversider to continue to support the event as you have done in previous years.

Once again I would like to thank the committee for their support and hard work throughout the year. Dan Leahy is standing down as Captain and I would like to thank him for his enthusiasm and encouragement. Jo Lusha has been ever efficient as Treasurer and is now handing over the purse strings, but happily for us will be remaining on the committee. Kurt too is standing down. I would especially like to thank Kurt for halving the average age of the committee, and bringing to the table an invaluable blend of youthful perspective and mature outlook. Thank you also to Helen, John, Sam, Karen and Annabel.

Read the Secretary's report here.  Read the AGM Minutes here.


Riverside Runners Chairman's Report 2014

Riverside Runners begins its 27th year in a strong position. Membership continues to thrive in both the senior and junior sections, we have a healthy bank balance, a wide program of races, a successful club trip to the Snowdon Marathon and social events which are well attended.

The past year has been typical for the club, with spring marathons ever popular, summer social runs, and two teams entered into the Round Norfolk Relay in the autumn. Winter saw the juniors take second place in the Frostbite league and the seniors fourth.

While the numbers of Riversiders running in the Frostbite league overall was about the same as previous years, it remains a concern that these and many other races are not well supported. In particular the Club Championship is contested by very few runners, and many talented juniors are not showcasing their ability in races. It remains a challenge to encourage new members into racing and retain the enthusiasm of experienced members. The committee would like your feedback on how best to make this happen.

The Half marathon was a huge success again this year, selling out in under 24 hours and delivering the great experience that runners from near and far have come to expect from the Riverside Half. Marshals as always are singled out for praise, but thanks also to the Half Marathon committee – Helen, Barbara and Mick Reading, Karen Hosking, Jo Lusha and Dr Dave.

The Riverside 10K took place for the second time over the summer. Although numbers were down slightly on the inaugural running of the race, it continues to develop and provides an accessible local race for casual and club runners alike. As well as raising the profile of the club in the town, it raises funds for the Special Care Baby Unit at Hinchingbrooke Hospital. The 10K will take place again this summer and we aim in time to match the success of the Half marathon.

Many Riversiders have joined Nicetri and are enjoying the new challenges that Triathlon offers. Many Nicetri members have also joined Riverside and are benefitting from training and running with our club. The relationship between the clubs has on occasion caused concerns with some activities creating a conflict for some members. The policy of the Riverside committee is to work with Nicetri to complement our activities for the benefit of all members and both clubs.

I would like to thank the committee for their support which has made my year as Chairman a smooth one and the role for me personally a rewarding one. Riverside Runners is no more than the sum of its members, and whether marshalling the Half Marathon in November, or turning out every Thursday to coach the juniors, we are fortunate to have a large pool of volunteers who can give up a little or a lot of their time to ensure their club continues to thrive. Some roles are high profile, while others would only be noticed if someone wasn't in the background making sure they happen. We all have busy lives and the time and commitment our members show to Riverside Runners is vital to the running of the club and the future of our sport.

Read the Secretary's report here.  Read the AGM Minutes here.


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