This year we managed a full year without lockdowns and restrictions. However, the race calendar has yet to get back to normal, with many races either being re-scheduled until late in the year – causing somewhat of a scramble for entrants – or even cancelled altogether, mainly due to the same mad scramble!
That said, our own 4th Buckingham half marathon finally got underway and although, for reasons mentioned above, numbers were down, we still managed to attract around 200 competitors, raising over £4000 for the Medical Detection Dogs of Great Horwood. Our thanks go to the Race Committee led by Race Director, Laura Penny, ably supported by Wendy Cissell and Pete Reynolds and the 80+ other members who volunteered on the day. Planning for our 5th half marathon is already well underway and, following our usual poll of members, you have voted to support St Mark’s Meals and YC2 Young Carers this time around. Put the date – 14th May – in your diary, as we’ll need all the help and support we can get!
We’ve had a regular influx of new members over the year, with new enquiries every week, so much so that I’ve had real difficulty getting to know many of you. Let me apologise now for not speaking to you, and even more apologies to those of you whom I’ve spoken to and run with and then still asked who you were a week or so later! (And, as for the faster runners who have joined recently, I literally haven’t been able to catch up with you!). All this has meant that we regularly see around 50 people turning out on Tuesday nights, making up 5 or 6 running groups. Part of this increase is down to Tony Allen, who continues his good work getting more and more people involved in our sport, giving up much of his time during the day, as well as his evenings, to support and motivate new runners. After following the couch-2-5k scheme, many go on to complete their first ever parkrun. Once again, we end the year with a record number of members – 220 and rising even as I write. With such numbers it becomes more difficult but even more important to ensure all new members are welcomed into the club and given as much support and encouragement as we can. It is incumbent on us all to do everything we can to inspire and help each other to fulfil our aspirations.
A key highlight of the year has been the inauguration of the triathlon section, set up by Simon Hull. Simon is a keen triathlete and triathlon coach. He has worked extremely hard over the year to establish this side of the club. He has organised evening and weekend cycle rides in the Spring and Summer and turned to Zwift rides when the darker evenings set in. Together with Claire Hubner, a fully qualified swimming coach as well as a Level 2 triathlon coach, they gave us many really useful technique sessions at the Swan Leisure Centre, as well as devising interval training programmes for the serious minded. I asked Simon to write a few words to add to this report and this is what he has to say …
“January 2022 saw the launch of a triathlon and multisport section within BSRC. There has long been a desire to start a triathlon section within the club to cater for members who are interested in taking part in triathlon and other multisport events, or who wish to augment their run training by participating in swimming and cycling activities. Training is open to all BSRC members alongside established running training and activities and is intended to accommodate a variety of swim, bike and run abilities.
The triathlon section has a dedicated and thriving club WhatsApp group and over the course of the year we have organised regular evening and weekend cycle rides, online turbo-trainer sessions and twice-weekly coached pool swimming sessions. We’ve also had visits to lake swimming sessions at organised open-water swimming venues, which are often followed by a run at a nearby parkrun. We had members taking part in a nominated club sprint triathlon and we even enjoyed a cycling trip to France to watch the Tour de France! For 2023, we hope participation in the section continues to grow through friendly encouragement and support and arranging more regular training sessions. We are also organising BSRC teams to take part in a 255km triathlon relay event at Goodwood Circuit in West Sussex, aimed at encouraging participation in triathlon and building club sprit through a fun team event.“
Simon and Claire are to be congratulated on what they have achieved in just 11 months. But their enthusiasm and commitment mustn’t be taken for granted; they are very keen to involve other members in the general administration and operation of this aspect of the club. So, if you can organise the odd cycle ride, open-water session or anything else you can offer, it would be much appreciated and help lighten their load
In a similar vein, we are fortunate to have another qualified coach in Emerson Combstock, who joined us last year. As an experienced endurance coach, Emerson initiated his now famous speed endurance sessions, which have been so popular and successful that they have become an almost permanent fixture on the weekly schedule. Many of our members have attributed their improved race times and fitness to Emerson’s sessions, something which is difficult to deny, as so many of you have performed exceptionally well in events this year. And we mustn’t forget Debbie, who’s first full year as a qualified coach, has seen her put on many similar fitness sessions, including hill work, intervals etc. 2022 also saw Dan Carter take his first steps in coaching, as he became our latest Leader in Running Fitness after completing the online course – which included a practical demonstration of his newly-learnt skills. We have several other folk who have expressed a wish to take the LiRF course in 2023 and should you be interested, too, you can start by leading a few runs on a club night!
