The key discussions for everyone at the 2022 AGM centred on the question ‘what do you want the club to be? (We aren’t the club we were in 1990, 2019,2020)’. We need to be an open club, where all members feel they are able to contribute. We are open to suggestions and anybody should feel able to play a part. These are some questions to provoke discussion but we don’t need to be limited by them – what are the key issues people like, don’t like, want to include. Etc.
Everyone attending (41 people) took part in round table discussions and fed back their views, many of which were common around the room, and are summarised here:
- Generally people particularly enjoyed club events such as (and these were specifically named): Distance Challenge (especially), Naked 5k, Steynfield, Virtual Endure 24 (even though we only did that once, during lockdown in 2020)
- Everyone also agreed that other Club events would be more popular in the future too, including (but not limited to) Roundhill Romp, Clarendon; Day on the Downs, Three Peaks Challenge (or something similar)
- Winning the South Downs Way Relay was a great achievement and very motivating to a relatively small club like ours. However the downside of focusing on performance (as it needs to be for this) is that is it can be seen to be a closed or more elite event, and encouraging more people to participate would be even more motivating. Ensuring that selection criteria were transparent and team selection communicated clearly, having open competition and opening up support roles (driver/co driver etc), possibly even having a supporters minibus?
- The general feeling was that after the ‘Covid years’ of 2020 and 2021, during 2022 everyone was being a bit cautious and adjusting to the ‘new post-covid’ period, and that 2023 would see more people being involved in Club events
- This especially included getting more involved in Fun Runs. These had been generally poorly attended in 2022 resulting in Henfield being at the bottom the West Sussex Fun Run League. The phrase ‘make them a habit’ was used, along with the need for car sharing as being unsure of where to park was one factor that discouraged some people.
- To help with this there was seeming unanimous agreement that a Calendar of Events for the year (and not just a few days or weeks beforehand) would be a huge help, allowing people to plan properly. Spond was praised and using this to list Events across the year was seen as very desirable.
- In terms of the Handicap, the consistent feedback was that this should definitely continue, but only in the Winter months of darkness (Oct to March). It was also felt that the distance (currently 3.6 miles) should be made to be 5k as this is a standard ‘distance’ and would align with PB stats and Park Runs etc, and be simplified so that it was easy to remember or show to newcomers. This should be run as the ‘only’ option (ie, first Wednesday of the winter months is Handicap night) on the first Club Wednesday of each month. Anyone finishing the Handicap route would then (after checking in and recording their time) have the option of running further if they felt they wanted to. And afterwards it would be an opportunity to meet up in a pub (tbd) informally (see Social)
- With formal weekly Club runs it was felt generally that running mostly trail was what was wanted, but adapting around the weather/light conditions such that more road running was done in the winter. It didn’t need to be confined to Henfield though, and running some of the paved routes around Partridge Green and Cowfold to create variety was suggested. Especially as our core membership covers these areas.
- For informal (weekend) runs there was an awareness that while there were several ‘group’ runs taking pace, they needed to be made more ‘open’ for people to choose to join in, with ‘pace/distance’ information so people could make a choice. There already is a ‘HJ Hookup’ group on WhatsApp though this has only been used sporadically for arranging informal runs. Generally the weekend was felt to be an opportunity for more ‘informal’ (but still HJ) runs to be set up and communicated.
- It was felt that the Pub Runs were extremely popular and just right in terms of frequency and distance. The occasional winter pub run has been suggested but generally the feeling was that these are ‘spring/summer’ favourites, with less support for ‘all year round’. And like Fun Runs, the use of car sharing should be promoted.
- Generally everyone loved our social events, and Berretts was seen as a really good fit for the Club. However it was also noted that we lack a ‘proper’ social calendar, and one comment was that ‘it would be nice to have one ‘posh’ event a year where we don’t wear lycra!’. This also resonated in discussions about the Handicap and how to retain new members, as it was strongly felt that while HJ is a social club, most socialising will take place at a social event, and we haven’t held very many. Therefore a key plank in encouraging people to run with us regularly and to run the handicap is to stay out for a drink or two at a pub on a monthly basis. Having complicated meal booking/meal deals was not something that seemed to be important – everyone can choose for themselves whether it’s a quick social drink and home for dinner, eating while chatting, or a full night out. No need for the Club to get involved. Linking back into having a diary so that everyone knows when a summer/winter social might be held was also seen as key to participation. We all have busy lives and many need lots of notice to be able to align home/family lives around wanting to be somewhere HJ on a given date/time.
