Stopsley Striders Presentation Awards for 2006

Senior Man

This man started his road running year in Woburn in February, and he has hardly stopped racing since. Personal bests started in Silverstone and he has kept improving all year, so much in fact that he is now a consistent scoring member of our cross country team in every race. He has recorded personal bests at every distance from 5K to half marathon. He has run six personal bests during the year. He has now become a very helpful club member, always willing to get involved and help out.. He has a lot to look forward to in the coming year. Let’s hope that the good times and the personal bests continue for our senior man of 2006.

STUART HARRIES


Senior Lady

After a successful cross country season, this lady started her road racing season in April. She ran a personal best in the Betty Willett 5K in May and another personal best in the Vauxhall 5miles in June. She then had a rather quiet period, but as we were to find out it was only the calm before the storm. She performed extremely well in the Biddenham 10K where she ran a personal best, and then in the Bedford half marathon she knocked over three minutes off her personal best time. In our two cross country races in October and November she was our first female runner home on each occasion. She was also the second lady in the Vauxhall three race series. So she is now at the stage where we think a drug test is very much called for! So let’s hope that the improvement continues for our senior lady of 2006.

ALISON SUGARS


Veteran Man

This mans’ year started very well for him with a personal best in his first road race, the Folksworth 15miles. Then, after a much interrupted build up to the London Marathon he managed to have a very good one and ran under three hours- which was his aim from the start. His biggest problem in the marathon came well inside the last mile, which was to decide whether to run in with James Cracknell and maybe miss the three hours but definitely get on the TV, or, to overtake him and get under the three hours. We are glad to say the true running spirit in this man showed and he overtook James managing to realise his dream and get under the three hours by a few seconds; not only that he still made it onto the TV! Even though this man has been running for 17 or 18 years he still managed to find a new half marathon course last year, but it is not to be recommended as a personal best course. According to him, avoid the hills of the Buxton half marathon by all means! He ran a personal best in the Cranfield 5miles, was first vet 45 in the Leighton Buzzard 10miles and first vet 45 in the County Championships 10miles. He was also a member of our vets winning team in the Leighton Buzzard 10miles. So a very good year for our veteran man of 2006.

JOHN CHAPMAN


Veteran Lady

This lady started her year in the Sandy 10miles, and was a very consistent performer throughout the year. She set herself a target to achieve before the year was out and everything was geared towards that, she is a very reliable member of our ladies cross country team and even went all the way to the Southern Counties cross country championships in Exeter. In May she was third vet 35 in the county championships 5miles. She ran the Cranfield 5K and our own ladies 5K at Wardown. She ran the Bearbrook 10K and was then ready to put her target to the test. It is at this stage we feel sure she now knows who we are talking about and will be starting to get embarrassed! Her target for the year was to run under 50minutes for the Standalone 10K. Now, running is a great sport but sometimes it can be very cruel, as many of us here know, it was just that to this lady. On 1st October she ran the Standalone 10K in 50minutes and 2seconds. Let’s hope it just spurs her on to get a sub 50minutes this year. Our veteran lady for 2006 is……

SHARON COLLINS


Super Vet Man

This man not only deserves this award but a gold medal as well. He is what we refer to as “a battler”. If you ever beat him in a race you know that you have performed well because he will not let you pass him if he can possibly do anything about it! By his own omission he says that his times are not as good as they used to be but his pedigree is still a good one. In the cross country he has scored in each league race, in the nationals he was third vet 45, second vet 50 and first vet 55 in the county championships. He is also a member of the county vets winning team. He has competed in over 16 road races this year those being, The Daffodil 15miles, Sandy 10miles, Flitwick 10k, Great Weston 5miles, Betty Willett 5k, Boddington 10k where he was second vet 55. He also ran the Vauxhall 5 miles where he was first vet 50 and 55 in the county championships. He raced in Cranfield at the 5k where he was second vet 50 and first vet 55 in the county championships. At Wardown he ran the 5k where he was first vet 55 and the Vauxhall 10k where he was first vet 55 and 4th overall in the series. Later in the year he ran the Cranfield 5miles, Welwyn 10miles, Leighton Buzzard 10 miles, Standalone 10k, the Wolverton 5miles and the Bedford half marathon to complete the year.
As you are now aware he is not afraid of racing! Not only does he perform well on the road and over the cross country but he is a dedicated club man. He is always willing to give advice and takes his role as club captain very seriously.
Our Super Vet Man of the Year is:

