Thursday, 11 May 2017

Issue 105: May time is play time

Hello all
A quick update on fixtures and events for May.  The warm season is here (apparently) and the calendar fills with lots of exciting events to replace your winter of marathon training...

This Thursday 4th May - Assembly League Rae #2 - Victoria Park - Race starts at 7:45pm
Time for the first of our home fixtures.  We had a fantastic turn out for the men at Race 1 in Beckenham winning both A and B teams on the night.   Not so great for the women I'm afraid, with lower numbers they took 3rd A team and 5th B team on the night. SO, as always we need a much bigger turn out to hold our own against the other clubs in the league.  Remember, it's fast, fun and free to run this 3.5 mile race.  Please remember to bring pins and your club top.  Get to the club nice and early to register and get armed up.  If you cannot run, please could you come and help.  I will need folk from 7pm to help with finish funnel and from 7:30pm to act as marshals or timekeepers. No previous experience necessary. We also need help in the bar pre and post-race to hep with catering and serving drinks - you will still be able to run. Please reply to this message or message me via Facebook.

Sunday 21st May - Southern Athletics League (Div 3 N) - Match 2 - Mile End Stadium - PM
The league coms to Mile End for the first of two meetings there this season.  Track & Field Captains Tony MacDowall and Charlotte Nicholls are always looking for more athletes to compete, and with the events on our doorstep this is the opportunity for you to shine.  We are always particularly keen to find distance runners to join in 800/1500/3000m (women) and 800/1500/5000 (men) or  .  We can do very well in these events with the right people.  Please get in touch with Tony or Charlotte via the club Facebook page, via Twitter (@MacDowallT and @CharlLDN).  

Thursday 25th May - Monthly Handicap - 5 miles - 7:15pm start
We had a great showing of juniors, seniors and helpers at the April event, the first 5 mile handicap of the year. Hopefully the May fixture will be a little warmer than April!   As usual, all the details and results are available on the noticeboard, please see this post.  And also as usual, we will need 4-6 helpers to marshall and to timekeep for the event to go ahead, please get in touch if you can spare an hour or so. I'm particularly keen to hear from new members or those who haven't yet volunteered.

Saturday 3rd June / Saturday 1st July / Saturday 5th August - Orion Forest 5 mile series - 10am Start
A great series of races in Epping forest, often popular with club members. Easy to reach via the Chingford Line, advance entry is recommended as it's a bargain compared to entering on the day. A nice course and a warm welcome is always guaranteed at the events (+ one or two hills). More details and online entry at this link. See you there!

Last call for the Thunder Run - July 22/23 - Walton-on-Trent
This fantastic 24hr running event is now sold out.  Luckily for us though we have registered teams and still have a few places for lucky members.  Get in quickly if you would like to run.  Please see this post on Facebook and contact the unstoppable Mr Neil Cook if you would be interested in joining one of the team.

New Bar, old problems
Hopefully some of you have experienced out incredible new bar already. Thanks to an amazing amount of effort from Chairman Dave and some others along the way the new space is up and running, with the opening night at the annual London Marathon after-party.  As always, there are many who work behind the scenes to keep these things going, remember many other clubs have nothing like the facilities we enjoy, but they always needs volunteers to keep them going.  At the moment the roster is looking rather bare and without a few extra pairs of hands in the coming weeks there may be Thursdays when we will have to close the bar.  Please get in touch with Susan Leese or Malachy Wolohan

And finally....
Big big congratulations to club member Duncan Steen who married his wonderful fiancĂ©e Eliza over the bank holiday weekend.  The wedding was many hundreds of miles away on the western Scottish coast but was attended by many club members.  Duncan even found time to wear his club colours at a race held in the morning of the big day. Best wishes from us all. 

Also, if you have 8mins 7 secs to spare take a look at this nice little London Marathon 2017 video put together by, you guessed it, Tim 'Riverdog' Miller - Marathon Effort...

That's it for now

Men's Road & XC Captain

Remember, there are many ways to keep in touch with your club:
  • Find out what your clubmates are up to on the Club Facebook page
  • Get the latest news and updates, follow @VPHTHAC on Twitter
  • Get news, updates and race results on the club noticeboard
  • Keep an eye out for forthcoming fixtures on the VPH and THAC | Fixtures
  • Lastly - follow us on Instagram, if you are that way inclined @vph_th

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Issue 96: With a name like September, you'd think it was the seventh month

Firstly, warm greetings to all of the new members who who have joined up or renewed over the summer, the membership continues to grow. And you've joined in time for an exciting Autumn and Winter season of races and events. Welcome to the club that never stops....

