Saturday saw our runners ditch the Lycra and don their gladrags for this years annual awards presentation.
The evening began with a video slideshow of all the race photographs from the entire year. A beautiful reminder of every single members achievements. With David Bowie reminding the team that they are all Heroes. A great chance to reminisce about how far they’ve all come, how far they’ve all run and bringing a smile to every face in the room. A perfect opener to the evening.
What a year it’s been for the Roadrunners! An anniversary year no less! We’ve seen triumph and success in reams with support and encouragement knowing no bounds. It really has been a joy to see so much love and passion for the sport rewarded with personal goals being smashed and even a trophy being won here and there along the way.
Several awards were re-presented by Chairman Glen Jones and team captains Julie Ray and Darren Cole on Saturday. Giving the recipients their well deserved moment to shine in the presence of their peers.
Winter Nominated Series – Dave Wilcock
Summer Nominated Series – Garry Sharp
IOW Half – 1st IWRR female – Holly Newton
IOW Half – 1st IWRR male – Cole Pearce
St.Georges 10 – 1st IWRR female – Trish Train
St.Georges 10 – 1st IWRR male – Cole Pearce
Club 10k – 1st female – Trish Train
Club 10k – 1st male – Paul Cameron
Next up were the top 3 achievers in the Hampshire Road Racing League based on points scored totted up over the season. They were rewarded with vouchers for Love Running.
1st – Matt Fletcher
2nd – Ross Wilkes
3rd – Cole Pearce
1st – Zoe Sherwin
2nd – Jodie Wilmott
3rd – Sarah Holmes
New for this year was the 5k series, a 3 part affair which saw our trusty Roadrunners strive to improve each time. Based on a scoring system according to times and bonuses for PBs, the inaugural winners were Trish Train and Paul Cameron. The most improved prize went to club stalwart Sue Hunter.
Next up were the awards voted for by the Roadrunners themselves. With 2 awards to consider for men and ladies, every club member was asked to make their choice for Most Improved Runner and for Club Member of the year (an award which not only considers athletic achievement but also their overall contribution to the club, their inspiration to others and their team spirit)
Most Improved Female
1st – Zoe Sherwin
2nd – Jodie Wilmott, Sarah Ward, Abigail Keyte
“Winning this has given me such a sense of achievement, the recognition of so many people that I have been inspired by over the last couple of years has given me self belief. I’ve never felt more proud of anything I’ve ever achieved, it’s the best feeling ever!”
And proud she should be, she smashed PB after PB, scored one of the highest amount of points by a female in our own HRRL Grand Prix and ran her first ever marathon in a seemingly effortless sub 4 hours only to go even quicker at the IOW to finish in a triumphant 4th overall.
The three way split for second demonstrates the immense effort that these 3 lionesses have put into their running all year. Jodie Wilmott has returned to form after a couple of years recovering from double knee operations. Consistently chipping away at her already tidy PB collection, culminating in her glorious performance at Flanders marathon. Sarah Ward has come a long way from the novice runner thst she was at the beginning of the year. Considering that the Newport to Ryde race was the furthest she’d ever run back in April she’s gone from strength to strength working her way up to half marathon distance and beyond. Last but not least is our super junior Abbie Keyte. This whippersnapper has been quietly gaining confidence and speed as the years progressed, bagging a phenomenal 10th junior place at this year’s Great South Run and completing her first half marathon just a couple of weeks later.
Most Improved Male
1st – Ross Wilkes
2nd – Dave Wilcock
3rd – Richard Bezer
“I cannot express how shocked but grateful I am” said Ross “I try so hard during races and I’m truly grateful for the club’s support along the way, you are all legends!”
Ross has showed immeasurable determination all year. I can’t remember the last time I wrote a race report that he didn’t include the words Ross followed by the letters PB. He’s been key to the teams promotion in the HRRL, taking part in 10 out of the 12 races last season. He’s chipped away at all his times from 5 mile to marathon distance and he’s set himself crazy fundraising challenges to run around the Island and up and down the seafront as many times as he could in 12 hours (yes really!) A huge asset to the club, his enthusiasm is limitless.
Dave Wilcock (lovingly described on one voting form as a sex machine in yellow Lycra) was voted into second place in this category for his continued improvement over all distances and his inspirational weight loss journey whilst Richard Bezer was recognised in 3rd place for his huge improvement over all distances this season and positive attitude.
Club Member of the Year Female
1st – Tanya Clifford, Sarah Holmes
2nd – Hayley Baxter
Unusually we found ourselves with a dead heat for the top spot this year.
“I am completely shocked” said Tanya “it’s so lovely that people thought I was worthy of their vote”
Very worthy in fact. Despite some serious health issues, not only has Tanya still managed to keep running she’s maintained a hugely active role on the committee all year, keeping the accounts in order, collecting money for a million different things and having nearly as many spreadsheets as Sharpie! She’s timekept when she couldn’t run and provided support and encouragement for members of the club, new and old. When she could run she’s managed to break her parkrun, 5 mile and half marathon PBs, demonstrating immense bravery, determination and guts.
“The club has kept me going at times” she told me later during the awards evening “It’s given me something to focus on”
Hugely deserved recognition for one brave lady.
On to our other joint winner… press officer and fancy dress enthusiast Sarah Holmes.
