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Berkshire Trail Runners Spring Update

Updated: Jan 28, 2020

Spring Update…

Firstly, I would just like to say a huge thank you to all the members for making this club such a great success. I am never quite sure whether running makes relaxed fun people or, relaxed fun people make good runners. However, since the club’s inception I have seen a great circle of friends developing, and it is great to see so many of you running events together or just meeting up socially.

Our first few months as a “paid” club has allowed us to move the club forward, including upgrading our web site to a more professional level, increasing our sustainability with more run leaders, and our move towards affiliation, more about that later.

Membership: We now have 11 run leaders and 59 paid up members. Paid Membership allows runners to run with the Berkshire Trail Runners for one year, access to the club Forum and inclusion into our Strava clubs’ group.

I would also like to add my congratulations to Dean, Nick, Rochelle and Robin for completing their LiRF (Run Leaders) course in the last few months, without their commitment, time and effort scheduling runs would be almost impossible.

Expanding our runs: Variety is the spice of life and although the routes through Swinley are endless we don’t want to risk our runs becoming repetitive. We are therefore considering adding guest locations in which to run or adding variations or task’s within a run. Such as…

  1. Random Runs with multiple run leaders, an idea that we stumbled on last week where we handed the lead over to each runner within the group for 1-2km, running whichever trail they fancied, before navigation back to the lookout.

  2. Away Runs at different locations, Virginia Water or Thames Path could be candidates, however we would welcome further suggestions. However, these may need to be scheduled separately to avoid clashing with our Sunday runs. Additionally, the Ridgeway from Avebury to Ogbourne St George is one that I have been thinking about for a while which we could do as a one off sometime soon.

  3. Run & Pub: Choose a circular running route starting and returning to a pub, perhaps during the summer evenings. Reading Roadrunners currently do something similar from various pubs in the Reading area. Any suggestions for pubs and run routes would be most welcome.

  4. Team Challenge: Splitting the group into two equal teams to hunt for a flag hidden within a given area of the forest. This could be hung on trees in familiar spots.

We would also welcome suggestions here…

Tech T Shirts / Jackets: Our running Shirts as you will all know have been a great success, we look on in pride as we see so many of you choosing to wear your Berkshire Trail Runners at races and events all over the country. They have proven to be of excellent quality and very durable, the first batch we received will be well over a year old now and continue to look as good as new. We will process the next order as soon as we have reached the minimum order quantity of 20. They are available as a Vest, Long or Short Sleeved in both Men’s and Women’s fit. Please add any requests for running shirts to the dedicated area on our forum.

Cost: Long Sleeve Running shirt - £32 Short Sleeve Running shirt - £30 Vest: £29

Sunday Run

Jackets: The Jackets as you may know have been a long time coming (Chinese New Year!) and when they arrived, they did not meet the expectations from the proof. The writing on the logo was hard to read and our trademark background trees did not stand out. Thankfully we have a good rapport with our account manager at Scimitar, he has been working hard to rectify all the production issues including the incorporation of a revised version of the logo. We will advise as soon as we know more. I thank you all for your patience with the jackets it has been a long wait but it is crucial we get a product to be proud of.

Run Together Runners App: I am sure most of you now have the runner’s app installed on your phone which has made the booking and cancelling of runs so much easier. If you still have not downloaded it, you will find the links on our homepage. Run leaders have a slightly different version of the app which allows them to see who is booked on the day, allowing them to plan the run, or indeed cancel it if there is no one booked for that session. If a run is cancelled, you will receive a notification via email if you are registered for that run.

Strava Segments: I have added a few Strava Segments to small sections that we often run. These essentially are small set routes that I have selected on which Strava compares your time to your previous runs on that route. The anticlockwise route around Caesars camp starting from the main gate is one, and a lap around the Mill pond starting from the signposted entrance is another. Look for BTR as a prefix to name of the segment.

WhatsApp: Please can we ask that you keep the Regular runners group chat limited to ad hoc runs & post run photos / Strava screenshots etc, it has been increasingly hard to follow the core issues amongst the well-intended friendly banter. Hugh has kindly created another group called BTR Chat Group for all other stuff, which you could switch to as needed.

