At the beginning of 2015 we are entering our 40th year and this is an attempt to bring things up to date.
This report may differ from those of the first 3 decades for reasons that will become apparent. First, as I predicted earlier, the demise of the MAC newsletter in printed form has led to the disappearance of a central record of events and individual performances, for which only the excellent Chairman’s reports of Dave Hill have helped to make up. Secondly, this report will inevitably reflect the senior and male nature of the Club’s centre of gravity over this period which has led, until recently, to inadequate reporting or recording of the considerable activity in the Junior and Women’s sections.
Thirdly, this is connected with our difficulties in finding a reliable home for our activities after 2006 which some felt threatened our very existence.
I shall log the major events in chronological order later, and apologise in advance if your name does not appear enough or at all. All members have made valuable contributions as well as those whose notable performances are reported.
First, a general overview of the major features of the decade.
Our home for many years, Sherwood Hall, was a convenient location, near to the town centre and a good starting point for mixed road and country training routes and the monthly 10K. It had a room available for coaching the juniors who could also run without danger in winter in the adjacent park. Its downside was its decrepit condition. The Council was not prepared to maintain its upkeep properly as they were planning to build a replacement elsewhere and to sell Sherwood to housing developers. There were particular problems with the showers and boiler, ranging from no hot water to not even cold water on one hot night in summer. There was an alleged discovery of the legionella bug in the system which caused them to turn everything off for some time. The Centre was suddenly closed in 2007 without prior consultation .With no likelihood of a new centre being built for several years, little attempt was nevertheless made to help us find alternative accommodation. The Council seemed to be unaware of how many clubs and schools used Sherwood. Attempts by our committee to meet councillors and officers seemed to be resisted and when they did take place offered no real help.
The Seniors moved to new quarters for Thursday training at Fitness Forum, a private gym at County Offices. The changing and showers were good but the location affected the distance of our traditional runs as well as the operation of the 10K handicap.
This arrangement continued until 2010 when Fitness Forum suddenly closed in August. This was after an alleged drugs bust in 2008.
We next moved to the Lido in town for changing on Thursdays. The showers were adequate but we enjoyed a free Turkish bath in the high temperature as we changed, particularly in the Summer.
During this period the Juniors and Ladies made do with a variety of locations on Mondays such as Highfields and the Whitworth in Darley Dale.
The magnificent new Arc leisure centre finally opened in 2011 on the old Dimple fields site, some distance out of town and we have been there ever since. Our only disappointment is that it does not include the track which we had hoped for in view of our fund raising efforts.
All these relocations had been more expensive than Sherwood in spite of Treasurer Ian Milne’s negotiation of collective rates for the club.
This period without a fixed home disrupted much of our activity and the uncertainty of where we were based led to a fall-off in attendance and the defection of members (particularly juniors) to other clubs in the region where they could develop their talents properly. Randell continued to do a fantastic coaching job, along with his newly qualified helpers in very difficult circumstances and many successes were achieved. The ladies also formed an enthusiastic group both in training and competition and Jan Forrester did a good job coordinating things.
One thing that did a lot to keep the club together was the series of away runs in Summer every month. The pattern was to meet out in the country, do a tough run on varied distances to cater for the aged and infirm, and to end up at a pub for a well deserved drink and “snap”.
Such venues included Carsington, Lathkill Dale, Hartington, Crich , and the Edges above Baslow and Chatsworth at the start and end of the season. Possibly the most popular one was the run from Parwich over one of Clive’s ferocious courses, but remembered best for the delicious chip butties and chocolate cake laid on by his wife and neighbour in the farmhouse afterwards.
Club dinners were well established at the Maazi restaurant.
Post-Sherwood the seniors moved from the Lion to the Sycamore for the après-ski where again chips lubricated the discussion, courtesy of the treasurer.
Another regular feature was the away weekends, often held at Coniston, running in support of Steve Holt in his long tradition of completing the annual race there.
The decade saw cooperation with other clubs, notably the cycling club and the swimming club which came about via the MARS triathlon, initially to raise funds for the proposed new sports centre. The running section took in the ascent and descent of High Tor which caused one southern competitor to say to me that she did not know that Matlock was hilly! The move to the ARC initially retained the cycling route via Cromford and Lea but the running stage was re-routed in and around Dimple Fields. The event is now enormously popular nationally. The Cycling Club makes a valuable contribution to the White Peak Marathons, providing timekeeping, pilots and sweepers. The latter find riding slowly for 6 hours more exhausting than the Tour de France.
