Every spring, the North Herts Road Runners hold an awards evening where the club comes together to celebrate the achievements of its members over the previous 12 months. This year was no different, as despite having to cancel the planned party due to COVID-19, the club swiftly made arrangements to alter its plans, and instead held a virtual awards evening on Facebook. Using the social media channel’s Watch Party feature, the club’s chair, Astrid McKeown, presented all of this year’s prizes from her kitchen, looking resplendent in formal evening attire, while the members logged on to watch, comment and celebrate what had been a remarkable year of running together.
“Our social team had put so much effort into organising what would have been a fantastic awards night, so it was a real shame we couldn’t gather in person,” said Astrid McKeown. “We’ll certainly do something together when this is all over, but in the meantime, there was no way COVID-19 was going to stop us celebrating our members’ efforts and successes.”
There was certainly plenty to celebrate. In front of a large online audience, and ably assisted by her husband Steve (in black tie, of course, and debonair as ever), Astrid presented virtual awards to members who had either excelled in races or shown themselves to be supportive and inspirational club members, and in many cases, both! The awards for the best club runners, which are selected by age-grading and performances for the club, were Caroline Thrussell and Mark Vaughan. The most improved runners were Dervla Downing and Pete Sibbert. The short course champions were Astrid McKeown and Andrew Leach, while Caroline Thrussell and Darren Sunter were the long course winners. The athletes who turned out for the club most often during the year were Lucy O’Connor for the women, while the men’s prize was shared by John Auld, Ian Datlen and Pete Sibbert. The awards chosen by the coaches for the most outstanding contributions from the athletes in their groups went to Helen Marson Smith, Andrew Porter, James Dalton, Dervla Downing, Katie Harbon and Vince Wright. The final two awards of the evening were selected by the club’s membership. The winner of the 101% Award went to coach Brian Bailey, and the Personality of the Year was Ian Datlen.
The response to the online broadcast was overwhelmingly positive, with club members commenting enthusiastically about the online broadcast. Head Coach Karen Dodsworth recorded her own video message in response, saying to the club’s members: “We are missing you all, and are so looking forward to the time we can train together again. In the meantime: stay safe; know that we all still share our love of running, and are thinking of each other. Happy running Team NHRR!”
This evening the UK government advised everyone to avoid non-essential social contact and gatherings in order to slow the spread of Covid-19.
As our club meetings are non-essential (as much as we like to think they are), NHRR will be doing their part to slow the spread and we are cancelling ALL organised session (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays) until further notice.
We appreciate that this is disappointing.
Please stay healthy in these very unprecedented time.
We will keep you updated via email, forum and social media.
As you know, the latest situation and advice from the UK government as well as England Athletics on the Covid 19 pandemic is being updated on a daily basis. We have been following all of the advice and while not yet implemented by the authorities, as a club we will always put the health and safety of our runners and coaches first. We have therefore made the following decisions to minimise the risk caused from gatherings of people.
Regrettably we have decided to cancel this year’s award night. We apologise to those who made extra efforts to be able to attend and to our social team who has been working so hard to organise one of the clubs highlights of the year.
But because we don’t want to take anything away from what you have achieved this year, the award winners will still be announced on the night via forum and email. Therefore, have a glass of bubbles near-by and celebrate our winners virtually. The winners will be contacted after the event to arrange how they can receive their trophies.
We now need some time to look at the options for a summer/autumn event instead
We will offer you a full refund, just bear with us whilst we sort out how to do that.
The AGM will be held virtually. You will receive a link that will allow you to attend via computer or mobile. You will be muted during the meeting but this virtual meeting will allow you to vote for the committee members, president and constitution changes via voting buttons. A questions field to type any questions will also be available.
Note that the vote for the charity of the year will be prior to the AGM, but we will reveal the winner at the AGM.
Recognising that some individuals may face short term financial changes, we will are also looking membership renewal delay. We hope to share more details at the AGM.
Until further notice we will NOT be meeting at the Spirella building for announcements, starting Tuesday 17th March. If you want to take part in our coached group training, please check the weekly training post on the forum that will indicate the separate meeting points for blue, green, yellow and purple. Groups might be combined or self-guided. Alternatively use your whatsapp group to arrange your own sessions.
Please minimise the items you would bring to training and usually leave at Spirella. The coaches will aim to bring a bag for your clothes/car keys.
If you wish, you can still use the Spirella car park and run to your session from there, but please do your post run stretching/hydration at home.
Obviously, if you are not feeling well, please don’t come to the sessions.
We will review our training arrangements regularly and will communicate when we will resume notices. Please check forum/email for any updates.
While we all have been told that elderly people, people with underlying conditions, and people who have to take immune suppressants are at higher risk, please note that training, especially hard training in preparation for a race, can compromise your immune system. As a result you are likely at higher risk of infection and if you get infected, you are at a higher risk for a worse course of the infections. Hence, please consider if reducing the intensity of your training is something you might want to do.
Thank you for your understanding in this very unusual situation.
If you have any further question and concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.
