I said that 2018 was a period of consolidation at our new home and we have certainly built on the foundations laid in the last 18 months.

It is now certainly inconceivable that the club would consider a move back to Peases West.

 

We have had a series of meetings with other clubs and representatives from the local council to try and obtain funding for both the track and the facilities at the track. There is only a limited amount of time before the track will need to be relaid which clearly is the priority. It is a bit of a chicken and egg in that the cage needs to be replaced. Without the cage it will be virtually impossible to attract fixtures to the track. There is however no other facilities in the South Durham area which can hold fixtures so on a positive note we remain hopeful that funding will be become available in 2020.

 

We seem to be attracting new members on a regular basis and we are hopeful that this will continue. Posters and leaflets have been given out to a number of venues and we have also increased the club’s profile via social media. All the club members can help and try to recruit new members.

The renewal of members has been a slight increase over 2018, we lost Markim Lonsdale which while disappointing was inevitable due to his profile. The club wishes him well as we will watch his athletic career with interest.

 

On the theme of new members Jo Raine will be running a couch to 5K again in the Spring on the back of the previously successful sessions.

 

The XC season has been somewhat disappointing as we reach the halfway stage due to the weather which has seen some of the fixtures cancelled due to the weather. Here’s hoping that 2020 is a bit kinder with the weather. I would see this year as a period of consolidation and we have a number of new members taking part with total enthusiasm. It does appear that we now have a lot more strength in depth and this is both for the men and women.

We also seem to have had a good turnout from the junior section.

 

I mentioned last year about the handicap and the relays and there seems to have been no change here. The 1 mile timed handicap has gone down well and the numbers have held up each month.

We did re introduce the club 10K and 5K back at the old venue and there was a strong view that this should be repeated throughout the Summer months.

Using Shildon for the monthly handicap also has a slight benefit for the club as it overall does not add to the subsidy for the track.

As will be discussed under the Treasurers report we have run a small deficit on the track over the last 12 months. There is no proposal to increase the £2 per session fee and I am confident that if the numbers continue to rise the deficit will be eliminated.

 

I have repeated on every occasion I have been the club chairman that the club does not run itself and there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes.

For the last 2 years Matthew Hargraves has been running Crook Ed and has formally announced that he will be stepping down so we are looking for a new editor and for someone to make sure the website is up to date.

It would also be good if someone could take over the other social media tasks and to send race reports to the local press which has gone onto the back burner since Craig Downs stepped down.

Crook Ed relies on us all and I repeat if every member did just one article per annum just think how big the content would be.

 

We are also having a change with the club captains and the committee is proposing that we revert back to the old system of a men’s and ladies captain and also vice captain’s.

This has resulted in nominations to some of the posts which shows the depth of members and is a first under my leadership.

 

The presidents ball looks like there is no appetite and did not take place in 2019. We are trying a different format to the presentation night for 2020.

This will take place on Saturday 14th March at the Redworth Hall and will include a 3 course meal and we have a special guest in Alyison Dixon who will give a talk and make the presentations.

Again a special thanks to Geoff and the team who have the difficult task of formulating the short list. Remember the winners are voted by the club members and not the committee.

Let’s make this a great night and make sure this goes on the annual calendar.

 

The Thursday night sessions are still run by Gerry Hehir at Willington Parkside and we seem to have a hardcore group. These are always a recovery session although how you can say a session on the hills is recovery beats me. As I have said in the past we go out as a group and come back as a group so no one is left out.

It is also pleasing to note that there are a number of ad hoc sessions that are run throughout the week.

 

The juniors continue to meet at Shildon on a Thursday night and Colin Everson has produced a separate report later on the agenda. We do hope a number of the juniors will be able to step up to the seniors on both a Tuesday and Thursday evening.

 

Steve Mills represented the club at the London Marathon in 2019 we have been successful in the ballot again for 2020 and we had a record number of members who put their names forward and Jane Henderson won the nomination. Jane will be able to run side by side with Gerry who is also taking part this year.

I know they are not the only Crook runners taking part so I wish all taking part good luck with all the hard work in these cold and dark nights. Remember Winter miles Summer smiles.

 

The club is very close knit and friendly and this is its success. No pressure in taking part in events but please remember that if you put your name down particular for a relay and you then have to cry off it is often difficult to get other club members to run especially at short notice. Often we have to commit teams well before the event and it’s not fair on the team captains having to juggle the numbers.

I have been approached by one of the members in the last couple of weeks to put forward a club season handicap based on a number of fixtures throughout the year. This is an exciting development and this has the backing of the committee and I do hope that the club does support this, it has been discussed in the past and has never got off the ground, although a number of other clubs in the area runs these handicaps.

 

Finally a special mention to one of our un sung heroes Harry Binyon who has been recognised in the New Year’s Honours List. This is totally deserved. Harry is involved in all aspects of the club as both Treasurer always his last year to running the coaching sessions for the juniors on a Thursday night. On behalf of everyone at the club well done Harry.

 

As we close the first month of 2020 and we have had a number of races already with a number of successes for Crook members good luck to everyone this year both old and new.

No one is under pressure to complete it is all about the taking part and enjoying the spirit which is Crook AC.

 

GRAHAM LAVERICK

CHAIRMAN JANUARY 2020