Winter 2010-11 Annual Cross Country Awards Presentation

AFC Hornchurch Friday 8 July 2011  

Good evening everybody and welcome on behalf of Havering Mayesbrook Athletic Club to the annual presentation of the cross- country awards. Once again, we are grateful to our friends from AFC Hornchurch for allowing us to use this very pleasant facility.

The awards are being presented this evening by Club President, Kevin White. Kevin has been associated with the Club for more years than he cares to remember and has served the Club with great credit over the years as athlete, coach, team manager and mentor. Thank you Kevin for being with us. As ever, the respective team managers have selected most of the winners.

The 2010/2011 cross-country season was once again a successful one for the club. League and County medals and individual titles were won and there was excellent representation at inter-counties and at national level.  I would like to mention just some of the events in which Club athletes performed with credit during the season. In no particular order, these included the Essex Relays, Essex Schools and English Schools, Inter-Counties, National Cross-Country Championships, the South of England Championships, the London Cross Country Championships, the London Mini Marathon and the  Lord Mayor’s Mile. Many, many of the Club’s athletes – young and not so young – were involved in these events. We can be extremely proud of the achievements of all of them.

One particular highlight of the season came from the senior men who had their best season for many a year. They won the Essex league for the first time in over 40 years and where in previous years, they had fallen at the last hurdle so to speak, they made no mistake in the final match. Two athletes who aren’t here this evening but who deserve a special mention are Ian Anthony and Graham Hogan. If they hadn’t run in the blizzard at Braintree to make up the six scorers, the team would not have won the League.

Weather wise, the winter sport is much more demanding on all concerned than track and field and the club’s coaches, team managers and parents should also be congratulated for making sure that athletes got to the starting line on time fit and well to wear the Club vest with such distinction.

There are two categories of award this evening – in each age group we have the Club Best Performance Award and also the Team Member Award. In addition, there is a special award at the end of the presentations.

We are going to start with the oldest age group and work our way down to the youngest. Ladies first and we start with the Club Best Performance for Lady Vets and the Team Manager couldn’t split two athletes.. Over the years, these sisters have turned in countless excellent performances in the Havering Mayesbrook vest and the past season was no exception. It was impossible to choose between them, taking it in turns as to who finished highest in each event. They both finished in the top-10 in the County Vets Championships in December and were both part of the gold medal winning team for the senior ladies in the Essex CC Relays in March. DEBBIE APPLETON and JO SULLIVAN.

The Team Member award in this category goes to another dedicated athlete winning this award for the second year in succession. Ever reliable and supportive of her teammates, she competed in every race she was able to barring snow and taking Lydia around the country for her competitions. Her presence often meant that we were able to field a full team  JANE HALLAM.

The next award is for Club Best Performance by a Male Veteran and it goes to another athlete who is a regular at this event, winning the award for the fourth consecutive season. He just seems to get better and better the older he gets and, in training, it is this guy who is always urging on the younger brigade. He retained his gold medal league winning title and won a very good bronze in the County Championships. Ever present in the league where he was always in the top-30. MATT BLAND.

The winner of the Team Member award for male vets has had his setbacks but improved throughout the season and always put everything into competing for the team. He doesn’t win many medals these days but it was with his help the team won the Essex League title and he also won the Club’s Boxing Day Handicap once again. GARY HOWARD.

Returning to the ladies, we come to the Club Best Performance award for Senior Ladies and it goes to a young lady winning the event for the third year in succession. She was only able to compete in three Essex League races but she won all three, an achievement in itself. In addition, her first place in the County Championships led the Club to team gold. She cannot be here this evening but we will see that HARRIET SCOTT receives her award.

The Team Member award for senior ladies goes to an athlete who is winning the award for the second year in succession. One of the lynch pins of the team, she had another consistently good season always giving everything for the good of the team. Like Jane Hallam, her presence often meant that we were able to field a full team. ANGIE THOMPSON

Returning to the men and the winner of the Senior Men’s Best Performance award – this time for the fifth year in succession. An athlete who will always give everything for the Club, he was the first senior man home in all but two of the eleven events in which the Club took part. His 12th place in the County Championships was one of the highlights of his season as was taking the lead on the 3rd leg of the cross-country relays. The only senior to show the Club colours in the South of England Championships and the Nationals at Alton Towers. ROB WARNER.

