In 1984 RAF medic Barry Garfoot was posted from Cyprus to the RAF Hospital at Ely where he met Martin Hadnett, another RAF medic and keen runner who eventually ran 2:30 in the London Marathon. Both trained at lunchtime with the RAF Hospital cross-country team and thought they should start a running club based at the Paradise Centre in Ely. In 1985, they contacted Maurice Reed (who was then Manager of the Paradise Centre) to arrange a meeting at the The King’s Arms pub in St Mary’s Street where Maurice said they could use the Paradise Centre as a base to meet and change. Thus in August 1985 was born Ely Runners.
The formation was presumably given publicity including public notices (see photo archive 1986-88) and the first 6-8 members included Barry Garfoot, Martin Hadnett, Tony Hall, Maurice Reed, Colin Bent, and Rodney Atkinson. They started entering races (and claiming the -50p affiliated fee) and trained on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings. Another benefit was an increased chance of getting place in the London Marathon. Barry was posted to the RN in Portsmouth in 1988 but continued to live in Ely and commute on a weekly basis until moving to Halton in 1989-90. Martin Hadnett moved to Chippenham in 1996.
John Turner moved to Ely on 20th August 1986 and on 25th August 1986 ran in the Ely Half Marathon, then organised by current member Maurice Reed when he was manager of the Paradise Centre. At this time John made contact with the club and joined for a sub of £1. Whilst moving to Ely, John Turner was amused to see a sign to Grunty Fen and thought it would make a good name for a half marathon race.
Tony Hall recalls that the first race as an Ely Runners team (Carole Hatfield, Rodney Atkinson, Tony Hall, Peter Ford, Barry Garfoot) outside the city was the 50-mile Fenland Relay at March on 6th September 1986. The next team race was a cross-country event at March on 30th November 1986 in which Tony Hall, Rodney Atkinson, Colin Bent and John Turner took part.
The Ely Half Marathon originally used a rural route north of the city including Little Downham but after the bypass was completed in 1986, confined itself (from 1986 to the last event in 1990) to two twisting and hilly circuits around Ely. See photo archive 1986-88 for a map of the city course.
Following the demise of the Ely and Cambridge Half Marathons, the Grunty Fen Half Marathon became a reality and has since been held continuously from 1991 from Witchford Village College. It was the first open race organised by Ely Runners. This race has always attracted a substantial entry and incorporated many championships, including ARC, Road Runners Club, EVAC, Cambs AA, and Hash House Harriers. It has also been a Cambs Road Race League event for many years.
The club began to grow with other early ‘members’ such as Jon Peacock (who often trained with Martin Hadnett and had a London Marathon PB of 2:29 but never actually joined ER!), Rodney Atkinson, Carol Hatfield, Peter Marchant, Carol Taylor, Clive Hall, Barry Aldridge, Janet Clarke, David Buckingham, Maurice Reed, Peter Ford, Mick Burton, and Mike Willmott. Club Chairmen have been Tony Hall, Carol Taylor, John Allen and Peter Gipp. Club Treasurers have been Colin Bent, Lenja Sundgren, Tony Hall and Peter Harris. The first Club Secretary was John Turner who after 24 years handed over to Steve Tovey in 2011. The first recorded Annual General Meeting was held on 3rd January 1990. Tony Hall (Chairman), Colin Bent (Treasurer) and John Turner (Secretary) were all re-elected. Colin Bent was asked to open a club bank account and it was agreed that the club subscription should remain at £2.
John Turner produced the club's first circular and events list early in 1990 and this later developed into the club's first Newsletter edited by Peter Marchant (who designed the club’s original cathedral logo) from 1991 to 1992. John Turner then took over as editor and produced the A5 postal Newsletter until June 2003. This was then replaced by a monthly Newsletter/Race & Events list which is circulated to members by email and published on the club’s website. Rachel Roberts took over John Turner as Editor of the Newsletter in April 2009, then Martin Courtney in September 2010, and Matt Holmes in March 2011 with a new column format.
The club joined the Today's Runner Cross Country League and from 1989 held several successful 8k races on the tough (about 600’ of climb) four lap Cherry Hill and Dean’s Meadow course, and once on a course of 5.5 miles to a loop at Little Thetford and back to Ely. The King's School Hayward Theatre in the Gallery was used as race HQ for these events.