Under the direction of Ian the WPM’s have been the basis of our sound financial position for some years, in spite of the massive expenses incurred for coaches, ambulances, toilets, changing accommodation, prizes, mugs and goodies. It must be like running a small business from year to year. Our funds have been used to support the purchase of coaching equipment, help to all ages attending courses, championship fees and travelling expenses, particularly when representing the club abroad. We are nevertheless maintaining a good financial balance in view of the perceived greed of the national athletic authorities who take money from us for each member and charge us for the privilege of putting on races plus a fee for each runner. Our members receive very little in return. The financial drain on us is likely to get worse as we will possibly be charged to use the trails on the WPM in the future.
One of the main contributions to the sport we have made has been the races that we sponsor locally, such as Black Rocks and Ricky’s Race which are now in the FR calendar. We have also helped to staff the races at Wirksworth and Winster.
As membership has picked up we have joined the Booth’s Decorators Cross country league and are already one of the top teams in the men’s and women’s
categories. Jim Thorneycroft has been the driving force behind getting us into this event.
Very promising for the future in its attraction of youngsters and those considering trying the sport has been the inauguration of the monthly 5k park run, the Whitworth Thread . Darran Nuttall masterminds this event which is informal and free, but has raised money for charities by voluntary donations. The name comes from the route which has runners threading their way across the intersecting roads of the Park and is a tribute to Sir Joseph who lived there and gave his name to the standard screw thread. It is currently another over-subscribed event.
Summary of some of the events and achievements year by year. Their brevity is
due to inadequate record keeping early on and to less activity at these times,
as well as records getting lost on line more recently.
2006 Josh Moody Junior Fell running champion. Lee Jones, still a junior finishes 2nd in Beetroot race.
2007 Closure of Sherwood Hall Move to Fitness Forum and Whitworth
Josh Moody Wins Derby midweek 1 Mile in new record of 4.32 Fiona and Hayley represent Derbys. in Inter Counties XC. George Tighe 3rd in Nat. Fell Champs. Flinn Watson 10K PB 36.50 Jenny Reed wins age group in County XC Josh Nat. u 16 Fell champ and Northern indoor 1500 (3.59) Dan Yates now in Australia. Clive Derbys. V60 XC champ Tony Marchington V50 champ.
Karl and dog Charlie win Beetroot race
Jenny Reed first lady in Swift Half, County u20 champ at CX, 1500m and 3000m. With Julie Goodwin and Steph Spencer won team L at Mansfield Half. Jan Forrester wins vet prizes “all over the place”. Julie and Anna Henniker-Major post 3.45 in Edinburgh Marathon. Jonathan Doull is schools CX champ.
Russell Morgan of Wirksworth wins WPM in 2.59.14 15 to 20 juniors on Mondays thanks to Randell, Karl and Jimmy Ricketts. Diane Lee European Long distance Tri title.
Ladies competing arguably more successfully than the men now include Sue Tighe and Tessa Whitaker.
Steph 1st in county 400m and 300m. Polly wins Helvellyn Tri. Chris wins Police Marathon and lowers record by 3 minutes in Redlands Half in California.
Ian Philips wins Black Rocks. Steve Holt, Martin Lea Paul Keetley and the Meads compete regularly in long distance off road marathons plus covering insane routes at altitude in the Alps and elsewhere.
Christine Howard beats nearly all the men in the Swift Half, finishing 2nd in 1.21.59 in heatwave conditions. The Whitakers move (temporarily) to NZ. Training move to Lido makes senior/Junior transition still difficult with split venues. Maazi sponsorship of kit continues. Steve Mead now coordinates the Grand Prix. The Tighe family move to NZ.
Jim Thorneycroft wins the Grand Prix, Brian the Handicap (thanks to an unbeatable points allocation) Chris wins gold in her age group in World Duathlon in Spain.. New Club website opened. ARC Leisure centre opens. First Triathlon there in August.
We agreed to be chased by the 3 Shires bloodhounds but little resulted.
Tragic death of Lee Jones on Scafell in December
Diane Lee category gold at long distance Tri in Prague. Chris retains category gold at World Duathlon in Spain.Ian Philips wins Dovedale Dash and Simon Brister 1st vet 60. Jan completes FRA series.
Constitution updated We won the High Peak Relay for the second time in our history.
First season in Booth’s Decorators League : very short of runners as yet in spite of Jim’s efforts.
Alan Pickering wins Grand Prix, Jan is 2nd. Hope Hanby County u-11 CX champ. Simon Brister 1st in Mids
Masters vet 60 category. Jody Hart : PB’s of 7.64 for 60m. and 25.46 for 200m. in Mencap indoor meetings.
Dave Hill resigns as Chairman after 10 years and Alan Pickering is elected. Jan Forrester elected as press officer to put the club on the map locally. Jim Thorneycroft made club Captain with responsibility for teams and fixtures. Nicky Dick elected as Ladies Club Captain, Paul Keetly appointed Welfare Officer. The coaching team would be expanded to cater for the big expansion of junior training on Monday nights.
Randell’s resignation from the club was accepted with great reluctance after his magnificent contribution as club coach and coordinator of the WPM for many years.