In defining the criteria for the Team Member award, it has mistakenly been referred to as going to someone who ‘turns up every time’. In the case of the Team Member award for senior men, that couldn’t be further from the truth. If the passion shown by this athlete in encouraging others to turn out for the final Essex League meeting  was embodied in others, the Club would have had no difficulty in finding some 15 competitors for each round. His running wasn’t bad either finishing in the top-20 in the final two meetings. The winner is JASON LENDON who cannot be here but his award will be collected by Club Chairman, Chris Smith.

We come now to the Club Best Performance award for Junior Men and it goes to a young man in his first year as a Junior but his determination to do well in a very strong league enhanced the team. He competed in every Essex League match with great success winning the League bronze medal and taking another bronze in the County Championships. He represented Essex at Inter-Counties and again at English Schools. An athlete any manager would be proud of. JAMIE BUCKLEY-STANTON.

In any other year, the winner of the Team Member award for Junior Men would have taken the Best Performance Award, leading the team home in every Essex League match in which he took part. University and injury curtailed his appearances but you knew when he was able to turn out, that he would give his best. Team Manager, Pete Warner will collect the award on behalf of GRANT TWIST.

The Club Best Performance Award for Under-17 Women goes to a valuable member of the team placing high up in three of the five Essex League races.  She ran for the Club in the English Cross-Country Relay Championships in Mansfield and then ran third in the Eastern Championships. She also represented the Club in the Aldershot Relays. REBECCA STANLEY’s award will be collected by Eileen Naylor.

The Team Member Award is shared this year. The first winner is a young lady who ran in four of the Essex League races as well as in the Nationals at Alton Towers. She also ran in both the Aldershot Relays and the National Relays at Mansfield. The other winner also ran in four of the five Essex League races and also ran at Alton Towers. She finished high up in the County Championships and also competed at Mansfield. PATSY McWEENEY and SHANNON SULLIVAN.

The Club Best Performance award for under-17 men goes to a young man who has always performed to the best of his ability coming through the age groups. During the season, he was able to compete in nearly all the fixtures helping the team to the bronze medal position. In addition, he was the only under-17 to compete in the National Championships at Alton Towers. ADAM EDWARDS.

The Team Member award for under-17 men goes to a young athlete who only joined the Club a year ago and demonstrated total commitment with four out of five runs in the Essex League for 13th place overall. He gained a team silver in the Eastern Championships and gave 100% in every competition. TOM BRENNAN.

We come now to the award for Club Best Performance for under-15 girls. This young lady came 7th in the Essex League and was 13th in the County Championships. In addition, she was 5th in the Eastern  Championships and a fine 10th in the London Youth Games Championships at Parliament Hill. For good measure, she was just outside the top-50 in the Southern Championships and was also part of the Road Relay team at Aldershot. LINDSAY McLACHLAN.

The Team Member award in this age group goes to a relatively newcomer to the Club who came 8th overall in the Essex Cross Country League and 17th in the Essex Championships. She performed with credit in the Southern Championships at Parliament Hill and, in every race, demonstrated commitment and reliability. A deserving winner – ISABELLA WOODS.

The Club Best Performance award for under-15 boys goes to a young man described by the Team Manager as the ‘most improved athlete in the past year’. He was 6th overall in the Essex League, took team silver in the Eastern Championships, team silver in the Essex Championships, was 5th in the individual race at those Championships and represented Essex at Inter-Counties. A great season for ANDREW HOLLAND.

The Team Member award in this age group goes to another young athlete who also showed tremendous improvement and commitment during the winter season. He also was part of the silver medal winning team in the Eastern Championships and had some fine individual runs in the Essex League where he was the only under-15 boy to compete in the dreadful conditions at Chelmsford finishing 8th overall, he finished 12th in the League. JAMES KIDD.