Following the last Ely Half Marathon (two difficult laps around the city organised by the Paradise Centre) in 1990, the club decided in 1991 to organise it's own half marathon race on a new and faster course around Grunty Fen. Since then, the popular Grunty Fen Half Marathon has been held each year on the second Sunday in September from Witchford Village College. It has often incorporated other championships (CAAA, EVAC, HHH and RRC) and the CRRL. It was also a candidate for the 2005 AAA of England Championships.
The 10k Handicap and course was the idea of ex-member Chris Baker (currently working in the USA) who lived in Pymore and used the route for training. This instigated the club’s first 10k Handicap race on 29th September 1996. It started and finished in Pymore near to Chris Baker’s house. The winner was Darren Murfitt who received the new trophy from John Turner’s mother on her 90th birthday. Subsequently, the 10k Handicap started and finished in Little Downham. Following a financial loss in the 1999 Grunty Fen Half Marathon, it was decided to hold an open New Year's Eve 10k on the same course as the 10k Handicap. Fortunately, New Year’s Eve was on a Sunday in 1999 and the first event was inevitably successful. Since then, it has always been held on 31st December, irrespective of the day, to become one of the most popular races in the region.
The club held it's first Christmas Dinner in the Old Boat House Restaurant on Friday 13th December 1991 and has held a Christmas event ever since. After a few Christmas dinners (preceded by drinks at Carol Taylor's ancient house on the Waterside), members realised the drinks were more fun than yet another pre-Christmas dinner, so the event moved to the Prince Albert pub in Silver Street (because of their excellent cask mild ale) to become 'Ely Runners’ Christmas Drinks at the Albert' on the second Wednesday in December. Due to increased membership, the event had to be moved in 2008 to the larger Royal Standard pub on Forehill and then to the Cutter for 2009 and 2010. The club’s places for the London Marathon are drawn and a raffle (organised by Adam and Natalle Etches) is held for a local charity.
On 16th January 1992, The Ely Weekly News reported the existence of a former club in Ely, only recollected by a very few early Ely Runners with long-term residency in the city:
£544 for school
Surplus funds from the recently disbanded Ely Athletics Club have been donated to a special school in the city. Committee members decided to give the £544 to the Highfield School in Cambridge Road.
Repetition, interval and hill training were gradually introduced by John Turner and courses and routes developed to accommodate the increased Wednesday training activity. About 1997, Tim Elkington suggested training on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the club has since done so. Barry Garfoot originally took training but Tony Hall soon took over in the late 1980s and continued until he handed over to John Turner in about 1994. Membership remained at 20-25 for many years with sometimes very few members attending training. However, in the late 1990's membership began to expand due to the club’s achievements and the increase in Ely’s population. By 2009, the club had 130 members with 20-35 regularly attending training. The 2009 annual subscription was still relatively low (£33 to join and £10 to renew thereafter) and good value as it included free race strip, free training, and free changing and showers at the Paradise Centre.
The club's now traditional 'Pre-Christmas Long Run' from Wooditton to Ely (about 18.5 miles/nearly 30 km) is usually held on the last Sunday before Christmas. The course (pioneered by John Turner when he 'escaped' from a misty January 1991 shopping trip to Newmarket) follows the Devil's Ditch to Reach and then along the Reach Lode bank to Upware to finish along the Cam and Ouse banks to Ely. Until 2005, it was almost entirely off-road until Ely High Bridge and, depending on the weather, a real mid winter challenge. The last 1.75m of the east river bank path was made into a tarmac cycle route in the summer of 2005, thereby reducing the off-road content of the run.
During the 1990’s members began to travel to races outside the area to obtain experience of racing over different terrains and distances. These included fell runs in Derbyshire and Yorkshire, North Downs 30k, High Peak 40m, South Downs Way 80m, Mendip 40m Trail, Punchbowl 30m Trail, Morpeth to Newcastle 14.1m, Corfe 14m 'Beast', Exmoor 14m Stagger, Nottingham to Grantham Canal 33m Towpath Run, Compton 40m Downland, Isle of White Fell Championships, Three Peaks, and the London, New York, Boston, Copenhagen, Lyon, Manchester, Rotterdam, Beachy Head and Stonehenge Marathons. In the early 1990's a group of members with families and friends travelled by motor coach for the chaotic Paris 20k. The club’s much travelled member Alfredo Verna has raced in club colours many times in Italy and also South Africa.
In the late 1990s, Eric Drury thought the club should have some permanent awards and purchased/obtained coveted trophies for the Most Improved Runner (continuous improvement for at least a year), Best Marathon (not necessarily the fastest), and Best Half Marathon.