BILL BARRETT


Super Vet Lady

It’s hard to know where to start when we talk about this lady. She has been a Strider right from the very start of our club. We can all write about her but we don’t think many of us will still be running like her when we get to her age. This lady is not just a road runner; she does every one of our cross country races. She was first vet 60 in our cross country league in 2006 and is the current county cross country champion in her age group. She is the county 10K, 5miles and 5K county champion in her age group. She was first vet 60 in the Luton 5K, but we think her best performance of the year was in the middle of the year during the  warm weather in August. (Not normally her favourite weather to race in!) She put us all to shame when she ran a personal best in the Cranfield 5miles. People often talk of this performance and say that is has been an inspiration to them. Everybody here at Stopsley Striders needs to take just one look at this lady and you will get all the inspiration you need. We are delighted to say that our Super Vet Lady of 2006 is…… 

HELEN MORRIS


Cross Country Male

This man has been one of our most reliable and consistent performers over cross country for many years. He was the first senior Strider home in the county cross country championships, first vet 45 and first vet 50 and a member of out vet 50 county cross country winning team. He was the first vet 50 man in our cross country league in 2006. But his running ability tells only half the story about him. He is one of our most knowledgeable runners in the club and is always willing to offer advice, and when out injured he is always there to offer help and support to everybody else. His only problem is that once a month on our birthday party night, he either makes his run shorter or runs faster in order to get back in time to start his carbo loading – big time! We feel sure that he does not eat for a few days before or after – keep an eye on his plate at the buffet later!!
Our cross country man of 2006 is……

CHRIS LAMONT


Cross Country Female

This lady has been a scoring member of our ladies road and cross country events for many years now. She is one of our most dependable performers and leads by example. Her running is only a small part of her role as a Stopsley Strider. She has just completed her first year as ladies captain and proved what a difference a year can make. Before she took on her role we were getting five, six, or a maximum of seven ladies running cross country for us. Now we are getting as many as fifteen or sixteen at most events; and that is down to their captain’s way of begging, asking or sometimes telling them. While many of us are thinking about how we might do something, she quite often has it almost done. She has made such a difference to the club since she took on her new role that we don’t know how we managed before that. But she is also a very good runner. She is a member of our scoring team in every race, and in the cross country championship she was third veteran 35 and 40 and second vet 45, and also a member of out ladies winning team. Although this lady has a very busy life including working full time she is always one of the first to offer help with anything we are organising. She is also important to our committee meetings as she always arrives with biscuits or chocolate or something very edible. She could have been given an award in one of many categories, but we have chosen her as our cross country female of the year.

KAREN ASHBY


Newcomer Male

This man arrived at the club at the start of the beginner’s course in April. He went with the beginners group on the first night but we soon realised he was a little bit fast for most of them. So, we moved him up a couple of groups but he was still a bit too fast. To be honest, most of us are still chasing him, or have given up the will to live!, and those that are still trying to get close are not making up much ground! He did his first ever road race in the Cranfield 5K where he ran 18minutes and 19seconds and finished third junior in the county championships. He then ran 29minutes, 58seconds for the Cranfield 5miles. He was second junior in the Ampthill Trophy and was our first Strider home in our Cross Country League race at Wootton. He has done very well in his first eight months at the club, but we know he will improve an awful lot more because he has managed very little actual training. The reason being, is that he is a very talented karate fighter and is actually going to the world championships in March. We have let him concentrate on his karate and just mark time with his running. Everybody at Stopsley Striders wishes him all the best for the world championships and hope that he will return to us uninjured and get down to some proper training in April. We feel sure that he is capable of some brilliant times and plenty of PB’s to come. Our male newcomer of 2006 is……

