Chichester Runners News

Newsletter February 2021

Dear club members,

Welcome to the first Chichester Runners newsletter of 2021, which coincides with the first signs that the winter lockdown of 2020/21 might be coming to an end. For those of you who continue to run and train, well done - we aim to return to group training in the very near future (subject to England Athletics guidance this is looking like March 29). 

In this edition - 

  1. Your views count in deciding our future as a charity (and confirming new kit)
  2. Our new Lead Coach Keith Akerman on the exciting new training sessions
  3. Respond to Spond (adios to Picktime - Spond is your new way to book sessions) 
  4. Subscriptions - For less than a gym’s monthly fee you get a whole year from your club (and help to build a training track). Don’t delay - pay today.
  5. Your committee and management team
  6. Virtual training session and FREE* coffee
  7. We need your ideas for training track fundraising
  8. Engage with the club via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - plus our website

Your chance to determine our future 

Over the coming weeks, we will be asking our membership to vote on key decisions. 

Becoming a charity: One major decision is whether the club becomes a charity. The management team believes that the time is right for the change - it significantly improves our chances of winning funding for future projects and it removes the unlimited personal liability risk that comes with being a committee member. While such risk may be extremely low, it increases significantly as a leaseholder or owner of a track.

But even without a track - whether that be at the college or elsewhere - the committee needs to make the change for a club as large and successful as ours to continue to thrive.

Such a change will not affect subscriptions (though we cannot claim back Gift Aid on these sums, only donations) and to a great extent will not be apparent to members. It will demand greater governance and the reporting of our annual accounts to the Charity Commission. 

The club has put together a briefing document on the proposal to become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (Foundation model). Please follow this link to the website:         (Please note that this document was updated on 05/03/2021)

We will also hold a Zoom Q&A session for members to ask any questions after they have read the document. Look out for details soon. If you’re already convinced and don’t need to read any further, please grant a proxy vote to the committee by contacting the committee via the Secretary email - please put 'Charity proposal proxy vote' in the subject line and state that you want the committee to use your vote at an EGM. Alternatively, please use the contact form and use the Comments/Enquiries box to advise that you want the committee to use your vote.

Club vest: The next vote is to confirm your choice of vest - as explained at the AGM. 

We have found an improved fabric (no seams!) and teamed up with Alexandra Sports in Portsmouth to supply them. Unfortunately we could not find a Chichester retailer prepared to stock our vests at a reasonable price - but the good news is that Alexandra Sports will post them. The new tops will also be available as T shirts and crop tops. Training gear to follow. Look out for more info and the survey to have your say. 

Update from our new Lead Coach

As many will be aware, Keith Akerman is our first ever Lead Coach. His primary focus is on the adult runners and he’s busy coming up with plans for our return to club training sessions. He is aiming to ensure we have opportunities for everyone to get the best out of them irrespective of whether you are super fast, just getting going after lockdown or are somewhere in between.

  1. A new session focused on members who have completed Couch to 5k or returning after a lay off (injury or lockdown). It will be a shorter session (45mins) and likely to be offered on Mondays. 
  2. A longer session on a Tuesday for our faster runners looking for a harder session (1hr 15mins). 
  3. Mixed ability sessions will also be offer. 
  4. Winter Wednesday night social run - emphasis on having an easy, chatty session. In the summer months, the trail runs will replace them. We may be able to restart trail runs as early as March 31 - watch this space. 
  5. Providing our members with complementary sessions that give balance to your training - with one type of session Monday/ Tuesday (such as pace) and a different goal on Thursday and Friday (for examples threshold or tempo). Along with an easy run on Wednesday this will help you to get the most out of your training. 
  6. Hold regular time trials to enable you to gauge your progress. Amanda has regularly held a one miler, while other leaders have held anything between 1km and 5km. 
  7. These sessions will be available for members only to book via Spond (see below). We hope to start the sessions from March 29 subject to England Athletics guidance.

