Well, as we usher out 2016 (eventful to say the least!) and welcome in the New Year, which I hope proves to be a happy and healthy one for you all, time to bring you up to date with December's activities around the club and look backbriefly at the last twelve months.
Have four races to report on this month, along with our regular 'diet' of Parkruns, and St.Luke's Santa Dash.
Competitively, December started with Yvonne taking on the Reggae Half Marathon in Jamaica on the 4th, whilst five members made the short trip up the road for the Perivale 5, continued with the Osterley Park 10k. on the 10th, and ended with Tony and I heading up to Chesham on the 30th for the Pednor 10.
Very good run from Yvonne (finishing in 2.07.01) in very warm conditions, and she had the additional satisfaction of finishing first female in her age catagory.325 runners at Perivale where Zachary Randall (Shaftesbury Barnet) showed the field a clean pair of heels clocking a sprightly 25.26 with Tony, hampered by a niggling injury, leading our quintet home in39.37, and Praveena, making an impressive club debut, breaking the hour mark with ease. Sadly Tony's woes proved to be a recurring theme over the month, as he was forced to pull out of the Osterley 10k. at the 7k. mark (Victor leading our surviving trio (with John sporting the hoops!) home in 46.35), before just edging me out by a second at Chesham having been reduced to walking part of the course. Fingers crossed you're back to full speed before too long Tony!
Away from the competitive action meanwhile, I koined Bev, John, Wendy and Mark, along with Bill O'connor from QPH, in 'donning the red' for St.Luke's Santa Dash on the 11th (with Jean in support), where I believe around 4,000 pounds was raised for the hospice. Pleased to say I negotiated the course without any 'wardrobe malfunction' this year, the Santa suit remaining intact (though I'm not sure I could say the same for all my colleagues!).
On the Parkrun front,congratulations to Kay who became our latest 'centurion' at Canons Park on the 24th. By the end of the year eight current members had reached the three figure mark with Tony (193), John (168), Liz (160) and Louis (146) leading the way, a further ten having passed the 50 mark, whilst the club are credited with just over 1,500 runs overall to date (the figure having fluctuated over the year as we lost/gained members). During 2016, members visited no fewer than seventy different events (with our ex member, Colin Goulding, leading the way), whilst I notice that Parkrun itself reached a milestone on November 12th when the Nepean Riverrun in Australia became the 1,000th event worldwide. Parkrun now apparently encompasses 14 countries (actually I'm slightly surprised it's not more!) with, for the record, the largest turnout being 1,874 at North Beach parkrun in South Africa.
Away from the action meanwhile, 43 members, family and friends enjoyed the annual Christmas party on the 13th(possibly a record?). Thanks, in particular, to Bev for overseeing things in her usual exemplary fashion, to Tony for 'keeping the drinks flowing', and to everyone who brought the extremely tasty hot dishes along which were much appreciated. Santa again supervised the draw for the club's guaranteed London Marathon place, and, in addition this year, a place in it's Edinburgh counterpart. Gavin emerged as the lucky recipient for Lonon, with Victor 'on the bench', whilst Liz will be heading up to the Scottish Capital, Tony having declined the 'invitation' after finding the race, and his appointment with the inaugural Stirling Marathon, were only seven days apart (wouldn't have been a problem for Ben Smith!). No takers for Brighton to date (the entry fee being a little off putting), whilst our place for the Bournemouth Festival in October will be allocated in due course.
So what of 2016? All in all I think it was another encouraging year, with highlights again including Run Wembley, and the club's annual trip to Eastbourne for the Beachy Head Marathon. We welcomed no fewer than eight new members to the club at varying times during the year, though I wonder whatever happened to Michash, Shannon, Samantha, Maritap, Lily and Musarat (hopefully they found alternative options to remain in the sport), whilst we also fielded a number of email enquiries which weren't followed up. Five members meanwhile (Tony, Colin, Liz, Yvonne and Tricia) set new club records, whilst the average attendance on Tuesday night remained steady at 16 with thursday's falling slightly from 5 to 4.3.
Finally, it's nice, having had to relay a fair amount of sad news this last year, to end on a high note offering warmest congratulations from everyone at the club to Szabina and Peter on the birth of their daughter Chloe on the 30th December. If you're all still in the country by then, have Chloe 'pencilled in' for the Summer League in 2024 Peter!
Well, think that about wraps things up for this month, except to inform/remind everyone of my new email address – martin.garrett" outlook.com (my old hotmail account now recognizing me as persona non grata!).
Next Month: The Fred Hughes 10, and (hopefully) a little bit more.