Winter 2016-17 Annual Cross Country Awards Presentation, 

Hornchurch Conservative Club Friday 19 May 2017  

(script used by Martin Chester)

Good evening everybody and welcome on behalf of Havering Athletic Club to the annual presentation of the 2017 annual cross country awards. It’s always great to see so many familiar faces, especially in a much warmer environment than your average cross country race, and there is definitely no need for any wellies although you could still make a good argument for raincoats based on this week’s weather!

Tonight, is all about acknowledging the achievements of our athletes for both Club Best Performance and just as importantly Team Member Awards.

However, firstly we would also like to recognise and congratulate the parents for making sure athletes got to the start line in the first place, fit and well to wear the club vest with such distinction. So let's give them a round of applause.

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 first award is for Club Best Performance by a Male Veteran.

It was good to see this athlete return to his old form. This season he consistently turned in a quality performance which earned him the silver medal in the over 40 category in the Essex League. He was also part of the Silver medal winning teams at the Cross Country and Vets Road Relays.For many years a mainstay of the team. STEVE RAND.

Now the winner of the Team Member.  Having only been running for the club in the past two years, this man has formed a small group who are always pushing each other for better results. Having competed in 4 Essex leagues, the cross country relays and the 9 miles of the South of England at Parliament Hill - anyone who has done that race will tell you it is one of the toughest cross countries going. A good addition to the squad. STEVE WALKER

We’ve lost track of how many times the winner of the Veteran Ladies’ Best Performance award has received awards at these evenings, and she probably has as well!   It was good to see her scoring valuable points in 4 of the 5 Essex league races to help our ladies regain a place in Division 1, as well as competing in the County Championships. She often does parkruns and is a life member of the club.  A quick look on the power of 10 shows that she hasn’t run on the track since 2001, but we’re sure that she would be an asset to the club on the track this summer so if you fancy putting on your track spikes we hope to see you at the stadium on Sunday competing for the Southern League team JO SULLIVAN

The Ladies’ Vets Team Member award goes to a regular at the Essex League Races, who competed in all 5 in the series last season, and also ran in the County Champs. She trains at the track regularly and helps out with coaching and encouraging younger athletes in the coaching group.  She has almost competed in as many parkruns as her daughter who we’ll see in a little while – the winner is TRACY O'NEILL

The Senior Men’s Best Performance award. This athlete has had his best cross country season ever. It is his continuous hard work and commitment that saw him claim bronze in the county championships. He also took the senior men's title in the Essex league and was part of the silver medal winning team in the cross country relays. He led the Essex team home in the inter-counties. Always the first name on the team sheet. ROB WARNER

The Senior Men's Team Member award. This man is the only athlete who phones the team manager asking about the races the team have entered. He can always be relied on as a good team member. He competed in 4 Essex Leagues, both relays, the South of England and was only one of two seniors to travel to the deep mud of Nottingham for the National cross country. Someone who throughout the years has always been a runner the team manager can rely on. TONY COLLINS.

The Club Best performance award for Junior Men. In a season where we have had an abundance of under twenties all of them adding to the quality of the senior men's team, this young man has stood out as the best under twenty the team has had for many years, and he also has a nice manner about him. His third place in the county championships and being the first Havering under twenty to win the league since Rob Warner did so seventeen years ago has proved how good he is. He represented Essex in both the Inter-counties and schools national championships. Hopefully we will see his talent mature over the coming years. BEN DAVIS

Now te winner of the award for Junior Men Team Member. This young gentleman's running is only beaten by his enthusiasm. Always wanting to do better and willing to learn how to do so, he must be a coach’s dream. He has improved greatly throughout the season culminating in his 26th place in the final Essex League.   He competed in both relays, the South of England and every Essex League meeting finishing fifth in the final league standings. A great athlete to have in the team. JAMES STEWART

The winner of the Club Best performance award for Junior Women award competed well in the Essex League races and was selected to run for Essex at the South of England Inter Counties Championships. She also took part in the relays and the County Championships, as well as representing Essex Schools in the South East Schools Championships. A regular at training and parkruns, she is a valuable member of our cross country team.  The winner is GEORGIA PHILLIPS whocan’t be here tonight as she’s celebrating her 18th birthday so we’ll ask her coach Eileen Naylor to accept it on her behalf.

