(This history of the Hungerford Hares Running Club is based on a paper kindly sent by club chair and founder member, Mandy Waldon, August 2020.)
The Hungerford Hares Running Club (RC) was founded on 5th June 2007.
The founding members were Mandy Waldon, her sister Claire Digweed and then other friends and local runners June Frith, Matt Collett and James Taylor. Mandy had seen lots of runners in and around Hungerford, herself travelling to Marlborough to run with them, so suggested to Claire initially about a Hungerford Running Club.
The initial planning meeting took place on 11 Apr 2007. It was June’s suggestion we call ourselves the Hungerford Hares. Looking at the minutes from our planning meeting on the 11/4/07 there seemed to be no debate or discussion-just agreed!
We discussed club colours-Maroon and Royal blue were chosen as they reflected the colours of Hungerford.
This first meeting discussed admin, advertising, committee roles (Claire secretary, Mandy, Chairperson, June treasurer. We contacted England Athletics for support and also Marlborough RC as none of us had any experience of setting up a sports club let alone a running club.
Subsequent meetings we considered the sessions, what we would offer. None of us had any qualifications really other than being runners and having been members of other clubs. James brought along a friend Andy from VO2 Max-experienced in personal training and fitness.
We agreed not to charge a fee initially, the importance of catering for all levels of fitness and having visiting coaches for special sessions. Running the sessions from the Triangle field was an obvious choice and the Hungerford Town Council had no objections.
We officially opened the club 7.30pm on 5th June 2007.
Registration opened after 3 weeks and formal registration forms were completed.
The club grew in numbers (steadily), sessions became more organised and England Athletics started Leadership in Running Fitness courses which many of the committee members attended. This embedded the routines of a warm up and cool down as well as targeted hill/speed sessions.
Designed at Porsche by a friend of James Taylor (who was working there at the time). We had the choice of 2 designs and went with the majority vote within the committee.
Affiliation and club kit:
Affiliation with England Athletics was confirmed 20th Nov 2007.
Club vest and design was agreed and documented in the club’s constitution and registered with England Athletics.
2009 our first club place for the London Marathon. Members have to enter through the normal ballot, then if they are unsuccessful they can enter for a club place which is decided on at a club social ‘pick your name out of a hat’ night.
Harey 8 Race:
The first Harey 8 race organised by the running club came together in 2012 and is now a regular in the annual racing calendar. Each year the club has committed to supporting a local charity to raise funds, whilst ensuring a great race experience for the runners. The charities have included The Bruce Trust, The Tuesday Club, Chain and Sport in Mind.
More on the first event in Newbury today can be found here.
The Run West Berks series developed in more recent years with 3 other local races throughout May, June and July and included the Harey 8. Last year entrants reviewed a discount for entering all four racers and this proved really successful with more entering the series than ever before. An aggregate time is calculated and a trophy presented to the overall female and male with the fastest times over the 4 events.
The 10 year celebration of the club was held on the steps of the town hall on 10th June 2017 in conjunction with Sport in Mind representatives as they were our chosen charity for the Harey 8 that year. We encouraged local people to come and find out more about us and we sold cakes with the proceeds going to Sport in Mind.
Beginner Programmes and After school clubs:
We started beginner groups a few years after the club formed-this was led by June but supported by all the committee and Run Leaders as we recognised how important it was to support new runners and introduce them to the benefits of regular exercise.
Mandy, June and Simon Hodkin linked in with the Hungerford Primary School to provide an after school running club for the year group 5/6. This has been a great success, often getting 30+ kids out doing interval/hill sessions as well as timed runs to improve their physical and mental health.
The club is still going strong, the diversity of the group is the secret to its success, with a complete range of abilities from beginners to ultra-runners. We are also a very friendly, social group who recognise the importance of regular exercise for improved mental and physical health. We now have a mental health champion in the club, an initiative started by England Athletics. The role of a Mental Health Champion is to support people to access the mental wellbeing benefits of running, remove stigma and get people talking about mental health.
- One of the first photos of founder members and club runners in our new kit 2007. Glen, Matt (L-R Back Row). Esther, Claire and June (L-R)
- Mandy Waldon, Club chair and founder member
- June and Claire (2nd and 3rd in from R) with some beginners in 2015
- Hares club vest
- Mandy presenting cheque to Sport in Mind 2017
- Mandy and Claire Presenting cheque to the Bruce Trust in 2015
- The hares after an interval session under a rainbow
- Some Hares (June, Claire, Victoria and Billy) at Kintbury race 2014
- Chief Marshal for Harey 8 2019 Geoff
- Harey 8 2019 held at the Rugby Club