Our third year as an England Athletics Affiliated Club and our first complete year as a member of Athletics Norfolk and a year that we will all want to forget due to the COVID pandemic, or will we?
The year began normally enough, our winter training programme continued a pace; our Norfolk Athletic cross-country squads enjoyed mud, mud and more mud; there were a good scattering of road races and finally an excellent turnout of RntS for the Hunny Bell Cross-Country before everything ground to a halt with the first of our COVID lockdowns.
Thankfully the country was told that exercise was allowed, running could continue but no groups, so Monday nights training was suspended. However, the virtual training sessions posted regularly on our Facebook page maintained a semblance of club cohesion. Sharing a session that we knew other members would also be completing gave us the necessary motivation to challenge ourselves to run just that bit quicker.
And who can forget the weekly Chris and Ceri Challenges which added fun and frolics into the lockdown gloom. Club members embraced these challenges with gusto posting numerous creative photos online for the enjoyment of members.
The RntS Lockdown Virtual relay took place in May. Amazing what a seed of an idea can bring into fruition. The initial idea was batted around for some time as there were many issues that needed to be ironed out regarding the lockdown rules, members safety and inclusivity.
After much thought and planning the event kicked off and was a great success. Over 700km of running and cycling around Norfolk, plenty of photos and even a video of the virtual batten handover graced our Facebook page. I think Lucy should be given a round of applause for organising the relay route and runners.
In the summer we also had the RntS Friday 5 Challenge and the Ekiden Virtual Marathon Relay event which again saw members challenging themselves to improve. The extra motivation of sharing the challenges with other members especially in relay events saw excellent and on occasions surprising results. My thanks to Jodie for organising the teams for the Ekiden Relay.
Thankfully in July the Lockdown restrictions were relaxed and we were able to commence club training again, in small groups. Thanks to Chris & Ceri we were able to take advantage of the Wells Football Club fields for our initial few sessions before branching out to Alderman Peel and finally returning to Holkham as the restrictions continued to be relaxed.
When daylight hours bought our summer season to a close we returned to the lights available in our towns. Still training in Groups of 12 due to COVID restrictions we branched out and began training in Wells and Fakenham changing venues each week. This I believe has been a great success and one attributable to Paul whose support was invaluable during this process.
The annual Wells Carnival Run-next-the-Sea had to join the ranks of other virtual events which took place this year. Even so we were able to provide an event which had people of all ages doing something to raise money for the club and the local charity, Homes for Wells. My thanks to Jodie and Lucy for providing the organisation behind this event.
The only RntS Event which was able to take place this year was our annual beach run. We had good weather, a staggered start and a canicross tail runner for the first time this year. Again this year we collected voluntary donations for the Wells Branch of the Royal British Legion. My thanks go to the many marshals who attended this event to support our amazing runners.
Lockdown two suspended club training again in November and whilst we started training again in December this was only short lived before Lockdown three descended after Christmas.
In December we collected our Norfolk Athletics Cross-Country trophies, 1st placed Ladies B Team and 3rd placed Ladies A Team. This was a tremendous success for Amanda and her teams in our first cross-country league. This was actually remarked upon by the Chairmen of Norfolk Athletics Road Running Committee who said “that the enthusiasm and commitment shown by the members of RntS to the Cross-Country league was remarkable especially so, as RntS was a new member to Norfolk Athletics”. A great accolade I am sure you will agree.
So a frustrating year but one which I believe the Club weathered highly successfully. The Club Committee did sterling work keeping ideas and events moving where practical. All the necessary background activities continued to take place which enable the club to function, but extra work was taken on board to facilitate the virtual events of the RntS Lockdown Relay, Ekiden Relay and Carnival run.
The club could not operate without the committee: Chris Palmer as Secretary, Male Welfare and COVID Coordinator; Claire Riseborough Treasurer, Ceri Howell Membership Secretary, Mark Riseborough as Internet and Information Officer, Lucy Harrison Quartermaster and Angie Barker Female Welfare and the “friends of the Committee” Jodie McCallum supporting Events, Amanda Marshall Cross-Country and Paul Smith Norfolk Athletics Road Running representative. My grateful thanks go to all.
Chris Palmer also volunteered to take on the role of COVID Coordinator for the Club. I strongly believe that it was his commitment which gave us the necessary information and structure to return to training so early and the extension into COVID Secure environments which increased the size of groups to 12.
