Report: Annual Dinner and Awards night

Annual Dinner and Awards Night, Friday 31st January 2020

Unusually dry and warm conditions greeted our great turnout of athletes as they gathered at the start of this new event last Friday evening. Held at the Dower House in Knaresborough, Event Director Sarah had masterminded the combining of the previously-separate Christmas Dinner and Awards evening into a new glittering spectacle!

Arriving ahletes were greeted immediately at the first drinks station, where the water seemed strangely fizzy. Neither club colours nor kit were required on this occasion and in some cases this caused comedic confusion as teammates struggled to recognise each other in the impressive disguises they had chosen to wear. We also seemed to be the only club in attendance. Strange.

After warm-ups and further refreshments had been taken, our Chair James Wright invited everyone to take their seats (seats..?) for lap 1, which would comprise of ‘starters’. Duly our athletes began, enjoying a refreshing change from protein bars and bananas. With some members still collecting further refreshments, lap 2 began – the ‘Mains’ – this was a really sublime performance and many commented on the quality of the course which Dower House had designed for the occasion. In spite of a choice of routes, everyone seemed to arrive together as Vice-chair Mark announced there was to be a break prior the final lap.

It was Mark’s duty to present the trophies for our 2019 Ben Campbell Club Championship. After a busy season of 15 races, our four champions were:

Senior Ladies: Laura Wilmshurst
Senior Men: James Wright
Veteran Ladies: Nicola Carter
Veteran Men: Steve Morland

Mark also paid tribute to many of the contenders in a record-breaking season. (If you missed them previously, the full report, results and final positions can be viewed on our 2019 Standings page here). Sarah Gore also presented a number of ad hoc awards, much to amusement and surprise of the audience:

Best Photo: Edna and Sally in perfect synchronisation at the Solstice Saunter
Contribution to baking: Catherine Morland
Support in advance of the event: Sally Fannen

The Striders then returned to action, completing their final ‘sweets’ lap and as refreshing coffees were served, Chairman James Wright hosted the presentation of a series of awards acknowledging effort, contribution and achievement across 2019:

Community contribution award: Linda Dodsworth and Mark Taylor for the establishment of Conyngham Hall parkrun.
Determination award: Steve Morland for his 200-day, 1000-mile fundraising effort.
Best Newcomer: Donna Tucker – a remarkable year becoming fast established in the club, pushing personal targets (marathon this year!) and introducing others to the club.
Most improved Strider: Debbie Herridge – who enjoyed an excellent 2019 upping her distances, challenges and pace!

Finally James announced that the Strider of the Year member votes had resulted in a tie and that the award would be shared between Sarah Gore and Steve Morland. James’s speech drew from the many lovely comments left by fellow Striders, describing why our two winners were so worthy of their award. In addition to sharing the shield, both will receive a pair of Saucony running shoes courtesy of our friends at Up and Running Harrogate. A further two awards will be made at club in the next few weeks to Striders who were not able to attend.

With the official part of the event concluded and official photographs taken, it was now time for all the Striders to relax and ‘warm-down’, with many performing a range of interesting stretches on the dance floor whilst others refreshed themselves further! Many of the members took the opportunity to get snapped in action at the fantastic photo booth, which had been setup by Murray Scott and allowed some fun dressing-up opportunities in front of a backdrop of Strider vests! A huge thank-you to Murray – you can view them online in our Facebook Members Group here.

As our Striders dispersed after a fantastic and successful evening, there was much talk of repeating the event again next year, so we’re delighted to announce that a booking has already been made for 29th January 2021. We owe massive thanks to all those who made the evening possible, but most notably Social Secretary Sarah, who worked so hard to bring the event to life.


On Tuesday 4th Feb, James Wright presented Martin Brock with his Community Contribution Award, recognising his tireless work within Knaresborough Lions and organisation of the Great Knaresborough Bed Race.

Steve Morland

Posted in News.