Alnwick Harriers held their Christmas Party at Alnwick Rugby Club on Friday 11th December, along with their end of season award presentations.
Before the food arrived and long before Dominic HARRIS and Shelley COATES got the party started with some high end WAVA score dancing, club Chairwoman Tracey SAMPLE set the ball rolling by introducing Grand Prix supremo John ROSS. 12 Grand Prix trophies were due to be given out by John to the worthy winners, however poor old Gary COWELL missed out as the company entrusted with making and sending the trophies didn’t send Gary’s. But fear not Gary, the trophy will hopefully be with us soon. Many of the trophy winners were in attendance including the easy winner of the 2015 series Lesley MILLER. However a cheer almost as loud as the one for Lesley was reserved for 12th place Tim SHEPHERD who made a late and glorious entrance. In a very amusing speech John gave Harriers the rules for the 2016 Grand Prix series which seemed to go down will with the assembled runners.
Next up came Druridge Bay Parkrun Event Director Mark DOCTOR who was on hand to present the Robert Brown Shield to the Harrier who had achieved the highest WAVA score at the event in 2015. The trophy is named after the late husband of Ella BROWN and it was great that a fellow female Harrier was the winner of this years trophy. Once again up stepped Lesley MILLER to receive the award for a fantastic 84.29% which she achieved at an event in August. In terms of WAVA scores Lesley is the 4th best runner of well over 2100 runners who have taken part in the free, weekly 5k since it started in August 2014. An amazing achievement!
Finally Tracey gave out the coveted end of year awards, the Male and Female Achievement Awards, the Most Improved Male and Female Awards and the Athlete of the Year Trophy. The winners were:
MOST IMPROVED FEMALE-MAUREEN BARTRUM
Maureen has taken her running to a new level this year and has excelled. She has pb’d in all distances and has taken part in and improved her times in many of the Lakeland Trails events in Cumbria. Had it not been for the Gods intervening by forcing the cancellation of the Norman Woodcock 5 Miler recently she’d probably have beaten husband Dave in the Grand Prix. This is probably the only low point in Maureens running year. Well done Maureen! It should be noted that others who were mentioned by the committee were Lisa BASTON and Ella BROWN who would also have made worthy winners.
MOST IMPROVED MALE-RICHARD JOHNSON
Richard has been at the club for just over a year and has gone from average runner to someone with a massive amount of potential. He again has improved on all his times, but possibly the highlight of the year was his superb performance in the Kielder Marathon. He is also a top bloke, has an improving beard and will go from strength to strength in 2016 as long as he stays injury free. Well done Richard! The other Harrier mentioned in discussions was another massive improver in Dominic HARRIS. However he has been at the club for under a year so couldn’t receive the award really. However early odds suggest that he’s one of the favourites for 2016!
FEMALE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD-SHELLEY COATES
Shelley was a very worthy and unanimous winner of this award for her amazing Ultra distance events. As the year has gone on Shelley has taken part in longer and longer events, culminating in the 114k Sandstone Way Trail Race in October. A glutton for punishment it appears that Shelley will be tackling more ridiculous distance events in 2016 and has even persuaded fellow Harriers to enter such events next year. Crazy!
MALE ACHIEVEMENT AWARD-GEOFF CAMPBELL
Again another unanimous choice from the committee Geoff CAMPBELL appears to have misplaced his Harriers vest. However this award was given for his fantastic coaching achievements. Geoff takes out the fast group on a Wednesday night, which incorporates the fastest Seniors and the best of our Juniors. The transition from Juniors to Seniors is made all the more easy by Geoff, and thanks to his great sessions many of these Juniors are becoming top class runners. Well done Geoffrey!
ATHLETE OF THE YEAR-LESLEY MILLER
Lesley MILLER will need a new cabinet at her home in Alnmouth, so perhaps Geoff can help out there? As well as taking 1st prize in the 2015 Grand Prix and the Robert Brown Shield, Lesley was a worthy winner of the Athlete of the Year trophy for 2015. All year Lesley has been performing at the top level and has won numerous age category prizes. Furthermore she was the unsung hero of the successful North East Harrier League Senior Womens cross country team. She had the knack of finishing just outside the Medium Pack in every event she took part in and was just as important as Fast Pack runners Jo GASCOIGNE-OWENS and Ella BROWN in helping us get into Division 1. Receiving the award Lesley also gave an Oscars-style acceptance speech! Well done on a fantastic 2015 Lesley!
Many thanks to the committee for their work throughout 2015 and lets hope for another great year in 2016!!