The North Herts Road Runners have been selected as the East region’s Club of the Year in the England Athletics’ 2019 Volunteer Awards. The Letchworth-based club was chosen in recognition of its results and for the opportunities given to everyone involved in the club. The award was received by Club Chair Astrid McKeown, Club President Richard Harbon and Head Coach Karen Dodsworth at Bedford International on Sunday 1st September.
“This award is for all of our members,” said Astrid McKeown. “It was not just based on strong and improved performances in leagues and championships, but also how over the last 12 months we have demonstrated our ongoing commitment to the sport and the opportunities we have provided.”
The criteria for the award included adopting a pro-active approach to the recruitment and retention of volunteers, as well as providing a friendly and supportive environment in which they can develop. North Herts Road Runners organise many running events in the local community, including the First Saturday of the Month, a monthly free 5k race, the ‘Greenway challenge’, a self-guided half marathon that for many is their debut HM, and the always over-subscribed Standalone 10k. These events are staffed entirely by volunteers from the club.
North Herts Road Runners also play an important role in promoting fitness in the local community. The club’s couch to 5k scheme introduced 40 people to running, many of whom joined NHRR as a result, and now regularly take part in races and other local running events.
The award’s criteria also included strong or improved club performances in leagues, championships and other club competitions through the development of club athletes. This year has been exceptional for the Squirrels in terms of performances and team success. In 2019, the North Herts Road Runners have won both the Three Counties (Herts, Beds, Bucks) Cross Country League and the Herts Midweek League, results which demonstrate the quality of coaching provided by the club.
And the Squirrels are continuing to produce strong performances. The Club of the Year award was presented at the end of a week in which North Herts Road Runners won the men’s Hertfordshire County 5km championships at Hatfield, and had members, Adam Bowller and Mark Vaughan, competing for the England Masters team at the Maidenhead half marathon.
Places are selling out fast for this year's Greenway Challenge. Organised by North Herts Road Runners, this year’s event will be held on Sunday 12th May at 9am, starting and finishing at the family-friendly venue of Standalone Farm.
“The Greenway Challenge provides a delightful step up to the half marathon challenge,” says race director, Karen Dodsworth. “Whilst it is self-guided the paths are well marked and the map and instructions are excellent. Helpful and encouraging marshals will be positioned at key points along the route, so there’s no danger of getting lost!"
The Greenway Challenge is an ideal race to run as a group with friends or family, plus there will be water stations and jelly beans provided on the route. Running the Greenway Challenge is also a great way to support local charities, as profits from the race will go to North Herts Road Runners’ club charities Jackie's Dropin and Tracks Autism. Finishers will receive a medal and there will be plenty of delicious home-made cakes (including gluten free options) for all.
Just a few weeks to go to this fabulous event and there are fewer than 80 places remaining so enter today to secure your place.
Good luck to all the squirrels running a spring marathon hopefully the training has gone well and you’re now enjoying your taper.
Those that were lucky enough to get a club place in London and Brighton are fundraising for our club charities TRACKS autism and Jackie’s Drop In.
You can support them and our charities by making a donation to one of their fundraising pages below just click on the photo to donate:
London Marathon runners:
Brighton Marathon runners:
We are looking forward to this year's Comet Sports Awards after three NHRR entries made it onto the final shortlists.
Nick Malpeli is among the four-strong list of contenders for the 'Veteran Achievement' prize in recognition of his exploits over the marathon distance. Nick enjoyed an outstanding year in 2018, winning his second England vest, twice improving his already very impressive best time to a superb 2.43.16 and being selected for an elite-level England Athletics training camp.
Nick is joined on the shortlist by an entry for the NHRR veterans teams, which highlights our success in wining both ladies' and men's Hertfordshire Veterans' Championships over the 5k distance.
The NHRR list of contenders is completed by joint publicity officer James Walsh, whose photo of team-mate Jim McConnel at the County Cross-country Championships is shortlisted for 'Sports Photograph of the Year'.
The awards evening takes place at Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre on 1st March.
Let’s get Christmassy with NHRR Santa Canta on Saturday 1st December. It’s your regular First Saturday of the Month 5k but with an added festive sparkle.
It’s the perfect way to start December and is suitable for everyone including children to take part. Dig out the Christmas jumper or dust off that Rudolf onesie and run, jog or canta around Norton Common (fancy dress is optional but there will be prizes and you might look like a bit of a grinch if you don't).
It’s free to enter just register at 8am on the day or pre-register at www.firstsaturday5km.org.uk
If you already have a FSOTM barcode there is no need to register again for the Santa Canta.
This year NHRR are fundraising to support Tracks Autism, all donations on the day are very welcome.
There will be medals and mince pies for all finishers, so come and join us for some festive fun with bells on.
NHRR are hosting their next #RunAndTalk event on Tuesday 6th November, 19:00-21:00 at Spirella Building in Letchworth. The aim of the event is to encourage people to #RunAndTalk to improve their mental health and wellbeing through running.
Naomi will be giving a short talk introducing the role of Mental Health Champion and share some of her story on "Mental Health, Running and Me".
Then there will be groups heading out on an easy social run/jog/walk, giving everyone a chance to chat to friends and make new ones too. Afterwards we'll be heading back to Spirella for hot drinks and biscuits.
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