Another fine season saw the winner of the Club Best Performance award for under-17 men award finish 8th in the Essex League individual standings, competing in 4 races, helping the team place third in the league. A 9th place in the Essex Championships helped the team to win bronze and he also ran well in the South of England Championships and this year’s mini marathon. Congratulations to the winner LEWIS DEBENHAM

The Under 17 Men Team Member award goes to an athlete who was an important member of the squad, after coming back from a lengthy injury lay-off. He continued to perform at his best, placing 14th in the Essex League individual standings and also helped the team win bronze. He also competed in the South of England Championships, in the bronze medal winning Essex Championships and London Mini Marathon. Good luck in the Under 20s next year to the winner OLIVER BATH

The winner of the Club Best Performance Award for Under-17 Women award is already no stranger to these evenings !  Ever-present in the five Essex League fixtures, and never out of the top four, she was third in the overall standings.  Silver in the Essex Champs and third in the Essex Schools earned her county selection for the main Inter Counties and English Schools Championships. She also competed for club teams in the County relays as well as the South Of England Championships (where she placed a brilliant 10th) and the National Championships.  A regular at training who manages to fit in extra races such as Parkruns where she has competed in 60 runs!. She recently placed a fine 7th in the winning Borough team in the London Mini Marathon. A warm welcome back to this year’s deserving winner KATE O'NEILL

The Under 17 Women Team Member award goes to an athlete who is a regular at training and competed in the Cross country relays and all 5 of the Essex League races, helping the team win the league title. She also competed  in the Essex Championships and Essex School Championships and also often does parkruns too.  A valuable and reliable team member who we wish her luck with her summer season, the award goes to CATHERINE BARKER

This extremely hard-working athlete is improving all the time because of his work rate which fully earned him this e Club Best Performance award for under-15 boys award. He competed in 4 of the 5 league fixtures, was 8th overall in the league individual standings and a key member of the bronze medal winning team, also placing 9th in the county championships, and running well in the SEAA champs and London Mini Marathon.  Well done to the winner ALEX FRIEND

The Under-15 boys Team Member award performed exceptionally well in all competitions after taking the tough step up into the new age group. He made the top 20 in the league standings and was another vital member of the third placed team and was just outside the top 30 in the county championships. There’s a lot more to come from BEN NAISH.

We come now to the award for Club Best Performance for under-15 girls which goes to an athlete who had a fantastic winter season, winning the Essex League individual title after three wins and two runners up placings.. As well as taking part in the county relays, South Of England Championships and National Championships, her county gold medal earned her selection for Essex at both the South Of England Inter Counties and main Inter Counties and she was also part of the Essex Schools team at the South East School Champs and the English Schools Championships. She recently finished 7th in the Borough race at the London Mini Marathon and has started her track season in winning form ! A committed and friendly member of the training group who trains regularly, the worthy winner is MOLLY SWEETMAN

The Team Member award in this under-15 girls age group has been won by a young athlete who took part in the Essex relays and 4 of the 5 Essex League races, only missing one to take part in the London Youth Games for Havering on the same day. She ran for Essex at both the South of England Inter Counties and the main Inter Counties and ran for the club in the South Of England Championships. She is a valuable team member and a likeable girl who turns up to training regularly. We hope that she has a successful track season this year – the winner is  LILY BATH

A fantastic season sees the Club Best Performance for under-13 boys award go to an athlete who won four of the five Essex League fixtures to earn him the individual league title and lead the squad to team silver. A member of the bronze medal winning county relay squad, he also won individual silver in the county champs and took the Essex Schools Year 8 title. He also represented Essex Schools and Essex County teams and was looking forward to a good result in the London Mini Marathon before an injury affected his result – as did a missing timing chip !  Good luck in the Under 15s next year - the winner again is ALEX FORD.

A fine first season at the club saw the Team Member award winner for under-13 boys achieve a fine 12th place in the individual league stakes, competing in 4 league fixtures, and achieve a top 20 finish in the county champs as part of the silver medal winning team. He also competed in the Essex Relays, South of England Champs and South East Schools Inter Counties and the London Mini Marathon.  Well done on a great first season  LENNY HOUSTON.