From 2004, the Most Improved Runner shield became the Most Improved New Member shield and two new elegant silver plate cups were purchased for the Most Improved Male Runner and the Most Improved Female Runner.
These trophies (plus any Special Achievement and Appreciation Awards) are awarded annually at the AGM, which is now held on the first Monday in February in the upstairs bar meeting room at the Paradise Centre.
In March 2005, newly appointed Membership and Trophies Committee Member Charlie Barker finished making and installed a polished wood and glass trophy cabinet above the club’s notice board in the foyer of the Paradise Centre. This was soon filled with trophies won by/awarded to members so in 2009, Charlie Barker made and installed a second and larger trophy cabinet in the Paradise Centre foyer. In July 2011 Charlie Barker retired from his wood and metal work teaching career and became the club’s first Welfare Officer
In 1999/00, there was not enough club support to join the Frostbite Friendly League of 6 winter races, which then required 10 scoring members including at least 2 ladies. However, membership gradually increased and Ely Runners joined the league for the 2001-02 season to finish 9th. Then, in 2002/03 the club improved to 2nd team, and in 2003/04 was 1st team by a narrow margin over Riverside Runners. Reduced turnouts in the 2004/05 series resulted in 4th place overall. In the 2005/06 series, the club was 7th in the 1st race but gradually overhauled Cambridge & Coleridge AC to win the last 3 races and the league by 1 point. Since then, the club has often been within the first four teams – see www.elyrunners.co.uk > RESULTS > Achievements.
In 2002, Ian Blatchford initiated and designed the club's first web site (www.elyrunners.co.uk). Next, in 2003/4, Rod Baron created the Grunty Fen Half Marathon (www.gruntyfen.co.uk) web site and the Ely New Year's Eve 10k Road Race (www.newyearseve10k.co.uk) web site. Rod Baron then went on to become the club's Web Master to develop and maintain the club's web sites and electronic administration including handling the entries and results for the club’s open and private races.
On 29th November 1998, the club (invited by organisers March AC) ran in the first experimental Hereward 4 Stage Relay from Peterborough to Ely Cathedral using the 38.4 miles of roads, tracks and droves of the Hereward Way. This trial event was a great success. Ely Runners were 2nd but the 1st complete club team to finish. Since then this challenging and increasingly popular relay has been held each year with110 teams starting in 2004. Ely Runners usually enter several teams and in 2003 were the 1st Vets (5th overall) team to finish. In 2004, Ely Runners Men’s ‘A’ team finished 4th in 4:09:24, the club’s fastest ever time and nearly 14 minutes faster than the winning time in 1998! Until the finish was changed from Palace Green to Ely Football Club in 2007, the club was responsible for the difficult Ely A10 bypass crossing and route to the finish by the cannon on Palace Green. Since then, Ely Runners have marshalled the muddy Bishop’s Drove route from Little Downham to the finish at the Football Club. It has always been responsible for organising the finish area.
Following his 70th birthday in 2004, founder and Honorary member Tony Hall became the first Ely Runner to be awarded Life Membership of Eastern Veterans AC.
On 18/19th September 2004, the club competed in the17 stage (189 miles) Round Norfolk Relay for the first time to finish 9th of 36 teams and win the Newcomer’s trophy. In 2006, the club received a trophy for being 3rd of 20 teams in the high standard Open Class. Since then the club’s teams (organised by Alan Rutterford) have achieved several awards in this event including 1st Open Class 2008 and 1st ARC Long Distance Relay team in 2007 and 2008. In 2008, Rachel Roberts initiated and managed the club’s first all ladies joint team with Cambridge & Coleridge AC.
During 2004/05, Max d’Alaya was appointed as the club’s first qualified coach supported by Alan Rutterford and Adam Etches who attended Level I/II coaching courses. The Committee decided to start a library of running books and Max recommended and purchased a wide range of technical publications for use by members. Many of the books were purchased using Advance Performance’s “Club Incentive” gift voucher scheme.
Club fleeces were introduced in spring 2005 and feature, for the first time on club kit, the bright yellow Ely Runners Cathedral logo embroidered onto the soft black fabric. The fleeces have been purchased by many members and provide the club with a strong identity at races and events.