DARREN SCOTT


Newcomer Female

This young lady joined us here at Striders in March, having done some running before.  One of the first things we learnt about her was that she likes to talk, and talk. Secondly, she is a pretty good runner. She did her first race for us in the Flitwick 10K. She did very well and finished first junior lady in the county championships. She represented her university in their 10K track championships; she finished second lady in the Betty Willett 5K and ran a personal best. She also ran a personal best and finished first junior and first senior lady in the county championships 5miles at Vauxhall. She was third senior in out ladies 5K at Wardown. She ran a personal best in Wardown 5K and then lost the next five months to injury. Thankfully she is now back running and talking and we are all looking forward to her fulfilling the potential she showed last year. We hope she has now got used to the cold weather we have down here in the south in comparison to Middlesbrough!. Our female newcomer for 2006 is……

LAURA McPHERSON


Improvement Award

Although not a man who does many races, this man is a very consistent trainer and has shown an exceptional improvement in his running since he joined us here at Striders just under two years ago. Having run personal bests in his races this year, his strength really lies in his cross country races where he is just on the edge of our cross country team. He has scored in the team on one occasion when he had a really good run in Biggleswade and finished our fourth runner in a team of seven. Now he knows he can do it, so hopefully we will see him in the team more often. We are sure that a very successful season awaits. Our improvement award winner for 2006 is……

ADRIAN COPP


Improvement Award

This lady did her first race for the club in the Race for Life in June. Since then her running has gone from strength to strength. She ran the ladies 5K, the Wardown 5K where she ran a personal best. A personal best was also achieved in the Vauxhall 10K which was probably her best performance of the year; but she also had yet another personal best in the Standalone 10K. An improvement award goes to……

RACHEL SHERSTONE


Improvement Award

This young lady joined us here at Striders almost a year ago. She joined us as a quiet and shy lady, but what a difference a year can make. She definitely cannot be called shy now! Her first run was the Betty Willett 5K and she has improved her times in every race since that. She has even graduated to the half marathon and has done very well at that distance as well. She has also become one of our regular cross country runners. So for her performance and her happy go lucky attitude throughout the year, an improvement award goes to……

MARIE BACON


Improvement Award

This is the man who said half marathons were too far and only for youngsters! He has run two and has seemed to change his opinion. Apart from his value as a runner, he is one of the most helpful people we have in the club. If he can do something to help out in any way at all, he will. He also contributes a variety of very interesting articles to our newsletter. He is still a very much improving runner. He ran a personal best in the Flitwick 10K, in the Cranfield 5miles and also in the Standalone 10K. He ran his first half marathon in sunny Lisbon and managed to run a personal best in the not so sunny Bedford half marathon. After a year like that, an improvement award goes to……

BOB WOODALL


Improvement Award

This lady is another product of the beginners group from April. She has run very well in every race where she has represented the club. She has been involved in nearly every event we have organised, both running and non running. But cross country would seem to be her favourite event. She has turned out for nearly all our cross country events and ran very well in all of them, and more importantly, has enjoyed all of them. For what she has achieved since she joined us, an improvement award goes to……

JANE KELSO


Improvement Award

This lady has been running for a couple of years and she now seems to be enjoying it more than ever! You can see her before the race, in the middle of the race or even at the end – with a big smile, spread right across her face. This can not be said for many runners particularly in the cross country! But she even manages a big smile then.
She started her year with a PB in the Woburn 10k and then recorded three more PB’s throughout the year. She also managed to run her first half marathon on one of the hottest days of the year in St Albans. She has run nearly all our cross country races this year as well. So long may she keep running and smiling! An improvement award goes to:

ELAINE HARRIES


Improvement Award

This lady races all over the country throughout the year. She started her year on January 1st in Dorset whre she ran a Personal best in the Bournemouth half marathon. She was a scoring member of our ladies cross country team on quite a number of occasions. She also ran at Biddenham, the Boscome 10K and the Henlow 10 miles. But one of her best performances of the year was in our own ladies 5k at Wardown in July, where she ran a PB and was first Super Vet. But her running, is only half of her contribution to the club. Her other asset, and most important for the rest of us, is her supply of food on Birthday Party nights. Every month without fail you can rely on this lady for her apple tart! And other delightful treats!
So after a successful year of running an improvement award goes to

