Athlete of the Year: Roll of Honour
Sophie first joined the Club in her 40s back in 2015, when her first parkrun time is recorded as 25:23 on Power of 10 and her half marathon time was 1:43:06. Her parkrun PB is now a fantastic 19:42, and half marathon PB 1:28:40. Eight years on Sophie is still setting PB’s, running 3:09:50 earlier this year at the Manchester Marathon which ranked her in the top 60 in the V45 performances for 2023. She also set a fantastic 5-mile PB of 32:21 in the Summer League at Holme Pierrepont and is often on the podium at races. She is now a V50 and is starting to set new Club standards in this category, including a recent 5K time of 19:39 at the Leicestershire Running Festival where she was First Lady, ahead of much younger competitors. A lot of commitment to training is required to achieve such wonderful performances. Sophie is ranked 67th in the country as a V50 – this is out of well over 33000 runners in this category in total!
In addition to her running achievements, Sophie plays a pivotal role in the Club as a member of the Committee, and has contributed over the past few years as Chief Marshal for the Trent 5 and also Summer League 3 at Wollaton Park. This involves not only a lot of hard work but also great diplomacy and communication skills in ensuring that all the volunteers know what they are doing and are able to work well as a team in ensuring that all runs well with the organisation of these races. The success of the Trent 5 is crucial in ensuring that the Club has plenty of resources available to pay for league fees, training courses etc and also enables the Club to keep the membership fee low. Sophie brings a lot of enthusiasm to this role and the marshals are able to perform their jobs happily and confidently as a result.
Sophie is a fantastic team player, turning up when required at cross country and other running events to contribute to the team success; Beeston AC women have now been regular winners of team events in races and Sophie’s participation has been a major factor in this. Vote for Sophie!!
Proposer: Chris Bexton
Seconder: Mark Rowlson
Proposer: Lucy Grant
Seconder: Caitlin Bradbury
Everyone knows that Charlie loves stats – in 2022, Charlie has continued to be Beeston AC’s unofficial club statistician, maintaining records of age category bests, and in so doing, continually promoting member achievements and celebrating success. Members look forward to these regular updates, and set personal challenges to get a box or even a full row on Charlie’s famed Power of 10 rankings!
Throughout 2022, Charlie has also regularly encouraged members to get involved in racing, and to try something new. As well as cross country, he has a passion for the track, and for Masters level competition, taking time and effort to circulate details of local track meets and competition (the night of the mile PBs being a notable success!). Charlie is always on hand to provide advice on race time records and rulebooks, guiding members through the entry procedures and generally keeping an eye on us all. He’s a great supporter too – often seen at races even when not taking part himself, taking photos and cheering.
Charlie does all of these things in addition to his official role as Cross Country Secretary, where he is organised, supportive, reliable and a true team player – Charlie devotes a significant amount of time to this role, first on site to put up the flag and tent, and often staying long after many runners have gone home, to fill in results envelopes, pack away the tent, sort lost property, and collect medals for others.
Charlie – thanks!
2021 – Lucy Grant
Seconder: Sophie Eadsforth
Over the past 14 months Lucy has set new PBs in every distance attempted from 1 mile to 26.2 via 5K, 10K and half marathon. An achievement matched by few, if any, in the club. In case anyone can, she has coupled that with being a stalwart of an increasingly strong ladies’ team which has won team medals at a variety of races. A perfect illustration of the success that can be achieved through consistent and hard training.
With no road race or cross country leagues in 2020/21 and few other races to choose from, Lucy has little opportunity to impress with her morale-boosting baked goods, so her nomination for Athlete of the Year will have to stand on her running record alone. But what a record it is. While the country spent lockdown bingeing on boxsets, Lucy dedicated her time to training hard for the day races would finally return, and all those hard miles more than paid off with a massive improvement in times. In the space of six months she managed to knock over a minute and a half off her 5K best, almost two and a half from her 10K time and a seven minute improvement on her half marathon PB, finally slashing nearly ten minutes from her previous best at the London Marathon. Lucy has always been cheerily supportive of clubmates new and old, and is now inspiring others by showing what hard work and dedication can achieve.
2020 – No Award
2019 – Neil Byford
Proposer: Mike Davey
Seconder: Alec Maclean
We wish to propose Neil Byford for the Athlete of The Year award.
There are a number of members who warrant recognition for their running success, and Neil is certainly one of them having achieved success at a range of distances, from Parkrun through half and full marathons to 24 hour races.
As well as personal achievement though Neil has selflessly benefited others, without seeking reward or praise, especially by:
1.Supporting blind runners – travelling with them, guiding them, and encouraging them. Without people like Neil blind runners would be excluded from the sport we in the club are able to enjoy.
2. Supporting, mentoring and encouraging slower runners, both within the club and elsewhere i.e. Rebel Runners.
3. Acting as Run Leader, reliably and effectively, being aware of different abilities and encouraging slower runners.
We believe Neil is very much an ‘Unsung Hero’ whose effort and impact might be rather overlooked. I feel his dedication to the sport, on top of his personal running achievements, deserves the recognition this award would give.
2018 – Chris Bexton
Proposed by – Sophie Eadsforth
Seconded by- Lucy Grant
Chris Bexton turned 60 in 2018 but this has not slowed her down, in fact she has achieved many goals and prizes over the course of the year. Not only has she been asked to run a marathon for England [Age Group Master] she was also head hunted for Notts AC and has been along to one race and took part which involved Chris having to do the long jump!
Here are just a few of her accomplishments this year…..
Chris is 7th in the country for 10 miles, 47th for 10k and she has had age category wins at Hardwick 10k, the Retford half marathon, Erewash half marathon (for which she was the 7th lady overall), The Run, Clumber Park 10k, Beeston parkrun (prior to 60 and after turning 60) and 3rd in category in the HP Grand Prix series. Chris won the Notts gold medal for her age category for the summer league season. What a list!
Chris is also the club secretary and spends a lot of time on preparing the weekly email each week. We are always really impressed and relieved to get the weekly email as we get the answers to a lot of our questions in there and reminders for events, parking info, directions, social events etc.
Chris clearly deserves being nominated for the athlete of the year.
2017 – Chris Bell
2016 – Paul Page
The original citation has been lost but it was something like…..
Paul was given the inaugural Athlete of the Year award after rashly promising do do every race on the club’s fell calendar despite having never done one before (that maybe editorial licence). In doing so he had great fun and gave the rest of us a good laugh at the same time! Oh, and yes he did complete every race!