Lucy Harrison should be given a big thank you for sorting out our first RntS Calendar. If you are lucky enough to have purchased one of these I think you will agree that it is an excellent snap shot of last year’s challenges and effort. Happy memories!
Club coaching evolved last year giving us the flexibility to train in groups during Monday evening training sessions. I am sure that you have all benefitted from having different coaches leading sessions and I hope that you all share my gratitude to Paul Woodhouse, Anthony Cude, Paula Smith, Ceri Howells, Chris Palmer, Glyn Ingram, Rob McPaul and Evette Price for their time, patience and commitment.
Finally my thanks go to the members, without whom we would not be a club. It was not that long ago that I placed an article in the Wells Quay magazine announcing our intentions of starting a running club. Seven years on and we have a fully functioning running club whose 100 plus members are inspirational, community minded and extremely supportive.
I am proud to say that I am a member of Runners-next-the-Sea.
Thank you to you all.
Membership Secretary’s Report
Despite 2020 being such a strange year, the club has kept a very healthy membership:
By the end of the year we had:
104 members (for 7 of whom we are the 2nd preference club)
• 3 juniors
• 47 males
• 57 females
• 79 renewals
• 25 new members
Despite the restrictions due to the pandemic, members have continued to access on-line
training to ensure as a club we continue to develop the clubs capacity to offer a variety of
sessions and training opportunities for members.
• We now have 10 qualified coaches
• 8 LIRF – (one just needs to complete the final practical assessment)
• 2 endurance coaches
• 13 volunteers
The committee is in discussion about aligning future years membership with English Athletic
timescales. For 2021-2022, membership will need renewing from 31st January, once you
renew , don’t forget to activate your EA account and check your details and take advantage
of the benefits EA members get, including discount on many running races.
‘It doesn’t matter how fast or how far you’re going. If you’re putting on your shoes and going
out for a run, you are a runner, you are in that club, our club.’
It has been a strange year for us all; the Club has continued to challenge and support in new ways (remember the toilet
The accounts for the year are below but please find the highlights as a Top 5!
5. The Club has an accumulated surplus of £5,300 at the end of the year.
4. Membership was the biggest source of income with £2,585 generated.
3. Clothing sales came to £1,156 – that is a lot of vests!
2. We are a generous bunch, £183 was raised for the Royal British Legion.
1. The above all leads me to conclude that we are a number 1 Club!
Lets hope that 2021 will bring more normality.
Web/Events Stats Report
A very odd year as everybody knows and the figures show it!
• 54 members of the club took part in an official/measured event (56%).
• Between them a total of 13 different events (70 less than last year!) but essentially only February, March and October.
• The average runner did 1.76 events at 10.8km (10.4 average last year).
• Which meant that 95 pieces of bling were earned (441 last year).
• The total distance ran by the club was 1066km which is just longer than Land’s End to John O Groats (maybe a quick detour to a running shop for some new trainers mid route!).
• Shouts to:
Daniel who covered 60.2 km in his 4 events (second highest number of events). (The lack of events shows if you compare that to David who covered 323km last year!)
Amanda who completed the greatest number of events at 5 (18 was the record last year).
• Once again, the Hunny Bell was the most attended event with 26 club members taking part.
• 121 active members in the Facebook group, but the lack events really shows as there are less posts and comments this year than last.
Even so, what a fine bunch of people to be in a club with and do less things with!
A slightly quieter year order count wise, which was to be expected. Our main kit supplier was closed, then open, partially open and now operating on restricted hours in support of Covid requirements.
Last year I mentioned supplier benchmarking for our kit, this activity was put on hold during 2020 due to the risk of moving supplier during ever-changing commercial environment. I will carry out this activity during this year and focus on local suppliers where available.
In addition to the standard kit items 39 of you have supported the Runners-next-the-Sea calendar so far, 33 during 2020 and the orange bar in the chart below represents the subsequent 6 sales. There are still a small number of calendars available so please do pop an order in if you’d like to.
To date the calendar has generated over £150 for club funds, thank you all for your support and feedback.
We’ve had a couple of quality issues with kit this year which have been resolved with replacements, if you have any concerns or issues about your purchases please do get in touch with me so I can address.
If there are any items you’d like to see Team RntS sporting or carrying in the future drop me a line! I’ll gauge initial interest from you all so that I can source the most competitive pricing.
Stay safe and well everyone, this too shall pass.
Annual membership fees of £25 to remain unchanged for the next membership period.
The current membership period be extended until 31 March 2021 effectively giving members 2 months extra membership at no additional cost.