In normal times Biddulph Running Club holds its annual Christmas Party and Awards Ceremony around the first weekend in January. This year things are very different. The party cannot possibly take place due to the pandemic and there have been very few races that went ahead so the Club Championship awards (based on points collected in a range of races during the year) has been cancelled for 2020.
There is one award however that still applies and this is the Chair-Persons award. Biddulph Running Club's chair-lady Tracy Shufflebottom put a lot of thought into who deserved this award. Tracy felt that the award should go to the person who has made the most improvement over the year. This year has been very difficult for everyone and it has been hard to keep the motivation going especially when you are new to the sport and suddenly find yourself having to run alone a lot of the time.
Tracy had this to say.
"2020 began with much promise as each year does but despite the challenges I am immensely proud of the achievements of all members of Biddulph Running Club both running and the efforts of the committee in keeping us together even virtually.
I look forward, like everyone else, to the day when we can gather and train together in unlimited numbers. But until then we will continue to celebrate being part of something good.
This year's Chairman's award has, as always, rewarded a club member whose story chronicles someone who has shone in the journey of running but who is not always the first past the post.
While we cannot award the championship trophies for the races on the list, I can delight in giving the chair's award to Mark Payne."
Mark Payne joined Biddulph Running Club's "New to Running" course in 2019 and has gone from strength to strength. Like others he had made plans for 2020 to enter races and to improve his distance and times. He ran his first 5 mile race at Alsager at the beginning of the year but the subsequent lockdowns soon put a finish to his racing.
Undeterred he joined in some of the challenges arranged by the club including the Lockdown Bingo Challenge and also completed several virtual races. He has added trail running to his list of achievements and even though he sustained an injury that kept him out of running for a good couple of months, he returned even stronger and managed to realise his target running over 550 miles in 2020.
Two special "recognition" Chair-Persons awards were given out this year and these went to Katie Trace and Simon Hodgkiss. Katie and Simon both gave up a lot of their time and put a lot of effort into arranging challenges for club members to take on during lockdown. They included "Race around the World", "Lockdown Bingo", "Thunder Run 12hr Team Challenge" and various on and off-road pairs and team group runs (socially distanced and when allowed) both locally and in the Peak district and Derbyshire Dales.
Well done Mark Payne, Katie Trace and Simon Hodgkiss.
Watch the chair-person's speech here note - this is a large video and may take some time to load.
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