Metropolitan League - Second Claim Members - ACTION REQUIRED 
Once again we will compete in the prestigious Metropolitan Cross Country League.  Second claim members may run for the club if their first claim club is not also competing in the league.  However, these members must register before the start of the season. Please get in touch with me by 28th September, it's very simple. First claim members - you do not need to do anything. More details about the league and the fixtures are here:

Chingford League - First Fixture Tuesday 4th October - Hogg Hill 7:30pm/8pm
For those who are new to the club,  this is the other cross country league we compete in (although there are three tarmac fixtures).  All of the details  for this fixture and the other days are on the noticeboard - just follow this link. Once again we welcome Joyce Berry as the league captain for this season, so look out for more messages and updates from Joyce over the course of the season. Can't wait.

Thursday 20th October - Club AGM - 8:30pm
A separate notice, agenda and call for motions will be circulated shortly but just a reminder to keep this date in your diary.

Thursday 27th October - Club Handicap followed by Club Bake Off
Look out for an announcement with more details  soon but get the date in your diary for the next Club Bake Off, planned to be held after the monthly handicap.  This will be (I think) our fourth Bake Off, and once again there will be a small charity collection - last year £200 was raised for Medecins sans Frontieres.  I have started to reduce my own cake intake in preparation.....

2016-17 Fixtures
Did I read that correctly? 2017? Where is the decade going? Stave off the effects of ageing by running lots over the winter season.  To help you, I've put together the Autumn Winter fixtures list - take a look here:

Most Improved Athlete 2016 (Road and ross Country)- nominations now open!
This award is given at the AGM - please see details on the noticeboard about nominating your club mates for this coveted trophy.

Bar Help Required
Those of you who've come to the club on a Thursday night may have visited our wonderful bar and sampled some good food. The bar is managed, run, stocked, and cleaned by a small army of volunteers. If everyone helps out once or twice a year, things run smoothly.  However, there are currently a few holes in the schedule so please put your name down on the rota in the bar or contact Susan or Malachy to put your name forward.

Subscriptions Reminder
The club's subscription year starts in November so if you pay your subs annually have a think about getting prepared. If you pay monthly by standing order there is nothing to worry about.  If you have queries about your membership status, please get in touch:

And finally....
Some of you may have heard of the sad news concerning Nana Quawson, who died at the end of July following a brain haemorrhage. Nana was a former club member and board member and much respected community nurse.  She was particularly active down at Mile End stadium, often helping out officiating and with junior and senior athletes.  This is the third recent death of a club member, and the club has put up its own messages of condolence which can be reached by following the links on the front of the club website: (thanks to Joe Feltham)

That's it until the next newsletter in early October

Men's Road & XC Captain

Monday, 29 August 2016

Issue 95: The last letter in August (t?)

Hello all,
It's still warm and the holiday has a few hours left to roll.   Take a few minutes to think about what's coming up in the next few weeks as we prepare for Autumn.

This Thursday 1st September - Assembly League Race #6 - Beckenham - 7:15pm
The final race of the season in Beckenham. Our men's team have, I reckon, a chance to take first place this season (thanks to heroic efforts by our fast men this year).  The men's A team are currently in second place behind Kent AC but there is a chance of beating them with a strong turnout.  Men's B are comfortably in 2nd, whilst both Women's A and B teams are in third place.  The last race is always a great finale on a measured three mile course, with the chance to enjoy a beer afterwards.  Keep an eye on the noticeboard and the AssemblyLeague Facebook page for more details of the fixture and location if you've not been before.

Sunday 4th September  - Middlesex Championships 10km Race - Victoria Park - 10:30am start
RUNNERS: Last chance to enter is TODAY (Monday) - all of the details are on the club noticeboard.  
HELPERS: We also need plenty of helpers to ensure the race runs smoothly.  I need folk to help out on the course, at the finish area, with baggage in the hall. Please get in touch over the coming days if you can please - I look forward to hearing from lots of volunteers!  Additionally there is catering help already requested by Susan and Malachy on the Facebook page.  Want to help out but can't come on the day - how about baking a cake for the stall in the hall?

Thursday 8th September - Club Championships Race #1 - The Flowers Mile - Register by 7pm, race at 7:15pm
Pleased to announce we have now set a date for this iconic and historic club race, where club track, road and junior athletes can all compete together.   All the details are on the noticeboard.  Previous results can be found at It is not an open race but paid-up members may invite a guest to run as well (although guests cannot take prizes). We will need plenty of volunteers to help with the event, especially time keeping and results recording - PLEASE GET IN TOUCH.

Sunday 25th September - HemiHelp Fun Run 10k and 3k fun run - Victoria Park - 11am
The club helps out this great local charity once again, with their annual event.  There's still time to enter here. Find out more about HemiHelp here and the work they do for children and young people with hemiplegia, a kind of paralysis. Come and run or help out on the day if you can, please.  More details on the noticeboard and Facebook in the coming weeks.

