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Lancaster’s Running Club has exceeded all expectations this year, becoming a diverse and extremely popular club. The club has achieved the highest attendance in its history, boasting 120 sign-ups in fresher’s week. Nick Barton, the club’s president for the first two terms of the year, has taken care to welcome all standards, from recreational to professional runners. With six separate groups running in Week One, the club has meticulously catered to all levels of fitness.
This year’s exec has introduced a number of new elements to the club. Group speedwork sessions to improve technique and performance have proved very popular, while new handicap races allow runners of all abilities to compete, starting at different times based on previous performance. New monthly 5km time trials have both helped members to monitor their own improvements over time, and helped the exec to scout for talented runners. This close involvement with the runners’ progression has proved invaluable, allowing runners to gain more satisfaction from their achievements. Barton recorded a significant improvement, as runners improved their time by an average of 57 seconds.
In addition, a little competitive spirit has been introduced within the club, with the launch of the Club Championship, in which a leaderboard celebrates the best performances across the year.
The club has seen much success in races over the year. In the Mid Lancashire Cross Country League, the men’s team were promoted from their division for the first time in the club’s history. The women’s team also had their best ever season, only missing out on promotion by a couple of points.
16 athletes represented Lancaster in the BUCS Cross Country championships, the men’s team coming 39th, and the women’s team 40th. Tom Roethenbaugh finished in the top 100 of the race, among world championship athletes.
In road racing, Tom Greaves and Jack Okell gained titles in the junior male championships. The men’s team also came 2nd in the Lancashire ten-mile championships, and won the Lancaster Valentines Day 10k, in which Roethenbaugh was the individual winner. Both male and female teams won an arranged race against UCLAN.
In this year’s away Roses, Lancaster runners massively outnumbered York competitors. The women’s team won the 8km, and gained four points towards the Roses total, and Roethenbaugh was the individual winner of the men’s 10km.
The Running Club has also supported many charitable causes this year, including organizing the Alex Lap race, in which all entry money went to charity, and assisting organizing the Lancaster University Run Against Domestic Violence. 13 members also relay-ran the ‘Way of the Roses’, the 170 mile cycle route from Morecambe to the Yorkshire coast, in order to generate excitement about Roses, as well as raising money for local charity, Unique Kids and Co. They managed this feat in 23 hours 42 minutes, and raised over £1200 for the charity.
Nick Barton reflects: ‘I’m incredibly proud that the club has been recognized in this way. It’s been partly due to the dedication of the exec, who have worked tirelessly. However, it’s the great people that turn up, regardless of the weather, that make the club so special’. Next year sees Matt Mann continue the club’s good work as president.
Tom Greaves, race coordinator tells SCAN, ‘The Running Club is one of few clubs to embrace a broad ability range, with everyone training together, and runners of all abilities throughout the club have improved and developed.’ The balance of pushing front-end runners for success, and also being inclusive and appealing to a broad range of abilities is perfectly executed by the club. Greaves is impressed with the team spirit and the enthusiasm that everyone has demonstrated, pulling together and working really hard for each other all year.