Facebook / Forum: As I have said before we are trying to move away from Facebook for publishing club updates, due to the fact that many people either don’t like social media or do not use it, however it is an important portal for attracting new members to our club so it will remain in place for the immediate future, however we now have a members forum in place on our website which is only viewable by members only.

Feel free to use it for exchanging ideas, tips and race suggestions. I am thrilled to see so many race suggestions up already which no doubt helps those planning their race calendar to team up with other members. May I recommend preceding the Race name with the date to help other members choose suitable runs.

The Forum can be found here:

Run Leader Rota: The run leader Rota will now be published on the WhatsApp Run leaders group and in the Forum in the run leaders section. This is primarily for the information of the run leaders however it may be useful to identify and contact the person responsible for the run on any given day.

Sharing Your Talents: There is no doubt you are all talented athletes; however, I am sure many of you have other skills, talents and / or ideas which you feel may benefit the club, please feel to contact us if you feel you have something to offer. Additionally if you would like to contribute to our blog or newsletter based around your expertise, experiences or skills we would like to consider them for publication also.

Runners Diary: Reading Half Marathon, Forest Five & Bracknell Half

Congratulations to all those who ran in the Reading half marathon, it was great to see the photos especially rocking the BTR shirts!

BH: I know many of you have signed up for the Bracknell half (12 May) too, it is always a good run, especially as it now starts and finishes in the Lexicon. I look forward to seeing many of you there and having a cheeky half in the Bull afterwards especially as it is free! More details on our forum at… FF: The forest Five (19th June)is now looming which is another great run in our own Swinley Forest over 5 miles, it would be good if we can combine this with food and drinks after in the Golden Retriever. Of course, we would have to book a table so I will need to know numbers. May I ask that all those attending add their name to the dedicated post on our forum at…

Sign up at…

AGM: We are planning to hold our second AGM Friday 17th May at 1900hrs. A few points on the AGM there is a statutory requirement for the group to vote the committee positions in each year, therefore we will be voting in the following positions for which we will need volunteer/ nominations for by the beginning of May. (Anyone can apply for any post) The current incumbent are shown in brackets after each appointment.

Chairman (Hugh)

Club secretary (Pam)

Treasurer (Katharine)

Communications and Media (Patrick K)

Social secretary (Karen)

DBS Verifier (Karen)

Welfare Officer (Annie)

Membership Secretary (Vikki)

Coaching Coordinator (Vikki)

Run Leader Coordinator (Hugh)

I feel it is only fair to let you all know now, the neither Hugh or Karen will be putting themselves forward for any committee post as they may well be leaving the area in the next 6 months and feel it would be irresponsible of them to take up a post knowing they would not complete the annual term for the post. Both Karen and Hugh will continue to act as Run Leaders until such stage as they move.

I stress that it is very important that this group takes control of its own destiny and that all members that can take up a post should put their names forward for a post.

Socials: We believe it is crucial to organise more socials as it is not all about running, and as every runner knows nutrients, protein and hydration are crucial for healthy runners! We are therefore looking for someone to step forward and nominate themselves as our social secretary in the coming elections.

Golden Retriever

English Athletics Affiliation: As Chairman Hugh took the decision to wait until after our second AGM to apply for affiliation, this decision was taken for a number of reasons the main ones are listed below:

Allow the group to mature and become more self-supporting and sustainable.

To allow time for us to recruit and qualify more Run Leaders to support the group fully.

There was a requirement to identify and put in place a coach.

All of the points above have now been achieved successfully, we have a great coach in Vikki, we have a total of 11 qualified Run Leaders and have 59 full members. In addition to this we have also developed the committee from the initial four members we voted in to all the positions you can see above a great achievement by everyone in our first year.

Armed with everything that has been achieved and with the support of a new committee whoever is lucky enough to get voted in as chair should have no problems with applying for and successfully getting full English Athletics affiliation.

Run and Talk: Rochelle has been working with Run Together to support the Run and Talk initiative which we are hoping to implement later in the year. Run and Talk is based around the idea that running is not just good for the body, but good for the mind too. However, run and talk runs will offer the opportunity for participants to talk about their issues with others. These runs will be totally separate from our usual runs to provide a more secluded environment in which to run. Several of the Berkshire Trail Runners have kindly offered their support, and under Rochelle’s guidance we hope to develop this further over the coming months. If anyone else is interested in the initiative or would like to help, please speak to Rochelle.

Run and Talk

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