Following the interruptions due to Covid in the last three seasons, it has been a welcome return to normality this season. As usual, we had our pre-season Hutt Fun Run in March. The opening day was on 1 April and the season will end at the prize giving on 7 October.
Undoubtedly, the big event of the year was our Centenary. The Club was started in 1923 as a breakaway from the Olympic Harrier Club and the Centenary celebrations were held this year over King’s Birthday Weekend. There were informal get togethers on Friday and Sunday and a formal dinner on Saturday. Each year we still have a run with Olympic, alternating between our clubrooms and theirs, this year, as part of the celebrations, running from our clubrooms.
My thanks for the organisation of this event go to the Centenary sub-committee, ably chaired by Vanessa Trompetter.
Races and Events
Details of place getters (individuals and teams) for these events are on the HVH website.
Our first event was, as usual the Novices and President’s races (including the Annie Huggan Cup), held at Sladden Park. These races are races for club members, the Presidents race being for anyone who has placed in a harriers race previously and the Novices race for everyone else. It was great to see some good times for this handicap race.
Early in the season are the centre relays, the Shaw Baton and University Relay races. These are cross country races and take place at Battle Hill Park and QE II Park. This year, these relays also counted towards the Wellington Region points races. Later in the season we had the Needle Relay in Wellington. HVH, especially our younger members, did well in these races.
The first major Wellington Region race was the Vosseler Shield. Once again, our younger members did extremely well, with several individual medal places and team medal places on this difficult course.
In June we had the Dorne Cup, a regional points race, which is run by HVH at Trentham Park. Although a regional points race, it is also open to other clubs and we consequently had a large field, from as far away as Feilding and Hawkes Bay. Again we had a number of individual medal places and also we had first place for Girls U 14 team and second places for Girls Under 14 and Boys under 14 teams.
In July we managed to send a team to the North Island Cross Country Championships and we also had some individual entries in the National Cross Championships, both held in Taupo. We again had first medal places for three of our younger runners (NIXCC) and one first place boy under 14 in the National XCC. We also got a first and third place in the NIXCC for men over 80 and a first place in the same grade at the National XCC.
Also in July was the Wellington Regional Cross Country Championships. We again got several medal places for our younger members, but also one for Masters Men 60+.
In August we entered a number of teams in the Sanders, Gough and Robbie series of races. These races are for harrier clubs in the Hutt Valley and Wairarapa and the host club is rotated between these clubs. This year it was the turn of Wainuiomata Harrier Club, the other clubs competing being Trentham United harriers and Masterton Cycling and Running Club. Also this year HVH added some extra cups to commemorate our centenary and also to line up with the age grading of Masters Men and Women with other Wellington races. One of our teams placed first (Masters Women Centenary Cup) and also our teams placed second or third in six of the nine races.
The final Wellington Regional Points race was the Wellington Road Championships in August. Again, we had a number of medal places for our younger members and also a third place for Masters Women over 60.
Two other HVH races were held in September – the Rose Bowl series of races (around the bridges in Lower Hutt and the Saunders Cup (2km, 5km and 10km) along the Petone Foreshore. Although these races are internal to the club, the results count to the points for individual members.
The final races of the season will be the Consolation Races and Turkey Trot on the last day of the season.
Hutt Valley Marathon
This year HVH (together with Ken Howell) again undertook the organisation of the Hutt Valley Marathon and associated races. This year the race meeting was a very successful event, with nearly 1,000 entries in total for all the races.
Again, I want to extend my thanks to all our members (some of whom also ran!) who helped with the organisation, including setting up the website, taking registrations, organising sponsors and spot prizes, setting up the course and the marshals.
As this was a successful event and also as a fundraiser for the club, I hope that we can do it again next year.
As will be plain from the race results, we have a strong membership in the Junior grades. The membership in the senior grades (20 to 34 years) is very low, but in the Masters grades (over 35) it is reasonably strong.
The “hollowing out” of the Senior (and to a lesser extent, the Masters) grades seems to be a common phenomenon, not only in harrier clubs, but also other sports clubs. We have used the Hutt Fun Run and the Hutt Valley Marathon to try to improve the recruitment of members, but with limited success.
We must continue to recruit in the Junior grades and endeavour to retain them when they Senior age.
One of our aims is to retain our juniors. To this end we have set up training sessions in the evenings. We were able to retain the services of an excellent trainer. Thank you to our Club Captain Paul Strickland for organising this
We share our clubrooms with the Petone Cricket Club (we actually rent them off them for the winter season). You will have noticed that the clubrooms have had an upgrade over the last summer, especially the deck at the front and the bathrooms and the changing rooms. This was carried out by the Cricket Club to suit their own requirements and isn’t ideal for us. We intend to use some of our own funds to improve the kitchen facilities. Hopefully, this will be carried out over the summer.
The club is managed via an Executive Committee which meets regularly as needed. The committee is headed by the Club President and includes the Club Captain, the Treasurer, Secretary and other members. The first two are elected by the club membership who also elect the other committee members. The Secretary and Treasurer are chosen from the committee membership.
Last year we were fortunate to get some new committee members elected and I am pleased to say that the new blood has been well worthwhile, bringing new talent and new ideas to the table. The recruitment of new committee members is always welcomed.
Unfortunately, our Treasurer, Peter Sparks, has decided to resign from the committee at the end of the season. I want to commend him for his excellent work in maintaining our accounts and all the other jobs he has taken on during his term. He will remain a member of the club.
There are also officers of the club who may, or may not be members of the club. In particular I wish to thank the Handicapper who, at the beginning of the season was Stuart McKenzie but taken over later by Donald Coley.
My thanks for the help and assistance that I have received over the past year go to all the members of the club and especially all the members of the committee,