CHAIRMAN’S REPORT 2018.

It does not seem like a year since my last report and I would say that 2018 has been a period of consolidation at our new home at Shildon.

We did not know how the year would pan out with regards the facilities for both the seniors and the juniors and we have had some bad nights which almost certainly at our old venue would have resulted in the track been out of use. Not so at Shildon and other than a couple of times when the track has been iced up it has never been closed.

 
We have had some discussions with both the council and other clubs in the area to try and get some funding to improve the facilities and in particular the throwing cage. This will enable the venue to be used for other events and to increase the profile of the facility which in turn could attract new members.

 
Talking of new members over 90% of the members renewed last year and we have seen a steady increase in new members throughout thel last 12 months. A special mention to Joanne Raine who ran a couch to 5K group last year and we will be looking to repeat this in the next few months probably in the Spring/early Summer when the weather is better and we have light nights.

I joined a discussion group organised by EA and certainly a number of other clubs run these and it is a source of new members. We cannot however leave this just to one member to organise so please if you are able to help please let one of the committee know.

 
The XC has been a further disappointment and I know this has been highlighted on Facebook with some negative comments. Some members will never do a XC just as some will never do a Parkrun. If you do a XC does this mean you are better than someone else who shows no interest.This debate would not really matter if the club had more members but every competing athlete will have their own priorities and for a number it does not include XC.

As we stand at present the Senior Men do look as though they will gain promotion to Second Division fingers crossed. The ladies have continued to add numbers to those taking part.

As the junior section continues to develop it is good to see these numbers swell and this bodes well for the future providing these juniors do not lose interest in athletics or get poached by other clubs in the area.

 
We are a little bit stuck with what we can do for both the handicap and trying to put on the relays.

It would be virtually impossible to run the handicap from Shildon along the roads as there are simply too many. We did trial in the Summer going back to Wolsingham School and using the course up the reservoir but members voted with their feet and we had on most nights less than 10 taking part with many still using the track at Shildon. Clearly this sends a strong message that members are not willing to travel once a month to Wolsingham.

The Relays had previously been run as many of will know from Peases West again very much off road. If we wanted to do something around Shildon we would have to apply for a licence and the costs go up dramatically or we need to find a venue to arrange it from. If any one has any bright ideas otherwise I cannot see this event taking place for another year.

Phil Carter has changed the format of the handicap to the first part being a 1 mile time trial. I have not received any negative feedback but again if anyone has any ideas which could improve the first night of the month now is your chance to speak up.

 
I have had no dialogue with anyone from Crook Community Leisure in the last 12 months I am aware that they have set up their own running group and the foodlights are up and running. Generally I do not think there is much of an appetite for the club to go back to Crook and certainly not whilst the current committee from CCL are in place.

At the recent Junior Presentation Night I was approached by a couple of the local councillors who would appear to be on our side and have said that things are changing but at this stage it is pure speculation.

 
I have repeated every year I am in this role that the club does not run itself and there is a lot of work which people put in behind the scenes to making the club work.

I could spend the next 30 minutes going through some of the things people do form the captains to the ordering of running gear.

At the end of last year Rob Teasdale stepped down as the editor of Crook Ed and thankfully Matthew Hargraves stepped into the breach. I know there are not many clubs of our size that have a weekly edition. Matthew has made some changes but the success of Crook Ed is down to us all and I repeat if everyone just contributes one article a year without the other bits then we will not be having to scrat around for articles.

 
The presidents' ball had been run the previous 2 years but sadly despite some members crying off and unable to commit to the first provisional night in May the event was put back to September. Again we simply did not have sufficient numbers to make the event viable and it had to be cancelled.

Both Simon and Geoff had put in a lot of hard work in getting the venue and the meal sorted out so unless there is a lot more commitment I cannot see this taking place in 2019 sadly.

 
I know some informal running groups take place but a mention here goes to Gerry Hehir for the Thursday night session. I will not bore people with the history behind this but it now takes place from Parkside School every Thursday 6 for 6.15pm. Most sessions are recovery sessions which include a number of hills. There is an increasing number joining in these sessions. We go out as a group and come back as a group so effectively we take into account all abilities. Surprisingly we have some who come to this session and not Tuesday. It is not a closed club so the more the merrier.

 
It is also worth mentioning the Junior section which meets on a Thursday evening and has now changed all the sessions to Shildon. I do not have much involvement. It has its own committee, arranges it’s own fundraising and has become an increasing success within the club. We have started to see a small number of the juniors on the instruction of the junior coaches being invited to attend the Tuesday evening sessions.

There is a separate agenda item in the AGM where Colin Everson has raised some points for discussion.

 
The club presentation night will take place on Saturday 9th February 2019 at Bishop Auckland FC. The cost is £6 which includes food and names and monies to Rob, please. Please remember that the committee puts a lot of work into drawing up the shortlist and this is a very difficult job in itself. The rest is down to the members who vote for the trophies and it is as simple as that. Nothing is fixed.

 

The London Marathon entry looks like it will remain at 1. The club registers the individual concerned after the ballot takes place and the member then has to register themselves. At this point, the club’s involvement ceases. Unfortunately Chloe Batson last year had to drop out due to injury and there was no way that entry could sadly be passed to another member. This could happen to anyone.

For 2019 Steve Mills was the lucky entry and hopefully, he will take his place in April and wear his Crook vest with pride.

 
For all our new members I wish you every success in your running whether this is just social running or representing the club in various events. Do not feel you are under any pressure first and foremost it is enjoyment.

I am sure as we start the Spring season and the focus turns to the track and field events at NEMA then we will be organising some training nights especially for the field events.

I know Geoff and Jayne are keen to get more members involved with the emphasis on fun and scoring points for the club.

For all the “old” members good luck for 2019.

 
GRAHAM LAVERICK
CHAIRMAN JANUARY 2019.