MIRANDA MORGAN


Improvement Award

When this lady joined us here at Striders a few years ago, racing was one of the last things on her mind. She needed to be able to run fast enough in certain distances to be in a position to apply for a job with the fire brigade. She has done a lot of her Thursday night training with the same speed work group and they can vouch for just how hard she has worked. Last May she said she had been talked into running the Milton Keynes half marathon, approximately seven weeks later she asked “can I do it?” She was told “yes you can” and she did! Mind you she said that the first ten miles were not too bad but the last three were very hard! She seems to be getting into the habit of racing now and has competed in the Buntingford 10miles and performed well. The best news of all for her is that she has managed to run under the times she needed and has qualified for the fire service.  So an improvement award goes to:

NIKKI COX


Improvement Award

This young lady started her year with a personal best in the Exeter 10k. She then ran the Flitwick 10k where she ran another PB and also finished second junior lady in the county championship. She ran her first half marathon in the Great West Run and then ran another PB in the Ladies 5k and in the Wardown 5k. She also finished first junior in the Glen Miller run. She is also a member or our ladies cross country team. After an impressive year of running an improvement award goes to:

CHRISTINA PARRETT

Unfortunately she cannot be with us tonight as she is supporting Chris who is running in the Indoor British University Championships.


Performance Award

This young lady had such a good first four months of the year that we could have picked any one of about six events to choose from to talk about and give an award for. She had a least four personal best runs and a first, second and third place finishes in races. We hope she agrees with our decision even though she only finished in second place for this particular event. We have chosen her for a Performance Award for her PB run of 1hr 29 minutes and a second place finish in the Norwich half marathon. 

LOUISE PETERS


Performance Award

This young man really made the transition from junior to senior in 2006. It is once again a matter of which event we choose. It could have been any one of four. We have chosen the Leighton Buzzard 10miles where he finished his first 10 mile race in tenth place in a brilliant time of 60 minutes and 29 seconds and was first junior and senior man in the county championship. A Performance Award goes to:

CHRIS GREEEN

Unfortunately he cannot be with us tonight as he is competing in the Indoor British University Championships


Performance Award

After trying  few times to train for a marathon this man finally got through his build up without a serious injury and it showed in his finishing time. After seeing him a few times on the course it was pointed out that even at 23miles he was still full of running and even bouncing along. We feel that there is still quite a lot of improvement to come. So after knocking 15 minutes off his P.B. in the London Marathon, an Improvement Award goes to:

PAUL KEECH


Performance Award

This man has run a lot of marathons. But for a few years he found that his times had slowed a bit. But in 2006 he got himself back in shape and everything was back on track. He is one of the fortunate runners who never does speed work. This is not by choice but he always gets injured when he does. But he seems to have done very well without it this year. A Performance Award goes to this man for his 3hr 10mins 29 seconds in the London Marathon.

GRAHAM BUSCH


Performance Award

For many years this man said that he would never run a marathon. Now he has run two! He may have taken early retirement to train for this one but it was worth the price because it paid off very well for him, giving him a personal best. We know just how hard he worked in his preparation but it just proves the point that if you put in the work you can usually get the right result! This year he is taking a break from the marathon but is hoping to compete again in 2008, to celebrate his 60th birthday. We think that the man who said many times that he would never run a marathon could now be hooked on the event! So for his London Marathon PB of 3hrs 32 mins 42 seconds a Performance Award goes to:

DAVE DEBNAM


Performance Award

This lady only joined us recently on our beginners course. She has more ability than she uses! She needs to be “pushed” – her own words! We have no doubt that if this lady works hard at her running she has a lot more improvement to come. So for her personal improvement in the Standalone 10k, a Performance Award goes to:

