First of all, a Very Happy New Year to you all and thank you very much for being such a fabulous club to be part of.
Before we move on into this new year, and hopefully in time a much better one, I think we should thank some of our members who have stood out this year by keeping the club as vibrant and engaged as possible. But before I do I think we should remember those in the club who have been affected in 2020 by Covid, whether personally or family and friends who have. I know we have members who have been and some who are finding it difficult getting over it, I truly hope those that have been can move forward and get back to some semblance of normality as soon as possible. A few of our members are engaged on front line duties dealing directly with Covid and others who have continued to provide essential services, words are difficult to find to show our depth of gratitude to each of you but you will be stars for ever in our hearts.
For our members and from memory I would like to begin by thanking Caroline Wood (club secretary) and Mark O’Gara (treasurer) who have worked with me in the background supporting members and initiatives to keep the club moving forward as best we could. Even though most of this work isn’t seen, without their resolve I don’t think we could have continued with anywhere near as much as we have.
I mustn’t forget Jenny Hughes (membership secretary). Jenny has met several potential new members prior to her own training in the parks and provided them with the information about our club. Hopefully once we get a little bit of normality back, we can ramp these up and continue our history as a very welcoming club.
Our coaches have played a superb part in providing sessions at Withdean and the parks during 2020 and provided this to as many people as we are allowed. So many thanks to Mark Stephenson and Tara Shanahan who have put on excellent coaching sessions in the parks and at Withdean. The sessions at Withdean have been ably supported by our assistance coaches Dani Tarleton, Katie Wright, Jenny Hughes, Mark Brocklehurst and back to work Marc Bonaldi. I would though like to give special thanks to Dani and Katie who have been in attendance at Withdean running their own groups, imparting useful knowledge and giving the warm up. Dani and Katie were thrown in at the deep end so we could increase numbers in attendance whilst maintaining the Covid protocols. They also set sessions themselves which has been a plus as it has given the club greater flexibility in coaching. Michelle Saunders one of our coaches has had an awful year through injury/operation and I know has missed being at the track with us, hopefully she will be back amongst us very soon.
A very popular social interaction has been put on several times in the form of a quiz by Steve McNealy and Shawn Buck. The feedback from these zoom quizzes has been first class and hopefully they will continue. Social media in the written form is great but can be difficult to get the true meaning over but with visibility on zoom calls it provides that much needed extra dimension. The winner of the quiz isn’t important and not why they are put on, it’s the visual engagement that is the win-win for all in attendance. Great work indeed.
Teo van Well has maintained his diligence in updating the results and records for those races that count and we have had some excellent strides forward by members during the limited year of competition. Go take a look on the website as Teo puts in a lot of work recording our year.
Many thanks to all our committee and those members who have continued to support the club last year through their actions and I know without them we just wouldn’t be as buoyant as we are.
I would also like to thank all those that have kept in contact with each other either in small bubbles or their own training groups this has allowed you to keep good fitness and be ready for when races once again start up. So keep with it.
A80 AWARD FOR CLUB EXCELLENCE
Every year, as Chair, I have the opportunity to recognise and reward members who have gone above and beyond what would normally be expected. It isn’t often I get the opportunity to do this as I like to keep it special so it keeps its meaning. I’m very pleased to say that I have been spoilt in 2020 as 2 members have consistently inspired us all by the opportunities they have provided us with in order to keep us engaged with each other.
The first is Tris Sharp and the Arenatopia series of races he has put together over the months which as you may now know have just been completed for 2020. No 2 were the same and each provided us the opportunity to remain engaged with the club via social media and his special charts!! We owe Tris a great debt of gratitude for taking this on without any prompting as I know how much time it takes up, especially as he has a full-time job and family. I’m pleased to say that he has already started on this year’s series and it will provide us the opportunities once again to race virtually against other members, whilst we all wait and hope for some normality to return along with races.
The other member I would like to recognise has over the year come forward to take on and deliver fantastic work is Tara Shanahan. Tara hasn’t been as prominent on social media as Tris with his promoting of races and results but without her due diligence there wouldn’t have been any club training at Withdean or in the parks on the scale we were able to provide. Tara started early in 2020 by providing the club via Zoom a S&C evening once a week which was very well attended and appreciated by all, from this I know members had a better understanding of how and why we need to look at our flexibility and the safe way to do it. It also provided much needed contact and visibility of their running mates.
After the first lockdown and before we returned to Withdean and our weekly coaching in the parks we need a Covid officer. This was a very complex piece of week as we had to satisfy the needs of Withdean Stadium, England Athletics and Government requirements. Tara put together a top-class document which covered the protocols that satisfied the above organisations but also how we as a club could provide you, the members, a safer return to training. Along with this and for us to return to parks in greater than 6 numbers Tara provided a risk assessment which satisfied the council as well.
Along with Mark Stephenson and I who normally put sessions on in the parks Tara stepped in to run a group as well to provide added numbers. Also not forgetting taking a group at the track.
Tara also took it upon herself to set up an online payment and booking system for the track which enabled us to do away with cash and hours of managing bookings. A lot of research went into finding the correct system and a fair bit of frustration but Tara kept with it and we have a super tool for future use.
Tara and Tris, will I know say it was nothing and it was a pleasure, but I know and I’m sure you do that what they have carried out for the club in 2020 and hopefully beyond deserves our heartfelt thanks.
Keep It Safe and Fast In 2021
Bob Page (Chair)