Junior Section Report for January 2023
January has been a quiet month for the Juniors with no participation in any races, as far as we know other than the local Park Runs, where we have seen a few taking part in these events, all putting in some great performances.
The Monday night training sessions at the Cricket Club started back up 9th January and have proved to be popular with some new faces showing up, which has been encouraging to see.
Saffron and I had a quick catch-up with a lady from England Athletics about the possibility of introducing Funetics to the club and the potential benefits it can bring, which we will present to the Committee for further discussion.
We also have an opportunity to promote the Club, including the Junior section at a Duke of Edinburgh evening held at Stafford Grammar School in March, where we hope to be able to talk to some children, make them aware of the Stafford Harriers Junior section, hand out some flyers and be on hand to answer any questions.
Junior Section Annual Report for 2022
Over the course of 2022, we saw a reasonable but steady attendance down at the Monday night Junior training sessions held at the Cricket Club, with typically between 15 and 30 regularly showing up, as well as seeing some new faces over the course of the year, which is always encouraging to see.
In March we had three Juniors running in the Stafford Half Fun Run, Finley Summers, Abe Langford and Sharna Burbridge, all putting in some great performances. Fin and Abe even managed to make the front page photo of the Staffordshire Newsletter – well done all!
Also in March we saw our older Juniors – Lucas Willson, Matthew Hilsdon and Ben Green move into training with the seniors and running as young adults in races, and on behalf of the Junior Coaches I would like to express my thanks for their hard work, determination and commitment over the years in representing the Junior Harriers, and I hope they all continue to progress as they move into competing against the seniors.
June saw the Stone St Michaels Relays in which we had two teams of Juniors racing, and for some their first competitive event, running alongside the adults, and all putting in some fantastic performances, and for many giving the adults a run for their money! All that ran received a medal and goodie bag, along with a photo of the Mayor of Stone! A big thanks to the parents who helped out with marshalling and organising the juniors at the various changeover points on the course.
Also in June the juniors were very lucky to have an England Athletics coach take one of their Monday night training sessions, which provided some fun coaching, but also some inspiration and learning was taken, and this knowledge has since been used by the junior coaches on subsequent sessions.
In July the Harriers hosted the Staffs Knot 5 Mile race and Fun Run, in which we saw eight juniors participating in the latter, with Jack Dawson finishing in a very impressive 2nd place, in an excellent time of 11:49 – well done to Jack and of course all of the Juniors for representing the Club, putting in some fantastic performances, and great to see some family participation too.
During late spring and the summer months, the Club put on the 5K Time Trials in which we saw some of the Juniors competing, all keen to improve on their previous times – a big well done to all who ran in these events.
September saw the Harriers put on the Showground Relays, in which there were three Junior teams racing, each with four runners and all putting in some great performances, and more importantly, all enjoying the team spirit.
The autumn saw the return of the darker nights however training was able to continue on the grass with the available lighting in place, and thankfully only a handful of sessions had to be delivered on the nearby car park due to waterlogged grass.
The Committee voted unanimously to use some of the Together Active funding to buy some winter training clothes for those Juniors who had shown an ongoing commitment to the Club and regularly attended the training sessions over the course of the year, and it was pleasing to see this being worn whilst attending the autumn cross country events, providing a smart consistent appearance whilst representing the Club.
A couple of former Juniors, and now running with the seniors, kindly drafted a flyer to advertise the Club’s Junior section, and with thanks to Tom Davall for his assistance with the graphic design, and Steve McHugh for the printing, we have now got a professional looking leaflet available for distributing at various events and local sporting venues. It is hoped in time this will start to improve awareness of the Club’s Junior section and boost membership.
Some of the Juniors continued to run in the various local park runs during the course of last year, all putting in some great performances, and for Reuben Willson he ran his 100th event in July, which is a tremendous achievement. It’s really pleasing to see these events continue to attract the Juniors on a Saturday morning, and through regular attendance and hard work, their times continue to improve.
Pete Hodgett’s Memorial Handicap Races
The Club was able to put on three of the Pete Hodgett’s Memorial Handicap events during 2022, and two of which saw Junior George Millinchip winning the race – a big well done to all who ran in these races, as always providing some stiff competition for the adults.
Cross Country Races
Last year we had a number of Juniors competing in the four North Staffs Cross Country Races held at Betley Court Farm, Stafford Common, Park Hall and Keele University, typically 10 or so running across the various age categories. A big well done to all that ran in these races as the quality and calibre of runners from other Clubs is often high.
Finally, I would like to say a huge thank you to all of the Juniors who have continued to run with the Club, and to the parents for their support and commitment, and of course to the Junior Coaches for their ongoing dedication, hard work, enthusiasm and encouragement, without whom, we would not have a Junior Section.