• News from Jonathon

It feels like a dream...

and in other news…

Well, it feels like a bad dream doesn’t it? I’m not even sure whether I’ve even woken up yet!

So, we aren’t allowed to meet as a club at the Galtres as we’re following England Athletics guidelines, but...

After months of solo running, small groups have now been given the go ahead and ERC is taking full advantage, within the rules of course, of meeting in our usual Thursday evening slot. ERC Webmaster Doug Pearce has set up an online system for club members to choose which level/group they wish to run in and in which location. Head Coach Nigel Ramsden coordinates this for every Thursday.

It’s been a brilliant recent change to the way the club can meet and whilst being limited to six members per group, I know that everyone is enjoying meeting up with different people each week, in different villages (and Easingwold) and getting back to a ‘sort of’ normal’.

At this point I’d like to mention how much the club appreciates the effort, time and work which has gone into organising this, Doug, Nigel and all the coaches. This is now. It’s fun, sociable, popular and valued training until we get the thumbs up to return to our ‘club training’ sessions. We might even continue to incorporate these ‘away’ evenings as we used to do, but in this format. Let’s see.

Our bad dream started over four months ago! We ran in the ‘Thirsk 10m’ road race on Sunday 15th March and we all thought that it would be the last one for a while. So it has turned out to be. That was the last race of our current Club Championship (CC) so far. When we can continue is hard to predict, with so many events having been cancelled and/or rearranged for the Autumn or even 2021. Apart from the CC, the York and District Road Race League (YDRRL), which normally takes place between May and July, also fell foul of the situation. Individual annual favourites not in the CC were also obviously cancelled. Hardmoors, the Cleveland Way Relay, Swaledale Marathon, Northumberland Coastal Run and so on.

So, what has ERC been doing since mid March?

Well, like other clubs around the country, we’ve been keeping ourselves going, and, perhaps because it’s been a forced change and people’s personal lives have had to adapt to a different scenario, our ‘new running training’ programme, if I may call it that, has been extremely popular and for some of us, frankly, a bit of a lifeline.

Along with the Committee again, our Competition Secretary Colin Fletcher has been instrumental in organising our “Lockdown Challenges”.

Challenge 1 started in late March and took the form of a fortnight’s “Marathon Challenge”. Members could run as often or not as they wished but the idea was to complete a Marathon distance. Over the two weeks we managed a cumulative 2782.51 miles from 72 runners over 510 individual runs. Sixty managed to complete the distance, with ten completing 2 Marathons, two going on to do 3 Ms and 2 topping out at just over 4 Ms. Well done to all 72 members and the equal winners Marie Murtagh and Jonathon H-D. So that was our first and only individual challenge as it was decided from there on to compete as teams.

Five teams were formed from all club members who wanted to participate and drawn based on the results of the Marathon challenge, averaging 14-15 runners per team. The teams were named after areas of Easingwold, Uppleby, Claypenny, Tanpit, Millfield and Crabmill.

Challenge 2 in early April was a virtual team relay from the Galtres Centre to near Hamburg, Germany.

Why Hamburg? Well, I talked about it in my last article, but that never made it to print due to COVID, so here you are again….

Simple really. Because of a great friend of the club and ex member Michael Strabel, who returned to his native country a few years ago. We thought it would be fun to “race” to finish at Michael’s house. Every day, each team’s daily mileage would be tallied up and plotted on the map. We all had to reach Hull on Day 1 for the night crossing. Missing this would mean a severe delay and effectively ‘out of the relay’! In the end, the five teams totalling 70 runners, ran 3,157kms in just over 6 days (an average of 45kms per runner).

Congratulations to Team Uppleby who pipped Team Claypenny to the line in Germany and well done to all the teams. All five finished on the same day and enjoyed a virtual beer with Michael! I’m also pleased to say that an ‘optional’ entry fee raised £570 for a local Easingwold charity doing great work during the current situation.

A P.S. to this challenge was sent by Michael some days later, as we’d made the local paper!

As a club, these “challenges” have really galvanised, encouraged, supported and motivated members during this most unusual time.

As I mentioned earlier, for some on furlough, job insecurity, loss of work, home schooling and concern for family, friends and neighbours, the continued support network brought about by the club has been “a lifeline”. For others, it might be just a way to keep fit, keep training, doing our daily exercise. I know from both the online club and ‘Team Challenge’ group chats, that most have found both the physical side and social side extremely important over the past months. We all know that exercise benefits us physically and mentally, and mental health during this time cannot and should not be downplayed.

We’re currently on ‘Challenge 6’ and as a club, the number of participants has never really waivered. Apart from the odd minor niggle or family or work commitment, nearly everyone is involved and the competitive spirit is certainly alive and well. And I have to say, whilst all the challenges have been competitive and each team endeavours to win, the support between teams and members has been outstanding.

I’d love to inform you about the other ‘Challenges’ but those are for next time.

Who knows, we might wake up from the bad dream and hopefully that will be soon, but in the meantime, let’s concentrate on and prioritise the positives.

Whether you are reading this as a runner or not, ERC sends its best wishes and well done to the Advertiser too for getting through the past months and printing this for our little club’s voice to be heard.

Although not too loud as we’re still dreaming remember…!

Jonathon Harris-Douglas, Publicity Secretary

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