Meet the Events Team

Meet Cat Foley-Wray & Liam Dawson.

They both spend a great deal of time behind the scenes organising various events for the club - specifically The Beach Run and the Presentation evening.

Cat Foley-Wray

How long have you been running for: Over 25years

Favourite distance to run,

Depends on the surface-, ultimately prefer xc and distances for XC races vary between 8-10k. On the road I prefer 5k-  I never seem to be able to keep a decent pace going past 5k in road races- I think I start to panic! On the Track I prefer 1500 and 3k although I`ve only raced on the track once in  the last 6 years.

What made you join/create the events team:  

I saw Kevin`s post seeking someone to develop Events for the club and after having a chat with him and learning that it was as much social events as running based events, I felt I could fulfil the role as I had done the same at my previous club and that it would be a good way to get to know people more. Also I like a challenge, so with the intention to host our own Beach Race, this excited me.

 A large part for me signing up, which perhaps sounds selfish, was I wanted to do something for me, for my own personal interest. Most people will know I am a mum to 3 wildly wonderful boys who are now 6, 4, and 2. I was made redundant from my role as an Adoption Social Worker in July 2016, it was a brilliant job which kept me busy and challenged me in so many ways. My eldest, Charlie was born a few months later in October and we were lucky enough to be in a position where I didn’t need to return to work so I chose to be a stay-at-home mum. Our family then grew with Seth arriving in 2018 and Rupert in September 2020 and I remained able to stay at home with them rather than seek employment. We then moved to Norfolk in November2020, a few weeks after lockdown 2 was introduced and Rupert was just 8weeks old. It was a bit of a mad time! We didn’t know anyone in Norfolk at the time which didn’t really matter as you weren’t able to go and meet up with people due to the Covid restrictions but as things started to open up, and both Alex and I joined the club, I was keen to get to know more people and have another role, bar being `Mum`, and the role of Events seemed perfect as it was something new for the club and something for me to get stuck into without a kids toy in sight!

Favourite parkrun course:

I`ve only done it once when staying in the area and it was many years ago, but Clumber Park, as it was all woodland and trail

What do you enjoy most about organising events:

I like the fact I can see a project through from start to finish,  its satisfying, I like seeing things come together at the end. Certain events have been stressful but the stress has been totally outweighed by the satisfaction at the end. I have got to know more people in the club through organising the events which has been lovely. It has been fun working with Liam, we are both very sarcastic people and the banter kept us sane at times! However, he does love a spreadsheet which did cause a few tensions.

Favourite time of day to run:

If it’s a run on the beach I will be there any time of day and in any weather! If it’s a session, then later in the day / evening- I need to wake up first if I am going to be doing anything hard! If its an easy run- I can just roll out of bed and go.

Fav part of organising the beach race:

I enjoyed planning the whole event, it was an interesting learning curve and has given me a lot of confidence in terms of organising something on such a scale. Although it took over a year to pull together, it didn’t seem a chore as it was easy working with Liam as we get each other’s sense of humour and working style, we were able to have a laugh yet still get the job done and when we didn’t always see eye to eye, it was never a big issue. (Liam soon learnt its probably easier to agree with me than not.) Race Day was great, although I was nervous, I remember standing at the start with Kerrie Cosslett and Kirsty Lack watching everyone lined up ready to go and feeling overwhelmed with emotion that I was welling up! It was a great feeling seeing everything had come together and the support from all the club members was brilliant. I felt a bit sad in the period after the race as so much time had been invested into establishing it, that it was all then over and done with. However, that didn’t last long as we are already in full swing for planning Dec 2023! we really are so lucky to have such a lovely club, I’ve said it before but it really is the most friendliest and welcoming club both Alex and I have been part of.

Why did you start running:

Initially because I enjoyed running at primary school, however my reasons for carrying on running have changed over the years as I have changed as a person. Now it is more because it is my escape and to have some time where I can just focus on running without having to worry about anything else. Now we live by the coast, I love to run on the beach its so beautiful, I cant get enough of it!

Best advice to runners:

It is ok to take a break even if you aren’t injured.

As mentioned above, my reasons for running have changed over time, as I have changed as a person. The latter half of 2022 I found really stressful for a range of reasons and usually running would be my `go to`, but that also was becoming stressful! We were due to move house in July (the 3rd house move in 18 months!) however the date kept changing and we didn’t move until September. The last few weeks before we moved were full on and on reflection, I should have taken a break from running as that was stressing me out too. I remember being on a run on my own one evening and saw some of the Thursday Night Runners go past and I felt like bursting into tears as I had just stopped before I saw them and I felt as though I couldn’t run anymore. I wasn’t in pain or anything I just couldn’t seem to run without stopping, I was only running 4 or 5k which was making me more stressed out! Anyway, it has taught me that sometimes you just need a break and that’s ok, and to be kind to yourself. So I took myself away from running for a while whilst things settled down, but made sure I still did something to `look after myself` and enjoyed walking along the beach and yoga which I still make sure I do. So, look after yourself, and its ok to take a break from running.

Liam Dawson

How long have you been running for?

About 37 years – if you’re trying to do the maths, I was about two when I started

Favourite distance to run?

I used to love doing ultras – I loved the idea that all you had to do that day was run and you got to eat loads and chat to loads of runners en route – its pretty much a long distance jog and jabber session (but with more food).  Peddars Way was probably my favourite (well done to Lucy for completing it in January).  Other than that 10k – my first load of races were 10k and always enjoy them (a few hours after finishing).

What made you join/create events team?

I wanted to support the club in some way and Kevin mentioned that the Committee were considering organising a race in 2022 that he’d want to host for a few years.  My thought was ‘how hard can that be?’ - now I know!

Favourite parkrun course

Holkham without a doubt - great place, great people (maybe the old course as I got my pb there).  Other than that, Tring in Buckinghamshire, near where I used to live, more like a cross country with proper hard hills (I may have a chance against Ant on that course!)

What do you enjoy most about organising events?

Working with Cat (I have to say that or she’ll make my life a misery – but don’t tell her).  Also, that we’re arranging events for friends and the running community that we hope they’ll enjoy!

Favourite time of day to run?

Depends on what I’m training for – if it was an ultra, it would first light (running at ultra pace you get to see how beautiful it is around here).  Anything quicker, late morning when my legs have woken up.

Favourite part of organising the beach race?

I have three stand out moments

  1. 8:20 on race day when all the marshals had turned up and everyone was smiling – it reminded me how great Runners-next-the-Sea is
  2. Talking to runners at the end and listening to them talk about how amazing the marshals were and how beautiful the course was
  3. The sign of relief when standing by the car on Lady Anne’s Drive at the end of it all, after everyone had gone home, thinking that we hadn’t massively mucked it all up
  4. (I know I said three but….) Getting a message from Kevin telling me he felt the race had been a success (phew!)

Why did I start running?

I remember sitting on a bus to a school swimming session and it was the week after the first London Marathon.  A friend and I were talking about it and we both decided we were going to do it (as you do when you’re 10).  Unfortunately he passed away when he was 18, but I went on and did it in 2000.  I remember sprinting down The Mall thinking of that conversation.

Best advice to runners:

Speed is relative and no one really cares how fast or slow you are - runners just love other runners!

Anything else?

At times, being a runner, you can take running for granted.  However, every now and then (usually when I’m injured) I’m reminded how lucky I am to run, how lucky I am to run where I do (especially around the Holkham estate and the beach) and how lucky I am to be part of such a friendly and supportive club.  Proud to be a Runner-next-the-Sea.