Respond when you hear from Spond to book training sessions

We are moving to Spond as our way of booking training sessions - you should see an invite asking you to join Spond which can be accessed via a web browser or an app. The system has proved very popular with the junior leaders and parents who found it efficient and easy to use. If a session is full, you can join the waiting list and will be automatically given a place when one becomes available. 

Picktime is being retired - so please delete your account (we will delete the club Picktime once we have transitioned). 

Using a booking system allows us to ensure we adhere to Covid rules and that we do not have sessions over-subscribed. Run leaders and coaches are being trained on how to use the system - so please look out for further info and your invite!

Time for club subscriptions

Annual club subscriptions are coming due – we extended the subscription year for an extra three months (to the end of March) in recognition of the challenges the club had providing training sessions because of lockdowns. We did not save any money of course as we are 100% volunteer led. Our subs stay the same as in 2020 - and represent fabulous value - the whole year for less than a month’s gym membership. Your subs provide the money which goes towards the training track project and other initiatives - including developing our run leaders and coaches. By moving our subscription year we are now synchronised with the England Athletics (EA) year. This also means that when you sign up for EA membership, you can be sure that is aligned to your club membership and so the benefits are known. 

To help our new Membership Secretary who has the unenviable job of processing the EA memberships please pay early using the link 

*** Did you know that using a debit card payment reduces fees? ****

Before writing off adding EA membership read this!

  • Discounts on numerous road races every year so if you compete in road races over the year then you will personally benefit from subscribing to EA when you pay your club subs; 
  • The more members who subscribe to EA, the more places our club will be allocated in the London Marathon – and if you are one of the thousands who have been unsuccessful in the ballot, this might be the only way of getting a place;
  • EA has been extremely helpful through the last few years in terms of legal guidance and also expert advice on the track project; 
  • EA has also provided useful support on the new training structure – more of that below.

So EA really are a worthwhile organisation due to the support they provide throughout the year to Chichester Runners.

New Committee and Management Board

At the club AGM held in November, a new committee was agreed, with Jon McElhill taking over as Chairman. Thank you to Amanda Godfrey for chairing for the previous challenging year – she will now focus her efforts in delivering the track project. Other members of the new committee are: Secretary - Sandra Pidwell; Senior membership secretary – Winston Bond; Communications - David Knowles; Webmaster/IT - Steve Davy. Other members of the management team are: Andy Hall, Vicky Balandis, Joanne Brown, Laura Holder (Treasurer) and Amanda. Helen Dean is our new Junior membership secretary.

Virtual training sessions

The Friday training group has been meeting over the past few weeks - but only virtually. Run leader Jon sends out a session (with flexibility to make it more or less exhausting), then we get together for a free* coffee via Zoom at 11:30. If you want to join the session let Jon know, either by contacting Jon directly or by using the contact form on the club website.

* well you do have to make it yourself… so kind of free!

On the right track

The Training Track committee has been busy refining the design, negotiating with the college on a long lease and applying for civic funds. But we need your help. If you have ideas on how to raise money and can help (or indeed have a spare £200,000 to donate!), please let us know - the club needs all the members to drive this forward together. Please use the the contact form on the club website to share your ideas with the committee.

Communications and Social Media

There is lots of activity going on in relation to our exciting training track project, an invitation for the club to become the lead organiser for the Chi 10k race and also news on a club patron who will support us in the future. Don’t miss our next edition of the newsletter

The frequency of the newsletter is not likely to be weekly (more likely monthly). However information will be added to the club website, which will be updated more regularly, thanks to Steve Davy. Add the club website to your favourites on your device and check regularly  and let us know of any additions you would like to see added, including photos and news.

For those of who use social media, club news will also be added to Twitter @ChiRunnersAC, Instagram @ChichesterRunnersAC and Facebook Chichester Runners and AC
Give us a follow 

If you do not wish to receive email communications from the club, please let us know by using the contact form.