- While everyone thought that it was great that HJ had members who also did other activities (eg: Walking, Cycling, Tri, Other non-running events was great and something to be recognised, it was not felt that any of this should be a formal subgroup of Henfield Joggers
- While no specific charities were named as possible recipients of donations or activities to support, the unanimous feedback was that whatever charities we end up helping they should be LOCAL and with sustainable principles.
OTHER AGENDA ITEMS
- England Athletics Affiliation Requirements (Andy) – Over the last 12 months England Athletics have begun imposing a series of Standards for Clubs who wish to affiliate, and HJ now therefore need to ensure these standards (all of which we support fully) are met. While we are mostly already compliant there are several areas we need to address, including having a Code of Conduct for all members. This will be a subject that will be addressed by the new, incoming, Committee for 2023.
- Election of 2023 Committee – Hugh Martin stepped down and was recognised and thanked for his service both to the Committee and to the Club, as a Founder Member who was on the initial run on 1st April 1990.
- Mark Skilton was nominated Paul Crowe, seconded by Mandy Kianfor, and unanimously elected as the first ever Chair of Henfield Joggers (in compliance with England Athletics requirements)
- The new Committee consists of: Mark Skilton, Paul Crowe, Liz Pamment, Andy James, Guy Hudson, Kas Fletcher, Lorna Winter, Mel Lowen-Roberts, Ian Newbold, Daisy Stoddart and Shaun Bigg. Exact roles will be confirmed once the initial Committee meeting has been held.
- New Club Logo/Kit – Guy presented the options for a new logo, all designed by Caroline King, and the winning design was chosen by a margin of 26 votes to 15 (the third option received no votes). This has been communicated separately. Kit options were also presented and the most positive feedback was for the higher quality kit which will have the popular black stripe down the sides, the new club logo, and peoples name (assuming selected – it is no extra cost). Guy and Caroline are now working with the supplier (local business GR Teamwear in Burgess Hill) to come up with the exact shirt/vest layout and will communicate more when everything is decided. Gross cost is £34 per shirt but a subsidy will be applied so the cost for members will be lower – this will be worked out by the Committee and notified in due course. GR Teamwear will also supply other branded sportswear (eg Hoodies) as desired as part of the arrangement, though these items will not be subsidised. More to follow in due course.
- Training – This was well thought of and John was very much appreciated for what he has done with this. More than one person thought this was really for more ‘elite’ runners, mostly because we’d termed it ‘Performance Training’ (now changed to ‘Weekly Training’!) and was encouraged to hear strong supportive words from those who had taken part. The main points raised that people would love to see that would encourage greater participation were:
- Once people have attended a session they ‘get it’, the barrier is encouraging people (regardless of ability) to attend initially – perhaps ‘taster’ sessions? Or specific ‘January – back to the grind’ sessions?
- Monthly Track Night on one of the Thursday training evenings
- ‘Event’ training plans – while it was emphasised that speed/hill reps are a key part of Marathon training the link between Thursday Training and ‘Events (from 5k to Ultra) needs to be made clear (doing ‘this’ will help xxxxx)
- ‘Injury bench’ training – if we can’t run more than one person said they’d appreciate fitness training while others do their reps – partly for support and encouragement as we all know that being injured means that we tend to be out of our ‘community’ for the duration. Communal squat thrusts are the future! (other exercises are available!)
- Weekend repeats of the Thursday exercises – not everyone can make Thursday?
- HJ Junior Section – Shaun Bigg has offered to run this and Spond polling has already shown both support in terms of enough numbers, and also that the age range is viable enough to enable one group. Shaun has joined the Committee with a specific remit around this. The details now need to be worked through so more will be communicated in due course
- London Marathon 2023 Club Place Draw – Andy Massingale drew the lucky winner out of the hat, and the Club place has gone to David Hughes. Just in case David can’t make it, Lesley Kilner was drawn as the back up winner.
- Formal ‘Thank You’s’ went to: John Stoddart for voluntarily running the training sessions week in, week out, rain or shine, regardless of how many attended; Emma Budd and Linda Woolley for meticulously and unselfishly running in a sedate fashion such that no one ever got left behind during weekly Club runs; Chris Bradfield for continuing as the Clubs Official Timer throughout the year and standing in all weathers for the monthly Handicap; Hugh Martin for his sterling service for the Club over 32 years (and counting); and of COURSE to Captains Brown, Tom and Ben, for leading our A and Mixed Teams to victory in the South Downs Way Relay this year, a massive achievement and feather in the cap for the Club, and a real demonstration of teamwork and team spirit.
Thank you to ALL Henfield Joggers, whether active or injured, near or far, regular or infrequent – YOU are our Club. Here’s to another year!
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