“I’m lost for words!” unusual for her as we know “The only thing I thought I’d be winning this year was some cheap plonk on the raffle! No seriously I am truly touched, my mojo and my confidence deserted me in the summer, I thought I’d never run again, but you beautiful lot lifted me up and helped me back”
Despite her misgivings the pint sized club paparazzi still managed a 10k PB and broke the club’s women’s distance record in a competitive race with her triumphant 2nd place at the Cider Frolic after clocking up 45 miles. Between running an additional 4 marathons during the year, she still spends hours every week collating results, researching races and finding photographs to give the club their race reports. Instrumental in helping to organise social events, races and a regular timekeeper, the pocket rocket is always tirelessly working away behind the scenes.
Hayley Baxter was voted into second place after her victory at the Needles marathon, brilliant 2nd place at the IOW marathon and 1st iow lady overall at the Fell Series and fantastic PB at Gosport half. Always humble in her success, and determined in races Hayley always takes the time to congratulate others whilst always delivering 100% effort. Her infectious sense of humour is always evident, making her a hugely positive influence on others.
Club Member of the Year Male
1st – Matt Fletcher
2nd – Dave Wilcock
3rd – Darren Cole
“I am shocked, pleased and honoured to receive this, especially when I looked at the names of the previous winners on it” said Matt
Matt has had a cracker of a year. Not only was he the only club member to complete all 12 Hampshire League Races, he’s also run 2 marathons, battling a double hernia along the way. The committee’s “go to” person for jobs that need doing, he works tirelessly behind the scenes keeping the wheels of the club turning. Who can forget his organisation of the infamous bus tour celebrating the club’s double promotion in the Hampshire League and without his hard work before during and after the event, St. Georges quite simply wouldn’t have happened -A true unsung hero of the club.
Dave Wilcock was once again recognised by his peers for his positivity, his enthusiasm and his ability to always raise a smile with his wordy wit whilst Darren Cole was voted into 3rd place for his outstanding contribution to Track nights come rain or shine to “train the troops”. He devised the new 5k series for all of us to enjoy this Summer and as race director for St Georges compiles a lot of the paperwork that arises.
Occasionally the club will award a bespoke trophy. Made especially to award one members particular achievement, or non achievement may be more accurate. Yes that’s right the Epic Fail award was back this year! Hand crafted and presented by our own Darren Cole. This year’s award was presented to everyone’s favourite Marshall Tracy Houdoire. Tracy’s opening gambit to 2018s Races was the ever popular Stubbington 10k. Excitedly Tracy unpacked her bag to get changed before the race only to discover that despite popping 2 shoes in her bag the night before, she had managed to pick up 2 similar looking left feet.
Every year the committee vote for their Achievement Award. This goes to someone that they consider to have done something out of the ordinary, beyond the norm. This year’s recipient has shown immense courage over the cruellest of tragedies. Despite her heartache Jane Andrew has continued to attend club nights and represent the club at races. She’s taken on amazing challenges that have raised over £8500 for the Intensive Care Unit at St Mary’s Hospital and the Organ Donor Network. She’s encouraged her daughters into the club and remained a pillar of strength and admiration for everyone.
Our trusty in house photography legend Peter Billington donated a special award of his own. The Best Photo Gimp Award recognises a dedication to race gooning and appreciation for creativity in this field. Unfortunately Peter was unwell this year so asked last year’s winner, Sarah Holmes to hand over the baton. This year’s winner has gurned and gimped her way around every race. From thumbs up to thumbs down and even a few two fingered salutes chucked in along the way her talent in this field has increased alongside her running abilities. The Best Gimp award went to the queen of silly faces Hayley Baxter.
Unusually the Committee decided to award a Lifetime Honoury membership this year. There have only been a handful of these given out in the last 30 years. The committee make their nominations and then vote in secret. The winner of this great accolade was non other than Steve Hickman.
“It was totally unexpected” the legend tells me “It’s an awesome feeling to think I am some sort of inspiration to their running in any small way”
He admits that the standing ovation brought a lump to his throat
In his speech Glen referenced Steve’s remarkable marathon running achievements in clocking up his landmark 150, his team spirit and ability to infuse all those that are lucky enough to be called his clubmates with his positivity and passion for running. Always wearing his IWRR with pride he has proved himself to be a fantastic ambassador for the club. A gentleman. A legend. An inspiration.
After a break and some food came what arguably the most exciting part of the evening. The grand reveal of the winners of this year’s coveted London Marathon club places. For anyone that has ever entered the public ballot to gain entry to the worlds most iconic marathon, they will know that the odds of getting a place are slim at best. But as an Athletics Club, we are awarded 2 places every year to issue to members as we see fit. As a club we lay down criteria that entrants must satisfy to enter this club ballot… the rest is down to luck as a FA cup style draw randomly assigned each of the 8 qualifiers a number and a chair to sit on, upon which 8 golden envelopes were placed.
They then in turn opened their envelopes, each finding a different race entry inside. George Butler was first to open, finding a Needles Half place. Matt Fletcher was next revealing one of the 2 coveted London places
Glen Jones, (standing in for Ian Dyer), was next to open finding the other Needles Half place. Julie Ray and Ross Wilkes both found IOW marathon places p, with Bridget next revealing a place for St. George’s 10. Two envelopes left… one London place still available…. Mud lover Michael Coultrup was next to go….. St Georges…. leaving no doubt as to what was inside Sarah Sharps envelope!
“I feel quite emotional about it. I can’t quite believe it” said the vice chair “This is a bucket list wish for me. I will be wearing my club vest with pride and will be eternally grateful for this”
And so concluded the formalities for the evening. All that was left to do was get silly and dance the night away