The club performed admirably in the Chiltern Cross Country League over season 21/22. The team came 3rd out of 25 in Division 2, with the women’s seniors and women’s vets topping the league standings and senior men 4th and Vets 3rd. This season we have begun extremely well, and at the time of writing both women’s and men’s teams are in first place, with two events to go. Although not all of us can score points, we can each add to the great team spirit which exists within the group, so come along and join in the fun – it’s free and just another benefit of being a member of our club. Thanks go to women’s and men’s team captains, Debbie and Robby.
Further success was achieved in the East Midlands Grand Prix Series – eight road races held on weekday evenings during the summer. Over the series our senior women’s team came 3rd out of 22, with the women’s masters finishing 1st! Both the senior and masters men came 5th out of 27. Whilst it may seem unfair to highlight individuals in what is a team event, we must mention Rachel Cooke, who came first in her age category in all 8 races! Thanks to Dan Carter for being the driving force behind it all.
Other significant events in 2022 included our annual presentation on a running-related topic. In May, we finally had our long awaited talk, postponed from 2020, from Chloe Oldfield of Buckingham University. Chloe is a Performance Psychologist and she gave us a very interesting, thought provoking talk on Mental Performance – “The Mind as a Resource not an Obstacle” – which was attended by nigh on 50 members.
On the social side, we developed new relations with West End Bowls Club through Steve Cornell, a member of both clubs. We had a couple of runs finishing with a beer or two at their bar. Then, in July, bowls club members invited us along to show us how to play the game, which turned out to be more difficult than it looks, but was nonetheless great fun, finishing with a barbecue. We also continue to develop links with Buckingham Athletic Football Club and held our annual family barbecue at their clubhouse in August. Nor must we overlook our excellent Christmas “get together” at the Grand Junction. Much of the success of these ventures is down to Shay and the hard work he has put in over the year. Unfortunately, Shay will now be resigning from the committee as pressures of family life and work mean he can no longer devote enough time to the role. I’m sure you’ll join me in thanking Shay for all he has done for us over the past few years. We have decided not to replace him as the committee is sufficiently large to cope with the roles and responsibilities required of it. Fern has volunteered to take on the task of social secretary and I have every confidence that she will do a fine job.
Whilst on the subject, I would personally like to thank the members of the committee for all their hard work and commitment over the past year. Understandably, many of you are not in a position to immediately appreciate all that goes on behind the scenes, not only in dealing with the day-to-day running of the club with such things as new members, financial transactions, kit orders, keeping track of the Club Championship and Handicap, devising the weekly schedule etc., but also in planning events and debating a plethora of ideas and issues that arise from time to time.
I would also like to thank all our run leaders for volunteering to lead groups on club nights throughout the year. These people are the bedrock of the club – without them we couldn’t function. Despite my best efforts to recruit more, unfortunately the burden falls on the same few folk all the time. It doesn’t require any particular expertise or knowledge to lead a group – you don’t even have to know the route planned! All that is required is the confidence to keep the group together. It is important for all members who are considering turning out on any given night to know, in advance, that there will be a group leader there for them to run with. So, we are offering an incentive to everyone who adds their name to the weekly schedule by Sunday noon – connected to Every Run Counts (see below).
Finally, our thanks go to our sponsors, Rainscourt Family Law Solicitors MK, for their continued support. We say it every year, but with their backing we can pay for things such as the annual talk, cross country fees, EA and British Triathlon registration, track and venue hire, without incurring extra costs to our members.
Now that 2023 is almost upon us, we have much to look forward to next year, not the least of which is a new initiative called “Every Run Counts”. It says something about the high profile that we continue to generate, as the club is one of only about 10 across the country that has been asked to trial this online platform from early January, before it is launched nationally later that same month. Full details will be circulated in the New Year and further discussed at the AGM. Talking of which, we hope to see many of you at the AGM on Friday 27th January at Buckingham Athletic clubhouse. This is to be followed by our annual Awards Evening when we celebrate the wonderful achievements of so many of our members. I hope to see you there, but unfortunately numbers are limited to 80, so when the time comes book your place immediately, as it is always a fun night and a real opportunity to have your say in how the club is run.
Happy New Year and all the best for 2023!
Chris – December 2022