JENNA LITCHFIELD


Performance Award

This lady has now been with us at Striders for a couple of years and has done a lot of racing from Scotland down to the South of England. She has run a lot of personal best’s over the year and was improving with every race until she found she had a slight problem. This is the case for many women – pregnancy! At the moment she is not running at all, but she ran the Glasgow Ladies 10k and knocked off over 2 minutes from her previous PB which means that she has improved her 10k time from the previous year by 12 ½ minutes. So for her run in the Glasgow Ladies 10k. A Performance Award goes to:

JAYNE REECE


Performance Award

This man is not a big racer but this time he armed himself with a schedule, grit and determination and followed it to the letter! It proved to work well for him. After running a few local races as part of his training he went to Dublin to run the Marathon. He had a very good run and ran a personal best by 30 minutes 43 seconds. A Performance Award goes to:

KIERAN FITZPATRICK


Performance Award

Parliament Hill Fields is not an easy cross country course for anybody to run! In the 2006 National Cross Country Championship, this man had the run of his life! He was our first Strider home on the day and he just could not be caught! It has never happened before or since – savour the moment always! We all knew that he was running well at the time but not that well! Mind you he had a good coach at the time someone who had done it all herself before. So for his run in the National Cross Country a Performance Award goes to:

MARTIN MITCHELL


Performance Award

Once again we are in the position of which event do we choose to give this award for as there have been so many good runs and personal bests for this man. He has improved all year until he got injured in August but thankfully he is now back running again and almost to his best. Even though he won the Vauxhall 3 race series we feel that his best run was in the Whipsnade 10k, where he finished in eighth place with a time of 37 minutes 12 seconds, a PB by 42 seconds. A Performance Award goes to:

MATT THOMPSON


Performance Award

This man’s season started as his last one ended – with a personal best in the Folksworth 15 miles. Everything seemed to point to his ambition of another sub 3hour marathon in London. But as most runners know when you are on a high and going well that is when the dreaded injury is most likely to strike! And sure enough that is exactly what happened! It was a case of trying to train and rest the injury where possible. He thought very carefully about whether or not to go “sick and lame” and hold his marathon place over for the following year. He managed to compete in a couple of long races which included the Finchley 20 but things were not going well for him and his times were way down. He decided to run the 20 mile training event in Hemel as one last try before deciding what to do about his London place. He finished the run and decided that whilst it was not a great run it was definitely an improvement. Decision time. He decided that he would be able to run a time of 3hours 15 mins which would give him an automatic qualifying time for the following year. After a lot of persuasion from many club members, which continued on the coach to London he decided to “give it a go!” The end result was that he ran a 2hours 59minutes 26 seconds marathon! So a very well deserved Performance Award goes to:

JOHN CHAPMAN


Merit Award

This man has been a member of the club for just over three years. Since that time he has shown great commitment to the club, in performance and in development. It is in the field of development that this award is given. In many sports the role of coaching is a thing people do after they have finished competing. Not so for him, still competing at a high level for himself and for the club, he has devoted time over the last year to attain his Level 1 and now his Level 2 Coaching Award. Already he has established himself as a regular and trusted coach at all levels within the club. This merit award is given to:

STUART HARRIES


Merit Award

This man has been a member of the club for just over three years. Over that period of time he has thrown himself into the life of the club. He runs to a high level and trains for the occasional triathlon. Over this last year he has given up time to attain his Level 1 and recently his Level 2 Coaching Award. Already he is bringing new and innovative methods to his coaching sessions, many of the participants in his sessions are working towards their “John Cleese” awards for “Silly Walks”! He has shown already that he can coach at all levels within the club and bring a smile to the participants’ faces. This merit award is given to :

MATTHEW THOMPSON


Merit Award

This man has now entered his fifteenth year with the club. Although the past 12 months have been particularly disappointing for him as far as his running and health have been concerned, he has shown a real desire to maintain his strong links with the club and to share his experience with other members of the club. He has also wanted to give opportunity to some of the older members of the club who still want to improve  their running and produce improved run for age performances. Over the last year he has worked hard to attain his Level 1 and Level 2 coaching awards and also brings a recently acquired first aid qualification to the club. This merit award is given to

