AGM Chairman’s Speech 2019

Firstly thanks to the 20 strong committee who have contributed to the smooth running of the club for the last year. I know it doesn’t go unnoticed by members the amount of time and effort we collectively spend on BRR. In return the support you all give and contribute is nothing short of massive so thank you to everybody for making this a really vibrant year! A particular thank you to all the annual event organisers.

The membership had continued to increase with a steady stream of new runners from a variety of sources including C25K and more regularly recommendation. It’s great to see some faster runners joining the ranks and swelling our first few groups and adding some new competition. For anybody new I sincerely hope you have a long and happy relationship with the Club. It’s been a major part of my personal life for the last 15 years and is full of a brilliant crowd of supportive runners.

Just to recap some of 2019 highlights! Again we’ve had a packed calendar both running and socially. We’ve continued to challenge ourselves in a number of areas including Parkrun tourism and the Alphabet Challenge with a number of members hitting the 50 and hundred milestones . PB’s are reported as regularly as this summers rain and age category placings are almost weekly!

Can you believe we can celebrate over 100 marathons in total, 3 ironman, lots of new triathletes and a netball team who are infectiously happy and a delight to watch.

There’s so much now going on it’s difficult to keep up with which we hope to simplify this year especially on social media so key messages can be shared.

Where can we go from here! We are doing it, living it and enjoying running in all areas and distances. We can only look to continue our positivity through to next year and look to inspire each other with new challenges and races. One idea We’re considering is widening the variety of races we run and having a group target for the number of events BRR can attend over 2020. This year we’ve already attended over 250 races how many can we extend this to next year, 500 perhaps? I would also like us to continue our support for local clubs staging races and those offering well priced races, perhaps with a subsidised mid week summer series.

Another aspect which we could think about which I’ve mentioned to the committee is bringing together our different friendship groups to open the club up to newcomers. This just takes a small second of thought. Are we running on a club night catching up with friends when a newcomer is running alone? are we chewing PB’s over a pint when a nervous first timer is sat without conversation? could we volunteer individually for event and meet new people? Offer a car share outside our usual circle or open a private run to others. It’s about creating inclusiveness without losing our strong bonds already created. I know myself from attending groups recently for the first time how daunting, self conscious and nerve racking this can be and how a friendly gesture can really break the ice, remove barriers and make you feel welcome. With this in mind I want to make sure BRR never falls shorts. This however needs everybody on club nights and races to think and help make this happen. It’s something we are already good at which shows often in the messages of appreciation we receive from people outside of the club.

Volunteering is an aspect of our club which had declined and I appreciate the amount of time that has previously been donated. The committee acknowledged this in 2019 and reduced our commitments accordingly so we didn’t volunteer for the Manchester races. We continued with the popular Ironman event and thanks to Joanne and Annika, who took on organising. Can we offer assistance at other shorter events or are people too time poor of late? Your feedback tonight is welcome. This also includes Parkrun where many are buzzing around with tourism but rarely offering their help. John Clucas has volunteered us at the Blackburn 10K and we need to provide 30 marshals which on a local gig I’m hopeful we can honour. Joanne McClean, Anna Barcroft and Mick Wignall are kindly organising and we hope to have 100 BRR running the race in our home town – its a bit like a cheering gig really !

If we could collectively work on inclusivity and volunteering a bit more we will really have cracked it!

Andrews feedback survey highlighted a number of suggestions which we could implement and discuss in the meeting including our Weds run start time which is open for discussion.

We say goodbye to valued club members Annika and Sally who due to time have decided to step down, we have a token of appreciation which we will deliver to them. Also to John Clucas, Race Director Extraordinaire re who stays on the committee but passes on his role as Race Director to Nicola Murphy.

I close with great enthusiasm for what lies ahead in 2020 with even more vibrant members and a wealth of experienced within our strong and supportive club . A thank you to all who have organised annual events throughout the year your time is greatly appreciated by members.

I urge you tonight to have an opinion, make a suggestion or volunteer where needed as it will be beneficial to us all.


Sue Wolstenholme