Harrier Of The Month – February, March, and April… Whoops!

February marked the first nominations that will be included in next year’s awards – and the start of me not updating the blog with our monthly winners! So this is a bumper-bumper issue of three months worth of Harriers of the month.

Although this period has seen cancelled races and a huge change to formal club activities, that doesn’t mean that there haven’t been performances and club contributions from members worthy of recognition.

Harrier Of The Month – February Women’s Award

Women’s Harrier Of The Month goes to Sarah Markless. Sarah designed and built a specialist app for the triathlon sections Strava championships to have friendly competition between members across running, cycling and swimming. Sarah promoted engagement with the competition encouraging members to enjoy their multi-sport training.

Also nominated in February were Alice Young for coming to cheer at the biblically wet West Park PECO, Amy Young for finishing second at the Liversedge Half Marathon, and Alison Hargreaves for her work over the previous months and her improvement at parkrun, through Tuesday groups and at races.

Harrier Of The Month – February Men’s Award

Men’s Harrier Of The Month is awarded to John Pratt. John is always a consistent performer and for his PB performance at the brutally hilly Liversedge Half Marathon, we felt that he was a worthy recipient of Harrier Of The Month for February.

John also beat off competition for the February award from Mike Vargas. Mike is often mentioned in this blog – and is a previous recipient – for his amazing performances, although recently he has been sidelined with injury. Despite this Mike has always been an exceptional advocate for Hyde Park Harriers, and organised a brilliant escape room social for the club in February.

Harrier Of The Month – March Men’s and Women’s Awards…

Moving on to the March awards and obviously this is the period where the club has been affected by the impact of coronavirus, and as such the winners and many of the nominees are people who have stepped up to lift up the club in this time (although some nominations have come in from some of the very final pre-lockdown races!

The winner of men’s Harrier Of The Month and women’s Harrier Of The Month are Matty and Becky Gray respectively. As a double act they hosted the first virtual HPH quiz – kicking off a now long standing tradition with a rotating cadre of hosts. Matty has also led on setting up two virtual bike spin sessions a week including keeping people connected on voice chat, and also streams weekly workouts for others to join in with. Both are worthy recipients for doing a lot to keep the club connected at this time.

Also nominated this month for women’s Harrier Of The Month is Fiona Blyth for pulling together a list of volunteers to help members who needed practical support during this period, and (unusually as nominations for ladies normally outnumber men!) there were a slew of nominations for men’s Harrier Of The Month for March. Toby Adkins was nominated for organising the Hyde Park Harrier takeover of Woodhouse Moor – the final pre-lockdown parkrun. For performances in the final races before lockdown Andrew Maddock was nominated for a 5 minute PB at the Carlisle Half Marathon, and Jonathan Spain was nominated for his PB performance at the Liverpool Half. For his contribution to the club George Sullivan was nominated for the effort he has been putting in to leading sessions at the club, described by the nominee as someone who is “quickly beacon indispensable”.

Sadly as it is something we never wanted to ever had to do Philip Fisher (myself) and Graeme Miles were nominated for the leadership shown in swiftly cancelling our activities following the change in government advice around coronavirus. As we said at the time – we will be back at some point, and we are indebted to the work done by a lot of people nominated in this blog to make sure that we do not feel so far apart.

Harrier Of The Month – April Men’s and Women’s Award

(The April award section is also combined as some of the nominees – but not recipients – are double acts…)

For Women’s Harrier Of The Month for April there was one outstanding nominee, receiving several nominations. Amy Young received praise for both the excellent Covid 19 minute relay engaging 80+ people in this when people were looking for something to do and to feel connected to the club, and for her behind the scenes and in front of the scenes wizardry in making the Hyde Park Harriers awards.

The recipient of Men’s Harrier Of The Month for April is Toby Adkins, for coming up with the original idea of turning our normal Thursday evening session into a cryptic quizzing challenge, like many other nominees in this blog helping to keep people engaged and connected with the club and with each other.

Also nominated for supporting quizzing were couples who followed in the footsteps of Matty and Becky Gray in running the first weekly quiz were Sarah and James Underwood and Nick Brown and Rebecca White.

And our final nominations were for some truly amazing ultra-lockdown performances (see what I did there?) with Chris Culling being nominated for his driveway marathon in support of MIND, and Matt Armstrong for his amazing back garden ultra. It is good to see that Matt in particular has now progressed back to running outside!

Wrapping up

One nomination that came in this month felt like the perfect place to wrap up this blog and hand Harrier Of The Month over to the next Chair – one of my introductions which I hope they’ll carry on! One member nominated ‘the whole damn club’ for everything that everyone has done – whether contributing and leading things or participating – in helping to make sure that the club feels more interconnected and busy than ever in a time where it could be anything but.

Keep up the amazing work everyone, and keep on nominating fellow members – it is brilliant to be able to tell someone they have received this award based on the recognition that you have given them.

Happy running,

Philip Fisher