TOM McKEOWN


Merit Award

This lady has been with the club for over twenty – one years. She still runs to a high standard. She has made it known that she wants to give every opportunity to the older runner in the club, to develop and improve their times. Also for those members to continue to have fun whilst training. She is constantly thinking of new activities to bring into her coaching sessions. She has recently developed an indoor session which incorporates all the elements of a speed and agility work out. I know she avidly reads the running press and magazines in order to find even more ways to develop and invigorate the sessions she runs. Over the last year she gained her Level 1 Coaching Award and is working on her Level 2 Award which she should receive early this year. This merit award is given to

BREDA HAUGHTON


Merit Award

This man has, for many years, been the backbone of the coaching regime within the club. Over the years he has run coaching sessions on club nights and at least one session on a night outside of the club meetings. I think he has lost count of the training plans he has produced for club members over the years so they have been able to perform at their best, at all distances, but particularly half and full marathon. All he has ever asked is that the athlete replicates the effort he has put into the plans that he has prepared. I know that he is the sort of man who runs every session mentally with the athlete and in his mind runs every step of the final race with them. He has given many, many runners the confidence to achieve goals they thought they could only dream of. He has been at the forefront of encouraging other members to undertake and achieve Level 2 Coaching status. He has been to them an advisor and mentor. He is acutely aware that new ideas have to be brought into coaching along side the experience he already holds. For the many years already given and hopefully many more in the field of coaching this merit award is given to:

BILL BARRETT


Ken Abbott Award

This award normally goes to somebody who has suffered a serious or long term injury or set back and has managed to recover and get back to running in the face of adversity.

This man has been a member of the club for eighteen years. This man has been a contributor to the club throughout the years. However over the last few years he has suffered from injury that has severely precluded his running. I know that this was deeply frustrating to him. However he kept in touch with the club during his long recuperation and in fact led the yearly club quiz which he themes in his own style. His continued contributions in the form of marshalling and articles to the striding magazine show the continued support that this member gives to the club. He has worked hard in regaining his fitness and over the last twelve months has been back to his best. His performances have reflected times which were equal to if not better than times he had run in previous years. In fact the times show a great level of recovery. This man shows that although injury can frustrate you, there is light at the end of the tunnel and the possibility of improved performances as a reward for your hard work. The recipient of this years KEN ABBOTT Award is:

DAVE “Tight Fit” THOMPSON


Chairman’s Award

This is a new award which is in the hands of the Chairman to award for exceptional and continued service to Stopsley Striders. This year the award goes to a lady who over her 23 years with the club has been prepared to give service for the members of the club past and present. She has served as a committee member for many years, including a period as Chairperson. She has represented the club at Bedfordshire AAA level and has voiced the views of our club and those of other Road Running clubs in the county. At the committee meetings she keeps us on the straight and narrow by reminding us of some protocols, which allow the club to function efficiently, in a friendly and caring way. She reminds us of anniversaries and special events, and is to the fore in making sure they are properly commemorated. On behalf of the club, she buys the most appropriate cards for members who are sick, injured or celebrating  special birthdays or significant events. Over the course of a running year from your performances she produces the Club Championship Certificates. These she individually hand writes, ensuring each member is correctly recognised for their effort. In recent years she has been the main organiser behind the monthly birthday socials. She has also played a leading role in raising money for our yearly club charities. She throws herself into the varied club social events and is always in attendance. She produces and edits our club magazine. This lady ensures that members who may have difficulty getting to club events have the opportunity of transport to them. Beginning this year she is maintaining a register of attendance for the club. This is so we can identify members who are not coming on a regular basis. This will allow us to make contact with them to keep in touch and if required offer help, support and motivation. She steps into the role on the desk on a regular basis. After doing all of this she still manages to run regularly. She has had a full cross country season, attaining a County Championship at her age range. She also attends many races to support Stopsley Striders who are racing in them. This includes her organising of the coach to the London Marathon. The first recipient of the Chairman’s Award is:

