Reflections on the Warwick Mile from our leaders
Back in July 2015 we were approached by Sport Relief to ask if we would host the local event – the Warwick Mile – for March 2016 (the council had recommended Regency Runners to Sport Relief). Of course we said yes, then it was a big step into the unknown for us!
I chose St Nicholas Park as it seemed perfect, having a ready made mile loop and is easily accessible. We undertook a few chilly site walks, planning where everything would go as well as some panics along the way, with the odd sleepless night, to bring everything together.
I became a regular on social media with daily posts and Tweets to local media. The other leaders were somewhat concerned about my addiction to monitoring the numbers signed up (it was not on an hourly basis, honestly!). As the publicity continued to gain momentum, we were approached by BBC Coventry and Warwickshire for someone to go on the radio. Helen bravely stepped up to the mark and it turns out she is a natural on the radio! Although she told us she was shaking, it really didn’t show.
On the day all our hard work came together and the Warwick Mile was absolutely amazing. 339 Runners, which was amazing as I had been asked to set target number back in July so pulled 350 out of thin air. Regency Runners’ fantastic members turned out to marshal and cheer on the runners, sell cakes, help set up and clear away, always with a smile. The music and MC Todd added to the fantastic atmosphere. The Mayor and her dog joined in the warm up! We had serious runners, people doing the distance for the first time and walkers. Some in fancy dress too! Lina brought a smile to the runners’ faces by motivating and running in with them at the end.
Can’t wait till June when we find out the total raised by all the runners for some very worthy causes.
We were contacted by Sport Relief to thank all at Regency Runners and to say how impressed they are by the numbers we got on the day for first time organisers. Oh, and they would like us to do it in 2018!
The conversation started ‘we have been approached by Sport Relief and asked if we would host the event in 2016 ……..’ I went cold. To say paperwork is my weak point is somewhat of an understatement and this event would generate plenty of it. However the strength of the Regency Runners team is that we are a team and others took on the paperwork while I wrestled with annotating the course map.
The choice of venue was obvious. A pre-measured mile around St. Nicholas Park. We are all for an easy life and things were made easier still by the generosity of the Leisure Centre in loaning us tables and the use of their electricity.
We promoted the event on social media, through local running groups and we even took over Park Run one week to get the message out. Helen was fabulous at letting folks know how to sign up on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire radio. Tina hysterically kept us up to date with the number of runners signed up (not quite hourly!) but this provided a great opportunity to tease her.
As a way of including the community, I approached the 9th Warwick (Emscote) Beavers, Cubs and Scouts to help out by handing out water, which they did with enthusiasm, only throwing a little over each other (by accident, I’m sure). When I asked one of the scouts for his opinion of the event, he excitedly commented on how fast the winner was, how fast the first woman was, how many children were taking part and how good the cake was. On that final point I agree with him, with RR members and friends really stepping up to the challenge and baking loads of yummy treats.
My over-riding impressions of the day: everything that could go well did go well. The RR runners all helped with marshalling (thank you). Lina ran or walked the finishers home with her fantastic enthusiasm. Lots of runners who had just completed our Learn to Run course ran three miles (cue lots of applause). Family and friends all turned out to help. So, another conversation has started, “We have been approached to organise Sport Relief in 2018 ……” Well, it would be a shame to let that paperwork go to waste!
Below is a short video of the start: