Chairman’s report – 2021 AGM (13/07)
2020 started off with such promise for the year ahead for Croft Ambrey Running Club. We were on a high – the winning team in the 2019 summer league and in February 2020, the ladies took the title for the winter league and the men took bronze. The winter social took place at the end of February at the Corners Inn where a good time was had and prizes and trophies handed out and we were all looking forward to a year of training, races and individual and team successes.
The AGM was on Friday 13th March – all very positive and looking forward to the Leinthall Starkes and Shobdon Wood races. The following Monday, Boris announced that travel and contact with other people should be essential only and we were in full lockdown a week later.
And so began the strangest year in so many ways. But how great it is that we are runners? So many sports had to shut down completely, so while we couldn’t meet others or compete, we could still run.
Social media may not be my forte, but really we would have struggled to keep going without it. The virtual challenges in the facebook group were so important in keeping us together as a club. We all started off running on our own from our doorsteps and thank goodness we live in such a great part of the country that enabled us to run without fear of getting too close to anyone else or round and round small inner city parks. At first we had to run on our own, unless you were lucky enough to have family members who were also runners, I was grateful for the dog!
Challenges were set, such as run a five mile road race, repeat it on the same days we would have been running the Leinthall Starkes race, try and get better each time. Post your times on facebook, show everyone selfies of yourself so we can remember what we all look like! It worked really well and with each challenge there was a great club feel, despite having to keep our distance from each other.
Out of spring and into summer we gradually came out of lockdown, we were able to meet up with others, first in pairs, then running in groups of six. Gradually we could travel to run somewhere else – It was so good to be able to run on Bircher Common with friends again.
Finally, we could start training again thanks to Greg taking on the covid officer role and overcoming the hurdles which were needed to comply with the covid guidelines. It was a gradual start for everyone to feel safe and thanks are due to Ian Grafton at the National Trust for allowing us back to Croft and Wigmore school for sessions on the playing field.
The low point of the year was an email from Alice on a Sunday evening to say Dave hadn’t posted his time for the Builth and District relay, a passing thought that I hope nothing happened to him while he was out running then the heartbreaking email from Elaine the next morning to say that Dave had passed away while running in his Croft Vest.
We couldn’t go to the funeral, but we came together as a club for Dave. We ran on the Bircher time trial course in his memory and we carried on running it to try and improve our times each month on our challenging route. Finally on the anniversary of his death, we were able to run it as a group in his memory.
This year has seen so many changes to the club. Tuesday and Thursday sessions are not quite the same, we have not been back to Lucs and we are without Mike, Mark and Sue who are no longer able to commit to the club after so many years for which we are all really grateful to have had them. We have welcomed Alice and Eric to our coaching team and together with Kelly, Will, Emma and myself, the club is able to offer a range of different coaching styles, sessions and venues which I hope offers something for everyone. We have managed to secure some funding from England Athletics to put towards Kelly gaining further qualifications and hope to open up to juniors again as soon as we are able.
I can’t thank the members of Croft Ambrey Running Club enough for keeping this club going over the last year. Alice and Kelly helped us to stay motivated in setting up the virtual challenges in all the lockdowns and Lucy organised a virtual elevation relay which other clubs as well as Croft were able to take part in. We were able to set up time trials thanks to the hard work of Theresa, Guy, Mike, Mark and Sue and all the volunteers who came to marshal and it has been so good to see everything we have put on be well supported.
It has been a unique year to be chairman of Croft Ambrey Running Club but we have a great committee who have worked hard and been there to get us through the tough times which are now becoming a distant memory as things get back to normal and I am looking forward to a more ‘normal’ twelve months before handing over the baton next year.