2011 Annual Awards Dinner Dance

Farnham Runners celebrated their twenty-fifth anniversary in style with a massive turn out of 122 at the annual awards dinner dance. Some of the founder members – Brian and Ann Steward, Ann Prince and Gary Horne – as well as many other former members attended to make the occasion especially memorable.

The club first started after Mick Woods a very talented Irish international distance runner (and now a top UK coach) offered to give some basic training to local runners without a lot of experience to help them run comfortably in the newly established Farnham marathon and half marathon. At a meeting in the Autumn of 1985 Farnham Runners was formally inaugurated.

Now the club boasts 170 members with many successes to its name, yet it is still known for its friendly atmosphere and welcoming approach to new members.

The anniversary celebration was held at the Ramada Farnham Hotel and members Nick King and Tim Withers of Blue Dog Productions helped the committee set a spectacular scene. Also given special thanks for the organisation were social secretary Sylvia Harper, vice-chairman Ian Carley (of Icarley media), and Wendy Carley. A leaflet that was produced for the 10th anniversary was available on every table as well as a copy of the very first Farnham Runners newsletter. Videos of some of the first races organised by the club along with scrapbooks of press cuttings and photos since 1994 were on show. Member Terry Copeland was on hand to photograph the evening’s proceedings.

Social secretary Peter Strange was admirably suited to the role of Master of Ceremonies and a game and raffle organised by Sally Lawrence raised funds for Disability Challengers. Before the awards ceremony, chairman Dan Smith gave a brief outline of the history of the club while race director Charles Ashby raised cheers when he reported that since the first Alice Holt Forest race in 1994 over £11,000 had been donated to charities.

On to the awards, Handicap Trophy winner Stefan Klincewicz could not be present but second and third placed Emma Doven and Nick Hitchcock were invited on stage to suitable applause.

For the second year running Michael Rix won the Paul Charlton Memorial Trophy for the quickest marathon time of the year (2-40-27) Unfortunately not able to be present a clever video link was set up, though there were strong suspicions that Mike was unaware of the proceedings and that perhaps an impostor had crept in.

Ann Prince presented the Prince Memorial Trophy in memory of her late husband for ladies’ improvement in the Alice Holt 10km race between 2009 and 2010. The unsuspecting and delighted winner was Ali Lowes. Ann announced the equivalent for the men, the Herbie Memorial Trophy in memory of former chairman Ian Herbert and made a surprise phone call to winner Mike Ashworth on holiday abroad.

Vouchers for the club’s Grand Prix went to (men) Ian Carley , Charles Ashby, Tim Cummins, Chris Cramp and Mike Walberton; (ladies) Jane Georghiou, Emma Whittaker-Axon, Lindsay Bamford, Sue Boxall and Amanda Allen.

Former chairman Andy Smith who crafted the unique “Smiley” memento presented it to Martin Billett and his wife Cathy for their amazing culinary delights at many of the club suppers.

Finally, the prestigious Steve Parker Award was also presented by the man himself, another former chairman. For the person who has contributed most to the club, it went to Elaine Ashby for untold hours of work in helping to organise the Alice Holt races over many years not, just 2010.

The evening was rounded off by some enthusiastic disco dancing to Soundz Unique.