Winter 2014-15 Annual Cross Country Awards Presentation

RAFA Club Romford Friday 29 May 2015  

Good evening everybody and welcome on behalf of Havering Athletic Club to the annual presentation of the cross country awards.

The awards are being presented this evening by the Club President, Kevin White and, as ever, the respective team managers have selected most of the winners.

The 2014-15 cross-country season was once again a successful one for the club. League and County medals were won and there was excellent representation at inter-counties and national level.  Many of the Club’s athletes – young and not so young – were involved and we can be extremely proud of the achievements of all of them.  

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 the Team Member Award. 

We are going to start with the Club Best Performance for Lady Vets and it goes to a lady who has been a superb athlete over the years and a credit to the Club.  In the season under review, this lady was again ultra-competitive in the Essex League, always finishing in the top-ten including a 2nd and 3rd place, results that put her in first place overall in the V35 category. She finished 7th in the County Championship, helping the team to win gold, and also ran the first leg in the County Relays with the team winning silver.  Sadly, she cannot be here this evening as she is away on holiday and we will ensure that she receives her award in the near future  DEBBIE APPLETON.

The Team Member award in this category goes to someone who only missed one race throughout the season, always giving of her best and finishing 7th in the V45 category. She competed well in the cross country relays, the County Championships and the South of England Championships.  JANE HALLAM

The next award is for Club Best Performance by a Male Veteran. The senior men’s team ended the season with a flourish, winning the final Essex League match at Colchester – their first league win in four years. The winner of this award is a regular at this event and this year is no different. He turned in quality performances time and time again and was part of the Vets gold medal winning trio in the Essex Road Relays, adding to his silver medal in the final Essex League standings. MATT BLAND.

The winner of the Team Member for male vets has had his fair share of injuries but has a ‘never say die’ attitude and is always there to cheer on and encourage his team-mates. His persistence and enthusiasm inspires many of the Club’s younger athletes: RUSS MIDDLETON.

We now come to the Club Best Performance award for Senior Ladies and it goes to a young lady who is one of the Club’s most dedicated performers, not only over the cross country courses but in track and field during the Summer months. She is a team manager’s delight. In the season under review, University commitments meant that she missed the first three Essex League events but she finished in 7th and then 3rd in the final two races. She came 12th in the County Championships helping the team to win gold . She had another good run in the South of England Championships and helped the team to win silver in the cross country relays. VICKY SMITH

Returning to the men and the winner of the Senior Men’s Best Performance award. It goes to a dedicated athlete who was described as ‘Mister Consistent’ by the Essex County Team Manager at the UK Inter-Counties meeting. From coming 4th in the first Essex League meeting to 3rd in the final competition, this guy always ran a quality race. For good measure, he was the first Havering athlete for many years to win the gold medal for the fastest leg in the Essex Road Relays:  ROB WARNER

The Senior Men's Team Member award, goes to an athlete who, with many athletes missing through injury, stepped in to help fill the gap admirably. He consistently made the scoring team in the Essex League competitions and ran a strong first leg in the Essex Road Relays earning him a County bronze medal. Hopefully, next season will see him progress even further – a good guy to have in your team. PAUL GRANGE.

We come now to the Club Best performance for Junior Women and it goes to a young woman who raced regularly for the Club in the Essex League, the Essex Cross Country Championships and the Southern Championships where she finished an excellent 7th.  She ran for Essex in the Southern Inter-Counties at Oxford and also in the National Inter-Counties at Birmingham. She was also part of the Essex Schools’ team at the Southern Championships and also in the Nationals in Blackburn. helping the Essex Senior Girls team to win the team title. As she goes off to University later this Summer, we wish her well and hope to see her in a Havering vest on the odd visit home. LYDIA HALLAM

The Team Member award for Junior Women goes to a young lady who ran in four of the five Essex League races. She was 7th in the County Championships and also ran for Essex in the Southern Inter-Counties and the National Inter-Counties Championships. She also competed in the Nationals at Parliament Hill. A park run regular, she attends training as often as possible when her part-time work doesn’t get in the way.  We wish her a fun time as she goes off to Camp America in two weeks’ time and look forward to her returning for the cross-country season as she is a reliable and valuable team member. ISABELLA WOODS.

The Club Best performance award for Junior Men goes to a young man who has always been the first to put his hand up in a difficult situation. In the season under review, when the team needed a man to run the last leg in the Essex Relays, he stepped up to the mark. In his first year in the age  group, he consistently improved in the Essex League and was part of the Senior Men’s team that won the bronze medal in the Essex road relays. A fine example to other young athletes -  ABDUL MOHAMED

The Club Best Performance Award for Under-17 Women  goes to a young lady who trains and competes regularly and is a reliable team member. She placed 9th at the London Youth Games at Parliament Hill in an extremely competitive event, was 7th in the Essex County Championships and 9th in the Schools Championships. She was also part of the Essex Schools‘ team at the Southern Inter-Counties in January. We wish her good luck as she moves up to the U20 ranks next season, juggling the demands of College and training HEIDI SURMAN-WELLS.