Tuesday 4th October - Chingford League Race #1 - Hog Hill Cycle circuit
The local league kicks off with two fixtures at Redbridge cycle circuit.  Women starts at 7:30pm, Men start at 8pm.  More details to follow.

Saturday 15th October - Metropolitan League Race #1 - Claybury Woods - 2:30pm
The Metropolitan Cross-Country League kicks off once again. The fixtures have been finalised and as usual all of the details are available on the Met League website.  This is the best cross-country league in London and both our men's and women's team compete in its top tier. It will be our primary focus for cross country this season and members are asked to prioritise these fixtures.  

Thursday 20th October - Club AGM - Provisional Date
Please keep the above in date in mind, for the club AGM.  Date and details to be confirmed.

It is with sadness we must report the passing of club athlete and record-holding sprinter Hamim Lubega, who succumbed to his battle with lung cancer on 25th August.  He was an active member of the club's track team and competed for a number of years for the club around the country.  The clubs thoughts are with Hamim's family and friends at this time, may he rest in peace. I found a nice tribute to Hamim on this blogpost.

That's it for now

Men's Road & XC Captain

Find out what your clubmates are up to on the Club Facebook page
Get the latest news and updates, follow @VPHTHAC on Twitter
Get news, updates and race results on the club noticeboard - handicap results are here:
Keep an eye out for forthcoming fixtures on the club website

Friday, 12 February 2016

Issue 89: February is the shortest month

Hello all

The next few weeks are very important for the club - hosting, racing, donating and handicapping.

Saturday 13th Feb - Met League FINAL - Alexandra Palace - 1:55pm / 2:35pm

The final race of the season. Unless you have a genuine excuse, we need every club member out running and supporting the club at the critical final race of the season. After a reduced turnout from the club at Horsenden Hill the senior men lie in 7th place, behind our main rival Barnet & District AC. If we are to stand any chance of saving our pride, we need all of our members out racing. The race is relatively local and so you have even fewer reasons not to attend. For the women, the A team sit in 5th place, one position above Barnet in 6th. A strong turnout is needed here to maintain this position in the middle of Division 1 for another season. The women's B team were in top position in Division 3 with promotion a possibility prior to the last fixture. Since then, they have slipped to position 3 and out of the promotion positions, but this could be rectified with a good turn out on the day.

Race details are on the Met League site:

Saturday 20th February - Chingford League Race #5 - Victoria Park - Helpers needed
It's our turn to host the Chingford League. For all of you who've enjoyed races organised and hosted by other clubs up to now, now is the time to give back. We need helpers on the day: before, during or after the race. If you can manage none of these, how about baking a cake to sell? All the details are here on the noticeboard. Please contact Laura or me if you can help out.

Saturday 20th February - Chingford League Race #5 - Victoria Park - Runners needed
This fixture is on the clean tarmac of Victoria Park. It's just under five miles (two laps of our renowned figure-of-8 course). If you make one fixture of the Chingford League this year at least make it this one. Cancel your parkrun in the morning, come and run a real race and make it count for the club. More details on the noticeboard and Facebook nearer the time.

Thursday 25th February - February Handicap - 2.9 miles - 7pm for 7:15pm start
The monthly handicap will take place as usual. Volunteer timekeepers and marshalls needed as usual. Please get in touch if you can help, as usual. And, as usual, all results are available at

Looking ahead:

Saturday 19th March - Club Championships 20 mile - 10am start
In case you missed the announcement, the date has been set for the Club 20. Think of it like the Club 10 we just had at the weekend, only more so. This is perfect for those of you wanting to practice your pacing, nutrition and coping strategies for the upcoming spring marathons. 8 laps of the famous figure-of-8 course.

Note given the length of this event we will start at 10am. The start is a long way from the club house so you need to be registered and numbered by 9:45am at the very latest.

Saturday 2nd April - Orion 15 - Epping Forest - 10am start
The fantastic 15 mile romp through the woods of Essex is back, a little later than previous years. Very popular with club members, although it's not clear if they are drawn by the quality running and competition or the free 'bubbly' at the end. Either way, entries are now open - more details on the Orion Harriers website. Register now before the deadline of 28th March - a bargain at £10.

Club Kit Consultation Update
Look out for an update later this week regarding the outcome of the club kit consultation and new vest supply.

And finally:

Kollecting Kit for Klaserie
Some of you may have seen the post on the club Facebook page from Paul Mee, a 'founder member' of the Klaserie Hawks running club in South Africa. Paul is looking for donations of usable running kit and shoes to donate and support athletes out there less well off than ourselves. I've sure many of you have some spares kicking around. See Paul's post here for details - deadline is Feb 18th

I'm pleased to announce that popular club member Duncan Steen and his partner Eliza welcomed a potential future member in to the world earlier this week. The club wishes Duncan, Eliza and baby Arlo Steen all the best.