We have reached the youngest age group and come now to the Club Best Performance award for under-13 girls. This year it has been won by a young lady who had a really good season. She finished 3rd in the Essex League and 3rd in the Essex Championships. She was a fine 70th at the National Championships and 12th in the Southerns. In addition, she was 2nd in the Eastern Championships. Her dedication and commitment to her training saw her selected both for the Essex County team and the Essex Schools team. SARAH WILSON.

The Team Member award in this category goes to another fine young athlete who shared this award last year. She finished 10th in the Essex Championships and ran in three of the Essex League races placing well on each occasion. She ran well in the National Championships and was 44th in the Southern Championships. She was also 6th in the Eastern Championships and 9th in the London Youth Games Championships. She also ran brilliantly for the Borough of Havering in the Lord Mayor’s Mile finishing first and beating some 60 runners from the other London Boroughs in the process. HEIDI SURMAN-WELLS.

The Club Best Performance for under-13 boys goes to a young man who in his first season for the Club showed excellent commitment and dedication. He competed in three of the five Essex League races and played his part in the Essex Championships in which the team came 6th. A young man with much potential. RYAN GREEN.

The Team Member award for under-13 boys has been won by a young man who also had an excellent season. The epitome of a good team member, he was a respectable 25th in the Essex Championships and he won an individual silver at the Eastern Championships. ROBERT WOODGATE.

We now come to the first of the special awards where the winners are selected by the Club’s Management Committee.

The first of these awards is for the Best Performance in the age group  under-20 – veteran inclusive not in league events but where the individual concerned is representing his or her self – for example in prestigious regional and national competitions. In determining the winners, Committee members try to avoid athletes winning more than one award although a number of those athletes who have collected awards already this evening may have been ‘in the frame’ as possible winners of these awards.  It goes to a young lady who has worn the Club vest increasingly successfully for some years now and of whom the Club is very proud. She had yet another successful season winning the individual gold medal at the Inter-Counties Championships and leading the Essex team to team gold. She was 4th in the South of England Championships and a fine 29th in the National Championships. LAUREN DEADMAN. Her award will be collected by her Father, Roger.

The equivalent special Best Performance award for men goes to one of the Club’s stalwarts who took the gold medal in the Essex County Veterans Half Marathon Championships back in March. His 78.10 clocking shaved 11 seconds off his best set in the equivalent event two years ago. SIMON HART

The third special award is for girls in the age group under-13 to under-17 and it goes to a young lady who last year when she won the under-13 girls’ Best Performance Award, I described as ‘having potential’. What an under-statement! In the season under review, she took the silver medal in the London Youth Games Championships, gold in the Eastern Championships, bronze in the Essex Championships, silver at Essex Schools, 11th place at English Schools and 48th in the National Championships. A tremendous season for LYDIA HALLAM.

The fourth special award if for boys in the age range under-13 to under-17 and it goes to a fine young man whose dedication to his training has resulted in some excellent performances. His running style is a joy to watch and he is a role medal for other young athletes. In the season under review, he took the gold medal in the Eastern Championships and was 16th in the English Schools Championships – a tremendous performance. HOSEAH GIKUNGU.

The final award this evening is not presented every year because of the very special nature of the award. It is for Services to Cross Country and there have been some notable winners in the past including Eileen and Dave Naylor, Vic and Kathy Collins, Ann and Derek Drew, Dave Bland, Tim Pailthorpe, Debbie Appleton, Mike Munson, Pete Warner  and, most recently, Mike Buckley-Stanton.

This year’s winner is very deserving of the award. For the past two  years, he has gone about his Team Manager responsibilities with enthusiasm and energy yet in his very quiet style.. It’s not easy to look after the boys under 13 – under 17 squad with many of the youngest new to the sport and others at the other end of the age range beginning to find other distracting interests, but this man manages it in a very caring manner and the Club is very grateful to DEREK EARNEY.

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