The Club Best Performance award for under-17 men goes to a young man who thoroughly deserves the recognition due to his commitment and dedication. An ever present at training, he competed in each Essex League event and all the main Championships, sometimes being the sole runner in his age group, never complaining but just getting on with it. His love for his sport is infectious and his improvement is there for all to see. Congratulations to JAMES STEWART

We come now to the award for Club Best Performance for under-15 girls girls and it goes to a young lady who continued to improve and gain more success during the season. She placed in the top-5 of each Essex League race that she competed in and was selected to compete for Essex in the Southern Inter-Counties and National Inter-Counties. She placed 42nd at the South of England Championships and 47th at the Nationals over the difficult Parliament Hill course, both superb performances. A regular at training, her improvement was a fine reward for her efforts.  KATE O'NEILL

The Team Member award in this under-15 girls age group was an extremely difficult decision to make due to the very strong nature of the age group with regular participants at training and in competition. The award goes to a young athlete who was an ever present at training and competed in four of the five Essex League competitions. She was part of the Club team for the Essex Cross Country relays and the Southern road relays. In the County Championships, she placed 10th. We are sure that she will build on this success on the track this Summer and next season over the cross country courses. JESSICA MITCHELL.

The Club Best Performance award for under-15 boys goes to a young man winning the award for the second year in succession. He had an extremely strong season including being part of the team that won gold at the Essex Cross Country Relay Championships and silver at the Essex Championships. In the Essex League, he never finished outside of the top-10 with the U15 boys team finishing 3rd overall. LEWIS DEBENHAM

The Team Member award in this age group goes to another young athlete who works extremely hard in training and competition and whose efforts began to pay off with a team bronze medal in the Essex Cross Country Relays and a team silver in the Essex Championships. A huge well done to SAM ATKINS.

We have reached the youngest age group and come now to the Club Best Performance award for under-13 girls and it goes to another young athlete who showed huge improvement during the season. She competed in four of the five Essex League fixtures, placing high in each event. She was 8th in the County Championships and earned an Essex vest in the Southern Inter-Counties and the National Inter-Counties. She also ran in the South of England Championships and the National Championships. We are sure she will do well on the track this Summer and look forward to seeing her in action again during the next cross country season. MOLLY SWEETMAN

The Team Member award in this category goes to a young athlete who competed in each of the Essex League events, the South of England Championships, the Nationals at Parliament Hill and the Essex County Championships where she placed 32nd. She is a regular at training and if she maintains that commitment, the best is yet to come from JESSICA JAMES

The Club Best Performance for under-13 boys goes to a young man who had an excellent cross country season starting with a team silver at the Essex Relays. He qualified for the Essex Inter-Counties team and also for the Essex Schools team and, individually, was 7th in the Essex Championships. The under-13 boys of which he was a key member finished 5th overall in the Essex League.  Well done to OLIVER WOODS.

The Team Member award for under-13 boys has been won by a young man who was in his first season of training and competition  and whose performances were very consistent and encouraging for the future. He was an ever present throughout the season – a team manager’s delight – and we look forward to seeing him again over the cross country courses next Winter.  HENRY LAY.

We now come to the first of the special award where the winner has been selected by the Club’s Management Committee. The Committee can elect each year to make a special presentations to those athletes who have excelled when competing outside the League structure – for example in prestigious County, Regional and National Championships.

The first of these special awards this evening is in the Female  Under-20 to Veteran category. It goes to a young lady who has flown the Havering flag for some years now and who had another excellent season representing Great Britain over the cross country courses of Europe. Back in October, she took the silver medal in the England 10 mile Championships followed, in November, with 10th place in the European Trials. She gained another England vest in Belgium in December and a GB vest in the Edinburgh International in January where she finished in 13th place. She was later selected to run again for England in Spain but injury prevented her participation. An excellent ambassador for the Club - LAUREN DEADMAN.

The second of these special awards is in the Male Under-20 to Veteran category and it goes to a very deserving athlete retaining the trophy that he won at last year’s event.  In the M50 category, he was first man home and 5th overall in the Brentwood Half Marathon,  was first home and 12th overall in the Essex Championships over 20 miles, was 2nd vet home in the BMAF 10 mile Championships, and was 10th home in his category in the recent London Marathon.  Another fine ambassador for the Club SIMON HART.

The third of these special awards Male  Under-13 to Under 17 and it goes to an extremely promising young athlete whose efforts included 2nd in the Junior Boys event at the Essex Schools Cross Country Championships,  a tremendous 16th place in the English Schools Cross Country Championships and an excellent 7th place in the recent London Boroughs’ Mini Marathon over the last 4km of the main London Marathon course immediately prior to that event. A young man with huge potential –JACK RICE.

Just two more awards and the first of these, the Relay Cup, is a bit special celebrating as it does the best Relay performance. This year it has been won by three of the Club’s wonderful veterans. The event was the Essex Road Relays held in Harwich at the end of March and the team of STEVE RAND, SIMON HART and MATT BLAND emulated their success of 2014 in grand style.


And finally, we come to one more special award, for Services to Cross Country. Over the years that this award has been presented, one particular individual has been overlooked when, in fact, he would have been a very worthy winner in any of those years. It is almost impossible to calculate how many hours of his time this man has dedicated to cross country on behalf of the Club - and its members - over many, many years. Whether it be acting as a Marshall or an Official or helping to lay out and roping off the course, taking photos, or recording results or competing or helping to ensure that Club athletes get to the start on time – and all this often in the worst of Britain’s weather. In addition to all of that, of course, in the Spring and Summer he is a Team Manager (sometimes a competitor) and, throughout the year, is an active member of the Club’s Management Committee and for the past several years has been our President. On top of all of that, it’s a very unusual occurrence when he isn’t present on training evenings helping to ensure the safety of our young athletes. Presented by the Club’s Vice Chair – Claire Brennan – the Services to Cross Country award goes to KEVIN WHITE.

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