HELEN MORRIS


Special Award

This award goes to a man who by now I think we could all refer to as “Mr Marathon”. Dave Young has been associated with the Luton Marathon for many years, the last two years as Race Director. This race is truly a year round organisational event. I think that the effort that has to be put into an event of this kind is reflected in the fact that this is the only marathon in the county. The event itself has to be the biggest participation sporting event in the county, with 920 finishers in the Marathon and Three Stage Relay combined. Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire AAA’s, along with the Civil Service, use the event to determine their championships. The event itself has grown in popularity both nationally and internationally, being recognised as the final marathon to be run in the UK for each calendar year. Entries for the marathon are normally over subscribed the event being full way before the closing date. In 2006 the event was granted the prestigious Gold status by the British Association of Road Races. The proof of any race is in the response of the participants. I know personally of verbal praise being given to the event and organisation on the day. Runners World on line has had 113 respondents to the race giving it an overall satisfaction rating of 76% with 80% saying they would compete in the event again. I know Dave’s modesty will have him giving praise to others involved in the event. However it is his drive, energy, enthusiasm, commitment and attention to detail that allows the event to be such a success and one to be proud to be associated with. I already know that he will be working even harder in 2007 to retain the Gold standard. This well deserved Special Award goes to:

DAVE YOUNG


Merit Award

Borrowing from a well known speech you could describe this mans’ role with three words;

“Communication, Communication, Communication”

He is not a politician but a man who is very much at the forefront of Stopsley Striders, an active committee member, a regular attendee for the club at Beds AAA’s committee meetings and our liaison officer with the running fraternity. He is also a very likeable fellow.
His workload does not end there because he also plays an active and important role for the Luton Marathon. As many of you will know there are various key areas that must be fulfilled before a race can go ahead. One such area is that of marshals.
Marshals do not simply turn up on the day and stand on street corners. A lot of planning is necessary beforehand which involves knowing and understanding the nature of the course, determining where marshals should be located, recruiting them and deciding who will be best suited for a given position.
Each marshal must be briefed on their duties and instructed on what is expected of them, what their duties entail to ensure the safe passage of both the runners and the public and what to do in the event of an emergency.
For the past few years this man has taken on the role of Chief Marshal and made sure that they were properly equipped for the task ahead. He has gone about this task in the same way he goes about everything else he does, diligently and in a quiet and competent manner. He attends most marathon meetings and takes an active role in the decision making process.
You will have also have seen him helping out at the Race for Life, Stopsley Striders Ladies 5K, Three Counties Cross Country series and taking your annual subscriptions.
A capable and valued member of this club, the recipient of this Merit Award goes to your Club Secretary

CHRIS McLAREN


Merit Award

This man seems to have his fingers in so many pies. He is a very popular and well-respected member of the club, a member of the committee and a past Chairman of this club. He spends a lot of his time, and lets face it he now has plenty of it having retired only a short while ago, devoted to the club in various ways distinct from his running. His responsibilities include Webmaster of both the very successful and informative club and Luton Marathon websites, ordering and taking stock of the club kit, organising away days and weekends for various club cross country championship trips, to name but a few. Many of you will remember December 3rd last year. It was the day of the Luton Marathon. The previous night had been stormy and wet to say the least and there were fears that the weather conditions might force a decision as to whether the race should even go ahead. On arriving out on the course at 06.30am the rain was lashing down and the wind was so strong that the rain was almost horizontal to the ground but this did not deter this man from going about his business. He completed setting up a section of the course without complaint, such is the measure of this man. Having completed that task, he took on the responsibilities of Finish Director and continued by setting up and taking control of the Finish and Relay Changeover areas in time for the start of the race. It was the beginning of a long and busy day. The success of any organisation is due in part to the calibre of the people who run it and this man can certainly take credit for helping to shape Stopsley Striders into the well-respected force that it is today.

