Junior Mountain Running & Northern Road Relay Champs

Three of the club’s athletes earned an England vest in the British and Irish Junior Mountain Running Championships that were held at Peebles , Scotland last weekend. Nathan Smith had a fine run to place 4th just eight seconds behind the silver medallist, Joe Dugdale. Nathan’s fine run enabled the England team comfortably win the team event. Tyler Hutchinson came 7th in the same race with Finnian Hutchinson coming 15th in the under 17 race.

The Senior women’s team had a fine performance to come 16th at the Northern Road Relay Championships that were held at Manchester . Charlotte Mason lead the team off to run the fastest time of the day with 22.03 which was then consolidated by Helen Wilkinson (24.09), Karen Wood (25.16) and Katy Wood (22.45) on the later legs. Charlotte Mason then followed this up by coming 2nd in the Tadcaster 10 mile road race in a time of 63.23. Josh Dickinson got his winter racing programme off to a fine start by running the fastest leg in the under 17 men’s relay as the team came 11th overall.

Great North Run – How our ladies held off the fast finishing Mo Farah on the South Shields sea front!

Emma Ballantyne and Charlotte Mason ran in the Elite Women’s race at the Great North Run, having achieved the qualifying time of 83 minutes. A strange situation for them compared to the massed crowd of runners filling the dual carriageway that you see on television. There were 28 starters, so plenty of space to warm up with the elite (they are allowed in front of the start line) – they found themselves next to Mo Farah in the queue for the elite toilets.

Both are training for the York Marathon, so the previous weekend Emma had run a 25 miles and Charlotte an 18, not the normal preparation for a half marathon at their level.

If you were looking, you could just see 2 City of York vests on the back row of the start on television. Although the leaders were soon away, there were a few women running round 83 minute pace, so they could see a few.

As they reached the sea front for the last mile, there were huge crowds, aware (from their app) that Mo was approaching – the Ladies set off 25 minutes before the men. But our ladies managed to reach the finish first. Emma ran 83m 30 for 19th place, and Charlotte 84m 38 for 23rd.

The club’s fastest finisher was Stephen Kirk, 80m 11s for 174th place of the 43,000

Lauren Eadon had a great run in her first half marathon, running 1h 43m 45s with a very strong second half. Position 3975, and 24th in her Over 50 category.

Dave Paver, who has done all 37 GNR’s and 30 years on from his pb of 73 08 on this course, ran 2h 03m for 14,284th.

Chair’s Resignation

Firstly a word of thanks to the new coach coordinator for making such speedy progress especially in the continual and ever increasingly difficult challenge of recruiting new volunteers. This is essential as we end our track season and have a few months to build for a bigger and better 2018.

As many of you are aware I did offer to stand down earlier in the year but agreed to stay on as Chair until the next AGM. This was to avoid an EGM in the middle of a busy track season and the potential disruption this could cause and also to hand over to a potential Chair over a reasonable period, enabling that person to be the committee nominated future Chair.

In agreeing this I pretty much took a back seat and offered opinions where I felt it appropriate but have tried not to get involved in anything around the future vision of the Club. However, I was very much aware that this did not abrogate my responsibilities as Chair and I still have the nagging daily stress of worrying about the wellbeing of all the members, especially given the number of recent accidents and incidents in sport.

I have had full confidence in my various committees, coaches and volunteers throughout my ten year tenure as Chair, indeed without me having that confidence the role would have been impossible. I have also been lucky enough to enjoy the support of many committed and inspirational volunteers over that extended period and I have felt that we all shared the same vision to develop and sustain the best community athletic club in the country. It may be a myopic view with rose tinted spectacles on but I think we have, as a team, done a fantastic job and the success of teams, individuals and the number of young athletes we have helped is not too shabby and our work in the community is held up as an exemplar initiative.

In that vein, I have to be honest and say that I cannot fully support the new vision presented at the coaches meeting and the direction in which that vision will take the Club forward. However, I also fully acknowledge that there are many visions of what a successful community club looks like and that there are also many interpretations of what good or excellent looks like. I appreciate that I also fall into the category of being around too long and also being loyal to those that have supported the Club so brilliantly and to the best of their ability for so long. I am incredibly proud that the committees have generally had a terrifically positive culture and showed compassion and support to each other and I will value the genuine friendships I have made whist working for the Club.

I know that I exchanged emails earlier this week outlining some areas of difference in approach and vision and I think it is obvious my differences are fundamental in nature to the new vision and there is nothing to be gained by me trying to moving the Club forward in limbo until the next AGM as there is little chance of such a left wing/right wing coalition being productive.

Therefore, it is with a mixture of sadness, happiness and relief that I announce my immediate resignation as Chair and, significantly, my resignation from the committee itself to allow the committee the freedom to shape the Club in the way it sees fit without a grumpy ex Chair 🙂

I have had the great pleasure of working alongside some amazing colleagues at the Club over the years, indeed far too many to mention, and for the most part this has been an inspirational and uplifting experience. The volunteer effort and teamwork at the Club is the glue that holds it together and this is something that must not be lost. A successful Committee should really go unnoticed and be there, in the background, to simply support coaches and volunteers to do the amazing job that they do. It is the coaches and volunteers whose skills and dedication make such a positive and profound difference to so many athletes. However, the role of the Committee and the support it gives to the Club has a direct correlation to success and, at the certain risk of offending those not mentioned, I should like to specially acknowledge and thank just a few people who have served the Committee brilliantly over the years. Paul Wilson for his selfless contribution and steadfast loyalty; Paula Thomas for basically making the Club truly community based and welcoming as well as encouraging me to continue for as long as I have; Martin and Jan Rigby, Nigel Fenny, Maxine Dew, Drew Foster, Nicky Proctor, Rebecca Campsall, Sue Higgison, Ruth Brandon, Joanne McPherson, Ian & Elaine Wilcock, without whom the journey of improvement would never have started as we were far too ‘radical’ I recall lol; Paul Goble who has recently performed miracles with membership, better governance and the website and, of course, Hannah Higginson who helped make my personal ambition of a truly inclusive club more of a reality than I could ever have hoped, at least for a while.

I must also thank our past sponsors, especially Diana Bamforth and Benendon whose support was critical and generous. At the risk of being slightly political, I must thank the City of York Council and the University of York for supporting the Club and enabling our fantastic new facilities to become a reality. It was a long road with many a twist and turn but everyone involved, including the Chairs of the football and rugby league clubs, should be very satisfied with the outcome which is a tangible and permanent legacy to the City.

However, the real stars of this Club are the coaches and officials, who work tirelessly in all conditions, usually without recognition or thanks, to ensure athletes have first class experiences and achieve their own personal goals. To see such a diverse range of athlete training within the club and enjoying local competitions such as our summer league is totally down to these coaches and volunteers. I should like to extend my profound thanks for all they have done. Take a bow!

The Club is in a great position, it has a long lease at first class facilities with an affordable/cheap rent; it has a huge membership; it has a sound financial base (and at last has a treasurer) and an enthusiastic committee. I leave the Club in very safe keeping.

I will still be more than happy to help out as a volunteer at the summer leagues, should you retain them, and I have not given up the thought of returning to coaching in the future when I eventually retire and move back to York.
Very best wishes for the future,

Neil Hunter