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Andy Staveley thanks the club for his Honorary Membership Award

Thank you so much Paul – and all Burnden members for giving me this award of which I am immensely proud.
 
I am sincerely  grateful  for this honour and for the kind words which accompanied it.
 
I can’t remember the precise details, but I’m pretty sure I first joined the club around 1988 – after being collared by Gretta Rainford (who I knew via the Wanderers connection) when she saw me running unattached at a ‘fun-run’ type event at Haigh Hall.
 
I was a member for a couple of years in the late eighties, but was still a novice runner and was too intimidated to race too much. – in those days a six minute mile race pace would often leave you well outside the top 100 just in a local midweek club race. I could barely keep up at Monday night training in the lung-bursters up Manchester Road from the gym at Burnden Park.
 
My membership then lapsed for a few years and I’m fairly sure I re-joined in 1992.
 
I know I was on the annual Burnden coach trip to the Llandudno 10 in 1993 – because I still have the commemorative plate from that race and I remember chasing Neil Nuttall down the prom to the finish.
 
Some years later I got 60:11 at Llandudno which remained my best 10 mile time. I was absolutely certain that  I would easily get under the hour for years after that, but never quite made it! Too much time messing around on the fells I suppose.
 
Below is one of the earliest photos of me in a Burnden vest (remember those grey and black string vests – before the controversial introduction of red into our club kit!) – this was another coach trip to the Grasmere Gallop race, but I can’t remember what year.
 
For a period of around 18 years of the 30+ that I’ve been running, I averaged more than 50 races per year, completed more than 20 two-day mountain marathons, a couple of sub 3 marathons plus numerous wonderful races in the Swiss Alps, Cuba and elsewhere around the world – even one never to be repeated Tough Guy!
 
Lots of wonderful personal memories.
 
However, so many memories are directly connected to Burnden and, for me, the greatest aspect of running for a club is when you compete as a team and as a club and the camaraderie that brings.
 
I was always proud to represent Burnden at team events, and events like the Northern 12 stage relays, British Masters Relays, local cross-country leagues, Northern cross-country, the Pennine Bridleway Relay, the sadly defunct Haigh Hall Relays and the British Fell Relays remain among my fondest memories of turning out for Burnden. At events like the 12 stage, my sole aim was not to finish last in the blistering pace of leg 1 – but they were fabulous events which encapsulate the joys of club running for me.
 
To pick just two occasions when I was most proud to wear the Burnden vest……..
 

Not known in any way as a Fell-running club, Burnden were able in 2012 to select a Vet 50 team to compete in the British and English Championships which, to the consternation of the famous Lakeland and Yorkshire fell clubs, won the team prize at the first Championship race at Lad’s Leap - and then went on to finish 5th overall in the British & English Championships at the end of the season. A unique achievement for a club like Burnden and it was an honour to be part of that team and part of a club participating in such events.

 
The second occasion was a standard local club race at Radcliffe during my time as chairman when we turned out nearly 40 runners for the first time – this was a number which was greater than our total club membership when I first took over the chair. From then on we continued to turn out a massive and growing number of runners at races on a routine basis - and Burnden were back on the map.
 
There are a thousand other instances I could bring to mind, but I’ll save those stories to be recounted over a pint when we can all get back in the pub – or during a sociable Sunday run over the tops.
 
Coming at a time when I am once again striving to get back running after yet another set-back, this award was a timely and greatly appreciated boost.
 
Thank you once again to all Burnden Roadrunners.
 
Keep on running,
 
Andy

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