A Year in the Life of the Chair
Well what a year and a bit it has proved to be since I was elected as your Chair in March 2016. The role of being your Chair is both a privilege and an important responsibility, in that, I am very mindful that some of the key duties of my role is to represent our club, to help plan our future direction and ambitions and to encourage all our members to participate in as many club activities as possible.
Although there are many good reasons for being the Chair one of the enjoyable aspects is seeing and following all the achievements that club members get up to through participating in a very wide range of running activities.
Individual performances showing much grit and sheer determination are what makes us all, as runners, keen to see what we can achieve and improve upon. However some of the events where club members have been successful is also down to team work in either supporting an individual (Alex Fawcett on the Bob Graham Round); James Boddy and Suzanne Rickard leading our respective Knaresborough Bed Race teams or the wonderful organisation and encouragement from Andy P/Kelly/Gary W for the Harrogate Evening League which has seen a high level of participation from club members.
What club members have clearly demonstrated to me during the last few years is that what once seemed the abnormal in completing various events is now seen as ‘normal’ – these achievements are not by accident as the approach by members is always to train well and prepare properly.
What about the future of the club? The future looks good if we aim for realistic expectations, continue to have the means to invest and develop in our thriving Junior Section and encourage current and new members, through offering a variety of running and social activities.
There is a running and exercise boom going on and our local Park Run at Fountains Abbey is very successful in attracting large numbers of folk every week and in turn we have gained new members through our links to Park Run. Adopting this Park Run a couple of times per year by the club, led by Anneke has further increased our profile considerably as is the resurrection of the Burn Valley Half Marathon in Masham and establishing links with the Masham local community.
We have been based at Ripon Rugby Club since September 2014 and although the situation is not perfect we are mindful to engage as much as possible with the management of the Rugby Club to improve the current facilities – particularly the changing rooms and communications. We are actively leading and participating (with other sporting clubs in Ripon) in monitoring the development of the Army Barracks sites in Ripon for a potential Sports club development – this is obviously a long term aim but the example in Sowerby (Thirsk) does demonstrate what can be achieved.
I am very keen to see our club expand its links with our wider community in Ripon and the immediate area and our recent charity donations show that we are mindful of other organisations that have either a personal connection to a club member (Ripon Food Bank) or such as the Swaledale Mountain Rescue and Yorkshire Air Ambulance, where due to our participation in many trail events, we are mindful of the emergency cover that we may need to rely on – hopefully not.
I am proud to be Chair of Ripon Runners, it is a privilege to run with you and I am very lucky to be part of a very special group of supportive and friendly people.
Keep on running!