Andy Whitaker completes Bob Graham Round. Shortly afterwards has severe, but maybe unrelated, cardiac problems, now thankfully under control.
We had our own winner of the Swift Half in Colin Davenport in a time of 1.15.17, beating 242 runners. Grand Prix : Ist Colin Davenport, 2nd Jan, H/cap Andy W. Booths Golds : v50 Simon Croft, v55 Jim T., v70 Clive, FV 50 Nicky Dick, FV60 Jan. Whitworth Thread launched on Sat July 13th thanks to Darran Nuttall
Nicky : veteran sportsperson’s award in Dales, Caroline Povey outright winner for her bronze shooting award at Commonwealth Games. Jan stands down as ladies’ rep. But inaugurates ME ME ME, a series of profiles of members on the website. First victim was Robin Eyre who completed the Outlaw Tri in support of the Diabetes campaign.
January the Constitution Updated. Karl resigned as Secretary after 20 years. He was made a life member. Dennis Belbin was elected in his place. Colin posts 2.44 in Manchester Marathon. AGM focussed on the way forward. New coaches being trained. Importance of more team activity. Need to cap Junior numbers.
Thanks for new Facebook page and development of website. GP to be open to all sections. Our own new kit shop. Paul Keetley Welfare Officer. Elsbeth Grant and Ed Hoon new jun. Captains.
At the Hairy Helmet relays we wiped up over half the prizes. Dennis Holmes, our longstanding 2nd claim runner borrowed from Ripley, produces a picture calendar of our members, incorporating our racing schedule for 2015 Richard Bradbury continues his class performances on the Fell circuit.
Templates were drawn up for all the club’s race promotions. This enables organisation to be spread around to different race directors for each race.
There has been a welcome growth of help from parents at events throughout the year.
County CX at Wollaton Park : U-11 team gold, Girls U-13 team gold and Elsbeth Grant individual gold, Simon Brister V60 gold. Clive V70 gold.
Zak Hodgkinson smashes World record with his winning time of 17.14 in the January Thread which the Matlock Mercury reported as a 10k!
Simon Brister 1st vet 65 in Mids. Masters.
Booths League: we nearly won. Men 2nd owing to countback, losing 1st place. Ladies 3rd, combined result 2nd.
Richard Bradbury 8th in Tigger Tor. Richard’s major achievement was in completing the Bob Graham Round in 23 hours 40 mins and many members continue to support a variety of fell races.
Colin Davenport had a superb PB in the London Marathon with 2.34.17.
In the Spring, Alan Pickering had to resign as Chairman owing to medical problems but is reported as expecting a good recovery soon.
The White Peak Full and Half Marathons were again heavily oversubscribed and a great success thanks to all the members who worked so hard beforehand and on the day.
The same is true for other promotions – Black Rocks and Ricky’s race. The Whitworth Thread went from strength to strength as did the Matlock Tri and the Club Grand Prix with Colin Davenport and Christine Howard bagging top spot in the Seniors and Michaela Dick and Toby Gill the Junior winners.
Team spirit has been encouraged by Jim Thorneycroft and was rewarded by our winning the magnificent Hairy Helmet Relays at Darley Park, Derby.
Particularly impressive has been the increasing turnout of our female members in races as well as training.
Important decisions were taken at a lengthy AGM in November. Our new Chairman, Craig Allen was elected with Paul Keetley as his Deputy. Alison Pye replaced Nicky Dick as Lady Captain.
Inspite of some dissent the category of family membership was abolished; one reason being that under the current situation the club could not meet its legal need to know which juniors were actually present on training nights. Also, affiliation to UKA would be paid for individually at £12, a good investment which would see a return after only a few race entries. Dropping our affiliation for track and field would allow members, juniors in particular, to join another club for this category, whilst still running for MAC first claim.
A White Peak Committee was to be formed urgently to plan for 2016 race.
It would be invidious to pick out the best achievements of the decade, but nobody would dispute the contributions of the Webster/Howard family together with their next generation of John and Elizabeth who have both had some impressive individual and team wins already.
Similarly, Ian has made an enormous contribution as Treasurer and financial wizard behind the White Peak, all in the face of continuing health problems.
We must also mention founder member Clive Russell who long refused to submit to his age and amassed the following achievements; 6 County Vet 60 and 2 Vet 70 CX golds, 4 N. Mids. Vet 60 golds, 2 Booths Vet 70 golds and 1st Vet 60 in the Swift Half. 3 Vet 60 wins in the Dovedale Dash in which he has made 49 appearances.
To the names already mentioned we must add Steve Pearson, Gerry White and Jim Titterton who, with the other vet 70,s could provide an impressive geriatric team of 6 to count if needed.
Jan Forrester took over from Brian as Historian and would like to thank him for an amazing contribution in collating the Club History over the decades.