It’s been another exciting and jam-packed year for the Club and as 2019 comes to a close, we want to celebrate with a blog of our top five highlights from the last 12 months.
Couch to 5k Graduations
We’ve had two Couch to 5km courses this year with over 30 new runners graduating at Weymouth parkrun. The January graduates have since progressed on to 10k, 10 mile and beyond, and our most recent graduates have been welcomed on to our weekly club runs with some even taking on their first RIOT challenge, Festive 24. Bringing new people into running (and RIOT) is important to us and it has been brilliant seeing our graduates achieve the milestone distance at the graduation parkrun that they trained so hard for. At the graduation run they were cheered on by our members who supported them all the way as we took-over the parkrun volunteer rota. If you are inspired by our Couch to 5k graduates and want to kick-start the new year off with a new running lifestyle then book on to the new c25k course which begins on the 9th of January.
One of the big 2019 highlights for us was the start of the RIOT Adventure Race series! At the ‘Adventure Race I’ a group of RIOT runners could be found huddled together at sunrise in Maiden Castle car park with numb feet and much trepidation, as pre-event details were scant and they had no idea what to expect. Armed with a map, runners scattered in different directions across the snow-covered ground on the hunt for points (which came in the shape of book pages) and challenges (such as eating cake with Rosie), once scores were totted up Chris Monteith, Sue and Charlie Thompson were crowned winners of Adventure Race I. Fast-forward to May 2019 and the ‘Adventure Race II’, which was bigger and better than the first, with more participants coming along to see what it was all about (thank you to Mike and Liz Elliot for hosting). The second event was no disappointment, with RIOT runners out hunting for book pages, completing challenges (needless to say there was no cake eating challenge at this event, instead something much more gory lay in store), and embracing the new twists such as a “bonus books” and a Chauffeur (if you were lucky enough to spot them). George Peters, Brian Fields and Rob Kircher-Smith won the Adventure Race II, but as we go into the New Year we are looking forward to seeing who will be next to have their names engraved on to the coveted winners shield. The Adventure Race III will be held on the 8th-9th of May with more details to come in 2020.
Wow, once again, what a year for our challenges! These are carefully designed to help provide motivation to run (outside of races and events) and to encourage mixing with RIOTers you may not meet on club runs. 2019 was started with the highly competitive Paris to Munich challenge and finished with the more personal challenge, Festive 24. However, our top challenge highlights are a tie between Race the Sun and The 230. Race the Sun had RIOTers running from sunrise to sunset on the longest day of the year, each taking selfies for the Race the Sun live-feed, this year we finished with a BBQ and rounders game at the Rugby Club to see the last runners in at sunset. The Autumn 230 challenge involved teams of four working together to tick off a certain mileage distance each day. The 2019 version of this challenge brought with it a new twist, a daily photo for extra points, including a selfie with a yellow car or recreating a pub advert, but what made this challenge special was the community spirit that our 230 teams showed in some of the photo challenges, with RIOT members picking litter, donating to food banks and shoe box appeals, we even made the echo!
A major highlight through the year has been seeing you all rewarded for your hard work by achieving things you may have once not thought possible. In 2019, we had lots of RIOT members stepping out of their comfort zone and taking on their first pool and open-water triathlons, with others going on to complete Weymouth Ironman 70.3 – which was amazing to spectate and support through the RIOT aid station. We also saw people achieve PBs across a range of distances from 5k to 10k, half marathon to marathon and more. Personal achievements can also come through the completion of super tough events and we have certainly witnessed our members taking part in a fair share of them, including the Snowdon Brutal Triathlon, UTMB, Trail du Petit St Bernard, Climb South West Jurassic Coast 100k, Ironman Dun Laoghaire 70.3 and the Isle of Wight 100k, just to name a few. However, with personal achievements it isn’t always about the PBs or taking on tough events, it can be achieving a distance for the first time, taking on a RIOT challenge or simply just getting back out and running when you may not want to. We were able to recognize just some of the great achievements and contributions of our members in our awards event in March (read the blog here) and we look forward to our next awards event on the 13th March 2020.
Running and Beyond!
The social aspect of the club remains a strong theme running throughout RIOT, naturally much of this comes from running, such the as social “take-overs” at Yeovil Half, Weymouth 10, Dumble Bimble and the Poole Festival of Running where RIOTers attended on mass to cheer each other over that finish line. We have also enjoyed our social runs where we try different trail routes and running with other members we may not regularly have opportunities to run with, our social runs have taken us to the Purbeck coast for the Pasty Run, over White Horse Hill to the Springhead for a roast and also include our summer trail tourism to Ringstead, Thorncombe Woods and The Fleet. However, it’s not all about running, there have been a wide variety of other events throughout 2019 which have taken us away from our trainers and lycra, including; the Awards Event, the Christmas party (with over 80 of us descending on Kingston Maurward for a Christmas dinner and a “few” drinks), the Duchess of Cornwall pub quiz, the Race the Sun BBQ, (which had music from Blue Bridge (thanks to Holly and Graham), rounders games and a bouncy castle) and more recently, we had our RIOT bake-off, which encouraged the bakers among us get baking for charity. Lastly, the biggest social aspect beyond running events is the support and encouragement which runs through the club, whether it is face to face or on social media, we remain proud of the community you have all created and we look forward to more of this in 2020!
Thank you all for another great year running RIOT, for your continued support and to those who help us make the club run smoothly from inputting ideas, supporting our Couch to 5k course and volunteering to lead and tail club runs. We are now looking forward to 2020 which will have lots more running, swimming and cycling, but which also brings RIOT Juniors, RIOT swimming lessons, the Adventure Race III, more challenges, takeovers, a new C25k course and more, but for now we just want to finish by wishing all our members and their families a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!