Club Training and Activities
A Review of 2020
“The best laid plans of mice and men”
Robert Burns sums up the year perfectly. The year turned out to be a very difficult time for everyone. In January last year we were looking forward to a full calendar of events, the committee were preparing for the AGM and planning the Celebrating Success Ceremony. In the early months of the year the Race Permit had been granted for the Ouse Valley Way Marathon and preparations were well in hand for the race in October. We did not know that it would have to be cancelled.
On 23rd March everything changed. We entered the first “Lockdown”. Exercise outdoors was encouraged but limited to once a day and only with those in the same household. We have been living in some form restriction ever since.
As changes in guidance allowed small groups of up to six to run together club coaches offered interval training “efforts” sessions each week. Social club runs took place in Alconbury.
By the end of June, the Outdoor Centre was open for public use and we were able to return to track but in group of six. This required redrafting the risk assessment needed for the booking and organising a system for members to reserve a place on the session. To ensure everyone had a chance to train, coaches held two consecutive sessions each week. Weekly Hills Training restarted with similar arrangements and two consecutive sessions provided.
In September further changes to the guidance enabled wider participation. This required the appointment of Covid Coordinator for the club. Our Welfare Officer, Emma Stevens, accepted the role and within days she had everything in place to enable coaches and leaders to follow the new procedures and ensure that our activities were safe for our members. Further risk assessments had to be drafted and additional safety measures put in place. We were able to welcome the Juniors back on to the track after such a long absence. Given the disruption to their education it was wonderful to see them back making and renewing friendships and enjoying the chance to run.
Swimming Pools remained closed but Open Water Swimming at Hinchingbrooke Park began and was as popular as ever.
Club runs began initially on a Monday and then on Tuesday evenings. Ironically, many of the Run Leaders were injured and could not help as we got back to running together. The Beginner’s group continued to meet with their leader. This enabled them to continue their progress in running.
Plans were made to commence strength and conditioning sessions indoors for seniors in October and for Juniors in January. However, changes in guidance meant that the senior sessions could not take place. The junior sessions were cancelled as a precaution, coaches preferring to remain outdoors with the children.
When swimming pools were able to open the club set up swimming sessions at Hinchingbrooke, but these were curtailed due to the closure of the pool for maintenance.
The club suspended all club activities before Christmas as a precaution, to reduce contact and the possibility that members and volunteers may have to self-isolate during the very limited holiday period. Then we moved into our current Tier Four restrictions which prolongs the suspension of club activities.
A very frustrating year, but it did provide opportunities to try out some new club activities. The challenge of maintaining the motivation to keep active and enjoy some semblance of togetherness during Lockdown required a different approach.
The Lockdown Relay Series proved very popular with some 80 members taking part. This continues with the Tier Team Trial 60K which started in January.
In the absence of many opportunities to race the two races of the Second Wave Series were a result of great teamwork. It allowed the newly acquired timing system to be tried out with great success. This will prove invaluable in future activities.
Two further races in the series were being finalised before such events had to be cancelled. We have just entered the third period of severe restriction which may last until the Spring.
We know how important resilience is in the endurance sport we enjoy. I think the same resilience has been shown in the club’s response to this most difficult year. We have adapted quickly to the restrictions placed on our activities and have been nimble and imaginative in responding to the continuous changes in regulations over the past months.
This is a tribute to everyone who has given their time and energy to assisting with club activities and to those who are willing to take on the role as an accredited leader, assistant, or coach. In recent years we have recruited over 30 volunteers for these roles. But we need more to join the team and will be launching a recruitment campaign in the weeks ahead. If we are going to make the post vaccine world of 2021 the best year ever, we will need your help.
Keep Active and Keep Safe.