Biggleswade Athletic Club members celebrated a superb year of achievements at the annual club presentation evening last Friday evening. It was also announced, to those present, that Alistair Burt MP had agreed to become the club’s new President, following the retirement of former president, Bill Jordan MBE.
Chairman, Nigel Bush, welcomed Alistair and thanked him for taking the time out of his busy schedule to come along to present the awards.
The first awards to be presented were to the men’s and women’s Club Road Race Champions (5K, 10K, 10 miles and half marathon distances).
The ladies 5K champion was Isobel Everest and her training partner, Juliet Naylor, won the shield for the 10K. Georgia Barker received the 10 mile award and Deb Bryant, the half marathon (having first received this trophy back in 2006). David Lee was crowned the men’s champion for the 10K, with Paul Davies achieving an amazing triple in the men’s 5K, 10 miles and half marathon.
The club ‘Endurance Trophy’, which is for any distance from a marathon upwards, was awarded to Melanie Brookes.
The next to be presented were the track and field awards.
The trophies for the ‘Senior Track Athlete of the Year’ went to Frankie Riley, for the ladies, and Ethan Metcalfe, for the men. And the awards for the ‘Senior Field Athlete of the Year’ were awarded to Sarah Ridley and Dan Steel.
The female ‘Veteran Athlete of the Year’ was Sandra Ingham with Ian Skerratt scooping up the trophy for the men.
The ‘Most Improved Athletes’, always hotly contested titles, led to extensive discussion among the judges, however, the deserved winners were named as Hannah Ridley and Michael Blunt.
This year the club introduced a new award – ‘Athlete of the Year’. This award is given to the club member who epitomises the club ethos of being friendly and supportive, and takes into account, not only outstanding contribution when competing, but also getting involved with club events and races. The outright winner of this inaugural trophy was Paul Davies.
The next award had also been a very difficult decision as there were a number of very worthy candidates: Andy Deans and Jamie Webster, coaches and great role models for the club’s junior members; Zoe Luscombe, for her unstinting dedication to coaching through illness; and Robin Wynde, for almost single-handedly managing with the administration for the Three Counties Cross-Country League.
Sadly, there could only be one winner. The ‘Club Person of the Year’ was former vice-Chairman, coach and regular track maintenance volunteer, Ken Prior.
Last, but not least, it was the turn of the ‘Members Club Person of the Year’ (affectionately known as the ‘Lonely Pines Trophy’ having been carved from a pine tree that once stood along a favourite club running route, by a much-loved, former member who passed away 5 years ago). The receivers of this award are nominated by the members, and it is not necessarily awarded to an athlete or coach, as was the case this year. For her dedication and help at numerous events throughout the year, the Lonely Pines Trophy was presented to Bev Strong.
Next it was the turn of sprint coach, David Brown, to present the medals for track and field events.
Sarah Ridley (100m, discus and shot put), Josh Watson (200m and high jump), Michael Blunt (Vets 200m), Adam Murphy (200m), Alice Ebbage (1500m), Martin Oestreicher (3K), Paul Davies (5K), Dan Steel (pole vault, triple jump and long jump), Alex Ingham (U20 javelin) and Sandra Ingham (Vets javelin).
David also presented standards awards from the Amateur Athletic Association (AAA) to two club members. Euan Dickson-Earle and Alex Ingham both achieved Grade 1 standard: Euan in 60m (indoor) and 110m (outdoor), and Alex in the javelin (under 20) – the top 7.5% of athletes in the country achieve the Grade 1 standard!
There were also awards for Isobel Everest and Paul Davies from the 2014-15 Three Counties Cross-Country League. Isobel, for being the 3rd lady in the Vet35 age category, and Paul for being the 3rd male in the Vet40 age group.
Finally, at the end of the evening, the chairman presented his ‘special’ awards for achievements that could only be described as mind-numbing.
The winners of the ‘Best Runners Diet of the Year’ were Giles Hawthorne and Paul Cooke – when they happily tucked into a full English fry-up after one of the club Coffee & Cake’s runs last year. David Brown was awarded ‘Predictive Texter of the Year’, because of the random words that appear in his communications, and James Rastrick received the ‘Van Man of the Year’ in recognition of his driving abilities when helping set up for the Sandy 10 last year.