Men's Road and Cross Country Captain

Remember, there are many ways to keep in touch with your club:

Find out what your clubmates are up to on the Club Facebook page
Get the latest news and updates, follow @VPHTHAC on Twitter
Get news, updates and race results on the club noticeboard
Keep an eye out for forthcoming fixtures on the club website

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Issue 87: Dreamy December Dispatch

Greetings of the season, ye members of this great club.  Plenty of events coming up in the New Year, and a few more races to sign up for, so fetch a small glass of sherry, your reading specs and get your diaries ready.

New Year's Day - Serpentine 10km - Hyde Park- 11am
Quite a few club members are already entered to run in this race, and it looks like there are still places. Check the Serpentine Website for details and entry if you fancy joining the fun and need a good reason for an early night on New Year's Eve.

Saturday 9th Jan 2016 - Middlesex Cross Country Champs - Wormwood Scrubs 1pm/1:45pm
SIGN-UP REQUIRED!  Sign-up form: - or see the noticeboard for more details.

Tuesday 12th Jan 2016 - Mob Match with Eton Manor AC - Well St Common - 7:45pm
As is tradition, one of the first sessions of the year is the Mob Match against Eton Manor.  It's our turn to host once again so you won't even need to travel, and we'll need plenty of helpers to make the night go smoothly.  So I expect to see a huge turnout from the club. All the details are on the noticeboard

Saturday 16th Jan 2016 - Metropolitan League - Horsenden Hill - 1:55pm/2:35pm
Race #4 of 5.  The prestigious Met League remains a priority for the club.  We need strong teams out to maintain our Men's and Women's team position in division A. Race 4 at Wormwood Scrubs went well for our women, coming 5th team on the day and holding position 5 in Division, punching above our weight with much larger clubs. Meanwhile the Women's B team is riding high in the top of division 3, with promotion a genuine possibility.  For the men, there is much work to do, our A team are in 7th with Barnet nipping at our heels in 8th position! Men, you know what is needed!

As usual, more details will be on the Met League website a little nearer the time.

Friday 29th January - Marathon Workshop with Mara Yamauchi - 6:30pm - Tooley Street
Details about this event have been sent to me, hosted by London Athletics. Get some advice from one of Britain's best ever female marathon runners. It looks like places are still available, and for £10 looks like money well spent. More details here, and booking website here.

Saturday 30th Jan 2016 - South of England XC Champs - Parliament Hill
Entries are now closed, with 39 club members signed up to run on the day.  Even if you're not running, come out to beautiful Hampstead Heath to watch this great event. Both juniors and senior men & women will be running on the day.  Afterwards there will hopefully be a trip to a local hostelry to review the day's racing in more detail.

Saturday 27th February - English National XC Champs - Donnington Park, Leicestershire
SIGN-UP REQUIRED! If you'd like to run in the Nationals, please get in touch with me or Laura.  More details about the event on the English Cross Country website.  I need to know by 9th January if you want to run.

And finally...

MSF - I foolishly neglected to mention this in the last newsletter, but following another successful club Bake Off event back in October, a total of £200was raised for Medecins Sans Frontieres, a fantastic global charity doing valuable work in some of the poorest parts of the world.  Well done to all who took part, and particularly to Charlie Maile and Rob Pitkethly, who got the event together.
New Future Member? - Club member Anthony Withstandley and his wife recently welcomed their second child in to the world. Welcome to the world Poppy, a sister for young Hugo. The club wishes you all the best. 

Lastly - I was inspired recently by a nice piece of writing by club member Dan Mutlow. I hope you enjoy it too:
Close your eyes for a minute. Imagine a world in which we send our kids to a school where cross country wasn't running round the playing field in football boots while the teacher had a sneaky fag behind the changing rooms and an extra lap wasn't seen as a devastating punishment. Imagine there were weight rooms, specific running coaches, sponsors, amazing kit, to make the team was an honour and the school champs made national news with tv cameras, fans, global coverage and heroic adulation from your school mates. It sounds like a John Lennon lyric but it EXISTS! God bless America!  See the video.

That's it. I wish you all a peaceful and relaxing Christmas break, and a healthy start to the new year.

Men's Road and Cross Country Captain

Remember, there are many ways to keep in touch with your club:

Find out what your clubmates are up to on the Club Facebook page
Get the latest news and updates, follow @VPHTHAC on Twitter
Get news, updates and race results on the club noticeboard
Keep an eye out for forthcoming fixtures on the club website