Winter catch up.

It’s coming to the end of the dark evenings, and we are all looking forward to getting back to training around Dartmouth Park and the Valley, not that we don’t enjoy running round Europa Avenue (except for Phil’s vertigo on the foot bridge crossing the main road) and slipping over on icy ground! We are certainly not going to miss Hussler’s pyramids, that session has been retired in favour of “Churches monument”, a much more scenic route, and gives the residents something to chat about on what’s app! But the warmer weather does improve the mood.

Our numbers have increased over the last few months, and we are getting a regular Wednesday attendance of around 26! (We must be doing something right)? Thanks to Alex who has been instrumental in producing some quality flyers (we now have them in the park notice boards). We have also pushed our visibility on social media with Oli regularity posting on Instagram, Phil has got the twitter back up and running and Tom has produced some great videos for you tube. We also received a mention on Sandwell council’s “get Sandwell moving” Facebook page that saw a spike in visitors to our website, so please keep the Facebook active.

Laura Walton organised a mass participation by the girls of the Sandwell Valley Park Run and did a great job of recruiting a few new members, welcome to the club!

The last Wednesday before Christmas we hosted a talk by local hero “Blind Dave” Heeley (OBE), who kept us enthralled with tales of his charity raising adventures. Starting with his 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents and finishing with his Escape from Colditz cycle challenge with plenty in-between! Not only was he an inspiration to us to get out there and do that extra run but we also raised £175 for the Albion foundation!

The boxing day handicap was held in Dartmouth Park again this year and has been a tradition for as long as I can remember and probably also as long as John can remember! I’m sure he was there for the first one! He did a cracking job of setting the handicap times for everyone again. The race for second place was very close with Ben just piping Ash to the finish line after both overtaking me at the bottom of the last climb. But just when Ben thought his name was on the Trophy, we noticed Rob Mann had already finished! Fantastic running by all but spare a thought some of the girls had over done it the day before and Mance’s nick name for the race was proved to be accurate!!

We held the AGM in February and introduced a new membership fee for full time students and over 65’s of £40 for the year!

Laura Davis is now Ladies captain and Alex will be helping out in any way she can.

Pete Donnelly is organising a presentation evening pencilled in for the 7th of October with hopefully some new trophies for our, as yet non-existent cabinet! Interestingly, Kevin spotted on face book a story of a shield that was found in a car boot sale, originally it was presented by west Bromwich harriers to West Bromwich School sports association, “to encourage a wide interest in cross country running among schools” (Birmingham Daily post 1st April 1952). Just shows how much club history we have!

We asked for volunteers to become run leaders and Rob Mann has started the process, so I’m sure It won’t be long before he has us all doing high knees and butt kicks round the pool!

I know a few of you are considering doing this course and now would be a great time to start, ready for the lighter evenings back in the valley. If you need any info, just ask me, Ben or Rob. I feel the training sessions are challenging and multi ability inclusive but I’m always looking for new routes and sessions to keep it interesting.  

England Athletics have introduced a new qualification of adult welfare officer that I’m hoping we can fulfil as the club grows.

Feedback at the AGM was positive with the direction the club is going and if anyone has suggestions on what we could improve on please let us know. Remember, This is your club!

Park run news.

New for this year is the park run grand prix, complete 4 from the 6 runs listed on the web site to be in with a chance of winning the age graded trophy, our first run had to be postponed till September due to heavy snowfall and icy conditions at Perry Hall, we also called off one of our training nights, but that didn’t stop a few of you still getting out for a run! Park run is like marmite to a lot of club runners, but I think it’s a fantastic way of getting people started with the running bug, It’s a great opportunity to promote our club and take that next step of becoming a member, something they may never have thought was open to them as beginner.  

That in mind, Graham has asked if we would like to do a park take over at his local Park Run at Edgbaston reservoir, (he is also the run director), on the 25th of March. So, thanks to all those who have volunteered and hope to see plenty of maroon vests on the course.      

Congratulations to Dave Kendall who completed his 250th park run at Walsall Arboretum and was well supported by members of the club. That’s some achievement Dave, Well done! On the road to that target Alex and Laura W completed their 25th at Cannon Hill, Well done, only 225 to go! Hopefully I’ll be typing the blog for you both in around 5 years’ time. Well done to everyone volunteering and running park runs, wear your club colours with pride!

In April we have Ryan racing the London marathon and he is aiming for an elite time of sub 2:40! We will be following him on the app all the way. Have a great run and enjoy the weekend what ever the finish time, we’re right behind you!

The cross-country season is now over, and we had our most successful one in years, plus 16 runners in the nationals! That’s behind us now and road running is the focus for the spring and summer months with the 12 stage road relays in Sutton Park on April the 1st. Hopefully we will be fielding full teams. Then I know people have races planned like the DK10k, Manchester half, Birmingham/Black country half and the Birmingham half to name only a few, so we will have plenty to talk about ready for the next post at the end of spring.

Good luck with what ever your next goals are!

PS, Congratulations to Helena & David on their upcoming wedding. Wishing you a happy future together from all at the club.


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