We have now come o the Club Best Performance award for Under-13 girls and it goes to goes a young lady who ran well in all 5 of the Essex League races, placing 2nd overall in the final standings. She competed in the Essex Cross Country relays, and the South Of England Championships at Parliament Hill and also represented Essex at both the South of England Inter Counties race and the Main Inter Counties race, after winning a fine silver medal in the Essex Championships. She also won Essex Schools’ silver and was part of the Essex schools team at both the South East Schools Championships and the English Schools Championships. Most recently she ran a great race to place 6th in the London Boroughs mini marathon. A committed athlete who trains regularly, good luck on the track this summer to the winner  SYDNEY FOLEY

The Under-13 girls team had a fantastic turn out all season so there were many worthy contenders for the Team Member award But there can only be one winner and that award goes to an athlete who ran in all 5 Essex League races as well as the County Relay Championships, and recently ran in the London Mini Marathon for Barking and Dagenham. She regularly attends training and we hope she has gained confidence to try some track and field events this Summer ! Well done to . MORGAN ROMAINE

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 an athlete whose fantastic achievements over the years at club, county, national and international level have been recognised many times at these evenings. She has competed and worn the club and international vests at the highest level over many, many years. Her latest achievements included 5th in the Milton Keynes Cross Challenge, 3rd on her half marathon debut in Birmingham and 6th in a 10k road race in Leeds. A 12th place finish in the UK cross country trials earned her more international recognition, with England vests in Spain and Belgium, and another Great Britain vest in the televised Edinburgh cross international. A club member throughout her career, she is an excellent role model for younger athletes – we’re proud to present this award to - LAUREN DEADMAN.

The second of these special awards is in the Female  Under-13 to Under 17 age group.  An excellent winter season saw her strike Under 17 gold in the county championship and add another Inter Girls’ gold in the Essex Schools’ event, while at Regional Level she won gold in the South East Schools Inter Counties. Nationally she also ran superbly, placing 11th in the National and 7th in the Inter Counties, before a superb 5th place in the English Schools Championships earned her the first of what we hope are many International vests, competing for the England Schools team in Wales.  Most recently she was an excellent runner up in the London Boroughs Mini Marathon. An exciting talent, the winner is JESSICA MITCHELL.

And now we come to two more special awards.

The first of these is the award for Services to Coaching, The winner first became involved with the club when his son joined as a young athlete in 2012 but in a short time he has become an indispensable member of our volunteer team. Qualifying as a coach in September 2013, he has achieved outstanding success through his coaching style which concentrates on athletes’ technique from the earliest stage of their development.  His coaching group won three gold, a silver and a bronze at the 2016 Essex Championships and his biggest success last summer was coaching Alice Brown to the Under 13 girls number 1 discus ranking, and 12th best all time, breaking the club record, and coaching her elder sister Rosie to win Under 15 discus bronze medal in the England Athletics Championships. Robyn Moody qualified for the English Schools Championships, placing 9th and she has started the season with a top 5 national ranking and English Schools’ qualifier. Always keen to learn from other coaches to improve in his coaching and his athletes’ performances, his success in the younger age groups is now working his way upwards. The winner of the Trophy in memory of the late Sid Edwards is  JOHN DUNCAN

 And finally, we come to one more special award, for Services to Cross Country. You will all have heard about the tragic fatal accidents to two young Aldershot athletes just a few months ago.  Fortunately we’ve experienced nothing of that serious nature but a few minor incidents with road runs led to the club reviewing how we manage this important part of distance runners’ training. Road running is such an integral part of our winter training for developing athletes for cross country / mini marathon etc that it was essential that we got things right. The winner of this award was instrumental in resolving and overcoming the problems and issues we faced and came up with the idea of creating risk assessments and led the project of suggesting and creating ‘safe' routes, and identifying potential problems to make the whole issue of road running at Havering AC much safer. As a result we are one of only a few clubs with road running 'risk assessments' and as a club it’s an issue where we appear to be leading the way. Also a committed coach to a number of talented young athletes who compete well at Cross Country and a successful team manager of the Havering Borough team who were overall runners up at the London Mini Marathon, the winner is CLAIRE RICHARDS. Claire is having a well-deserved holiday so we have asked her brother and fellow coach Pat Gahagan to accept the award on her behalf.

That concludes the formalities for the evening, can all the winners please come up to the area just behind me for the traditional group photo.

For everyone else (over 18  of course) the bar is still open, and there is a buffet.

Thank You for your continued support and attendance tonight on behalf of Havering AC













All photos have been reduced in size and/or cropped from originals - if anyone wants copies of the originals please email - Apologies a few not up to the standard of most others!

If any athlete or parent is concerned about the inclusion of any photo of themselves or their child , please drop a line to the above email address  asking that it be removed