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ERC Awards Evening 2020

Easingwold Running Club held its annual ‘Awards Evening’ on January 7th.

Normally we would have had a shortened social club run between 7 and 7.45 p.m., then congregated in the Galtres with a drink and sandwiches laid on.

Sadly, current restrictions obviously meant we couldn’t do this, so the club used ‘Zoom’ as an alternative.

Over 50 members logged on at 7.30 p.m. to hear a welcome introduction from our Chairman Mike Bishop, who then handed over to Competition Secretary Colin Fletcher. The ‘Awards Eve’ is always based around the Club Championship (CC) from the past and current year, with our traditional first round being the ‘Sutton 10k’ in September. There are twenty CC rounds with a mix of road/trail/cross country races making up the event fixtures. The best ten rounds from each participant count towards their individual total and each runner must complete at least two races from each of the terrain categories.

So, we started well as usual in September 2019 with 33 members taking part and winners in four of the age categories at CC1 in Sutton.

CC2 (October 6th) was the new off road race at Grewelthorpe where ERC took 2nd, 3rd, 4th places and the team prize.

Later that month (27th), we moved on to Whixley and the part road, part off road 10k route. Again the club took individual prizes (first Lady) and team.

CC4 on the 17th of November saw ERC members take part in the Tadcaster 10 mile race. The team gained age groups wins here too.

Colin then went on to mention that this was the club’s third season taking part in the North Yorkshire and South Durham Cross Country League (NYSDCCL) with the race at Acklam being added to our CC season.

Members also took part in the York Marathon and Neil King and Sam Davies were first and second respectively in the Hard Moors races. Sam was also first Lady.

In November, the club held a ‘takeover day’ for Millfield Park Run and in December 2019 ERC had one of our social runs, ‘The Easingwold Round’ (approx. 10 miles), our traditional ‘Christmas Lights social run’ and the Christmas Party, again at the Galtres.

Back to the CC with the ‘Jolly Holly Jog’ in Ripon, a popular post Christmas race with our runners.

At the start of 2020 ERC supported the ‘Couch to 5k (C25K) with 52 participants starting their challenge. 28 went on to compete in the Millfield Park run and successfully achieve their C25K. Well done!

January 2020 and CC7 the TNT, then onto CC8 on March 15th and the Thirsk 10 mile road race.

This was significant for becoming the last race we could all attend before the first lockdown announced by the Government, a little later in March.

The club wanted and needed to continue despite this substantial setback. Our CC was suspended and the Committee decided to implement the ‘Challenge’ ideas put forward by Colin.

Challenge 1 was a Marathon Challenge with 60 members completing at least 1 marathon distance. 10 did 2 and 2 of us managed 4!

Challenge 2 was our first team event and based around one of our ex members, Michael Strabel from Germany. The teams had to race, virtually, from Easingwold to Michael’s home near Hamburg. 5 teams totalling 70 members ran an amazing 3,157ks in just 6 days and thanks to Michael, we even made the local German paper!

Challenge 3 was a 10 point training menu, again with over 70 of the club taking part. Points were awarded on an individual and team basis, with Challenge 4 taking a similar approach, but tougher!

Challenge 5 was based around themed days of running and also incorporated the weekend when we would’ve, as a club, taken part in the ‘Cleveland Way Relay’. So, this was done virtually again using local routes.

Challenge 6 was over 3 weeks and encouraged participants to run a 5k every seven days, trying to better their previous times. Our winners were Shaun Lawson 17.32 and Sam Davies 19.16.

Again it’s sad to see the club’s 25th Anniversary coincide with all the restrictions, but we were able to celebrate by (virtually) completing the ‘LeJog’ (Land’s End to John o’Groats) route of 814 miles.

By now in the year, we were able to run in groups of 6 and then 10 and we managed, under the guidance of England Athletics (EA), to run the virtual London Marathon, our traditional ‘George Becton 5k’ handicap challenge and the ‘Sessay Swift’ 6k, albeit only as a distanced race with running friends ‘Thirsk and Sowerby Harriers’, who organise it.

Well done to all who took part in all of the above, with the George Becton top three as follows: Adam King; Julian Ollive and Olivia Pearce.

The CC Awards were interspersed throughout Colin’s presentation and are the following….

‘Improver of the Year’ - Michael Wallis, for his Park Run debut in August ‘19, completing the virtual London Marathon and for his “hard work, enthusiasm and dedication”.

‘Coach/Leader of the Year’ - Sarah Lees, with great comments by many for her friendly and supportive approach to the club.

‘Outstanding Achievement Award’ - Marie Murtagh, for her Hardmoors 55 (her first Ultra) and finishing 7th lady out of over 600 racers. Also for her ‘Everest Challenge’!

Also, to Sam Davies for being the Hard Moors half marathon series winner (female) and second overall, and for being in the England Masters 10k Team F40.

‘Best Supporter’ went to Richard Knott who managed to complete 9 of the 10 CC events.

On then to the final and main CC awards...In the Ladies category, 3rd place went to Claire Longbottom, 2nd to Sarah Dixon and the current ERC Ladies’ Champion is Sam Davies.

In the Mens category, 3rd place to Neil King, 2nd to Mark Whiteman and the ERC Mens’ Champion is Colin Fletcher.

Sam said a few words… “the running club has been a real comfort during this difficult time. It has a great philosophy…”

And Colin… “ERC has always been a great club, but this year has seen it become greater. A great ethos and I’m honoured to be a member…”

Chairman Mike Bishop then closed the evening… “reminding us all of the great events we’ve taken part in over the year…” He thanked the committee and all of the members for their support and hopefully an even better year to come.

Reading back to the ‘Achievement Award’, you’ll notice Marie’s ‘Everest Challenge’ was mentioned. But what was this?

I don’t want to diminish Marie’s effort in this by “tacking it on” to the end of our club’s CC yearly report and ‘Awards’ Evening Results’.

It deserves better. So I won’t!

Please look out for an extra article with a short Q & A and photos next week about Marie’s outstanding achievement.

Jonathon Harris-Douglas, Publicity Secretary

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