This well earned Special Award goes to

DAVE DEBNAM


Special Award

This man has been an athlete in the true sense of the word for many years with a record of race times that would be the envy of any member of this club. His best time for a marathon is 2 hours 35 minutes, for 10 miles – 53 minutes and for 5k – 15 mins 50 seconds. He enjoys running so much that in August 2005 he decided to run every day for a year. By August 2006 he achieved his goal. Not satisfied with that he decided to keep on running every day until the end of the year.
Still not satisfied, he continues to run every day a distance of not less than three miles, last year averaging 35 miles per week increasing to 45 miles per week from 1st January 2007. That said he would be the first to admit that Ron Hills record for running every day will not be under threat!
Nevertheless, a remarkable achievement since we have all experienced days where nothing on earth will persuade us to put on our running shoes and go for a run. No such feelings of reluctance for this man. His enthusiasm for running is uncompromising and he has competed for the club in the Southern Counties Cross-Country Championships and the Three Counties Cross-Country league often holding a scoring position. On the road he was 1st vet 50 in the Barton 10K last June. A good clubman, he drove the club team in a mini bus to the Southern Counties XC Championships in Exeter and subsequently to Leeds and Birmingham. Not only does he excel at running but he was also part of the winning team in last years quiz night.

A well deserved Special Award goes to

DEREK CHRISTOPHER


Special Award

This individual can be described as a committed clubman who would be a useful addition to any kitchen! He is a chef by trade and we have all enjoyed the fayre he has produced for the monthly club social evenings. Last year he came up with the idea of organising a Summer BBQ and agreed to provide the food and cook it himself. The evening was a great success and one that I am sure will be repeated in the future. Apart from his culinary expertise this man has experienced some good racing results despite having some metalwork in his knee. This includes the Edinburgh Marathon, which he completed in a respectable time of 4hours 27 minutes. As a team player he also competed in the Three Counties Cross Country League at Wotton and Biggleswade. This man shares the spirit of what Stopsley Striders is all about, and this well deserved Special Award goes to

ERNIE WILLOCK


Special Award

This individual often seems to have his fingers in various pies. He is a level 2 club coach who is actively involved in the very successful Beginners Course although much credit for the success of that course lies jointly with various others here tonight as well. An active committee member, he might also be described as the club ‘travel agent’ since he spends some of his time researching the next club foreign trip and seeking the best deal for flights and accommodation. He has played a key role in the Ladies 5k over the years as Race Director and doubled up as the timekeeper on the day. He is actively involved in the Luton Marathon attending various committee meetings and more recently has taken responsibility for organising the children’s ‘fun’ runs on the day, organised as part of a community project in conjunction with the schools local to Marsh Farm. Once these races are completed he then reverts to back-up timekeeper for the marathon to ensure there is duplicate data to support the main results.

This well earned special award goes to

PHIL ABBITT


Special Award

If you were to receive a ‘pat on the back’, or a ‘tap on the shoulder’ from this man you might well have cause for surprise, concern – or both. Certainly it could be construed as an ‘arresting’ experience for some but I am sure that would not be the case for anyone here tonight! This man is quick to recognise other people’s attributes, their successes and achievements and will also acknowledge the efforts of those who are less fortunate or are working hard to resume their fitness following a period of injury, personal hardship or adversity. That said, this past year has not been easy for him having been dogged with a long-term knee injury requiring surgery and it is good to see that he is now out running again and we wish him well in his recovery. He is an active member of the committee, a natural ‘leader’ who is not afraid to make decisions having taken on board the views of others. More recently he qualified as a coach and I am sure he will be seen putting some of you through your paces on club nights. Currently he is pursuing a new venture to occupy his time in preparation for his retirement, that of a Toast Master, something to which he will be well suited and as it happens, could have been put to good use tonight! Without a doubt he is a great supporter of this club and what it stands for. Even when not running, you will find him at races supporting others, cheering them on if not carrying their baggage. This award is not just about his committee work, nor is it about his personal attributes, of which there are many. His sincerity, his calm manner, good counsel and his wicked sense of humour to name but a few. But, like a lot of people here tonight, this man has supported the Luton Marathon in various ways over past few years having taken on the dual roles of Course Director and Health and Safety Officer. There is no doubt he has occupational advantages for these two roles that the majority of us do not possess and for a race organiser it is always reassuring to have competent people in key positions.
This well earned Special Award goes to your club Chairman

TONY GREEN

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