In 2005, three regular members left to go aboard. Women’s Team Leader Karen Foreman went ‘walkabout’ in Australia, Chris Rayment re-emigrated to Australia, and Jaime Gallagher returned to New Jersey in the USA. Natalle Coles became Women’s Team leader.
A One Mile Handicap was introduced in 2004 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Roger Bannister breaking 4 minutes for the mile. It was run on The King’s School grass track and won by Karen Foreman, who also won the 10k Handicap in 2004! In 2005, a track could not be obtained so the race became the Straight Mile Handicap on Quanea Drove. Although difficult to judge pace, this hotly contested race had 26 members competing and will become an annual club event with perpetual trophies made by Charlie Barker for the M/F Handicap Winners, M/F Fastest Times, and M/F Age Graded Winners. In 2010, due to the increasingly undulating surface and narrowness of Quanea Drove, the race reverted to the King’s School grass track on Amherst Field and in 2011 to the smoother Campus Field. To mark the progress being made by the Junior Section, two new Junior Handicap shields (1st boy and 1st girl) were purchased.
The 2005 Grunty Fen Half Marathon saw some ground breaking introductions by Web Master Rod Baron. These included all on-line entries and payments being made directly to the club, a free downloads photography service for competitors, and an electronic timekeeping system linked to Rod’s own results software. For almost the first time in any of the club’s open events there were no queries about the results! Since 2007, entries to Ely Runners’ open events have been on-line only and numbers collected on the day, thereby providing immediate communication with entrants and saving a great deal of time, lost numbers, paper and postage.
Following discussions with the Committee, club members, and a proposal at the 2006 AGM, an Events Woking Group was established with its members responsible for specific roles in the club’s open races and Frostbite League management. At the 2008 AGM, the scope of the Events Working Group was extended to include management of the club’s teams in long distance relays such as the Turing Trail, Round Norfolk, and Hereward Relays.
The club’s Cross-Country Championships were introduced for the 2006-07 season. The first two races were incorporated into the Frostbite League race at Bourne Woods in February 2007 and 2008. Four ‘Tudor’ perpetual shields were purchased for the 1st Man, 1st Woman, 1st Age Related Man, and 1st Age Related Woman. In 2007, a 4.8m course which started and finished on Ely Common, was devised by John Turner and tested/adjusted by members. It was first used for the club’s third championship on 18th January 2009.
Early in 2007, John Turner and then Rod Baron joined (as Web Master) the Committee and became Directors of the newly formed Association of Running Clubs (ARC). Ely Runners were the first club to affiliate to ARC and the club’s Grunty Fen Half Marathon was the first club to have an ARC permit. It incorporated the first ARC National Championship. Soon afterwards, Ian Vaughan-Arbuckle also became a Director of ARC with responsibility for ARC championships.
In March 2007, the club held its first open Turing Trail Relay in 6 stages from Ely to Cambridge (Jesus Green) and back in a ‘fen blow’ wind along the riverbanks. This ambitious project had long been a race that John Turner had dreamt about but it needed Rod Baron’s website (www.turingrelay.co.uk) and results systems skills to make it become a reality. The race was named after WW11 Bletchley Park code breaker Alan Turing who trained for marathons on the riverbanks whilst at King’s College, Cambridge. The Turing Trail Relay is always held on the third Sunday in March when the riverbanks are in prime condition for running although weather conditions can sometimes be difficult. The start and finish for the 2007 and 2008 events were on Amherst sports field adjacent to the railway station but in 2009, the start and finish were moved to Minster Place next to Ely Cathedral. The original changeovers were Dimmock’s Cote, Waterbeach, Jesus Green, Waterbeach and Chalkpit. The Chalkpit changeover was changed to Upware car park in 2009.
Following his 2nd MV40L place in the Ash Ranges (Aldershot) orienteering event in December 2007, Robert Campbell was selected to represent England in the MV40L team at the Interland international orienteering event in Holland in March 2008. He was the first Ely Runner to be selected for a national team.
At the 2008 AGM, members approved the Club’s new Constitution (see www.elyrunners.co.uk > CLUB INFO > Constitution) and agreed that the Club should apply for Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) registration. Additionally, a Club Coaches Working Group was approved.
Also, at the 2008 AGM, the club’s first and so far only Secretary, John Turner, was made an Honorary Member and presented with a framed collage of members and an album of ingenious and amusing photographic compositions of members running in the Ely area (both made by Rod Baron), plus a pewter tankard in recognition of nearly 22 years in this role.
Confirmation of CASC status was received on 31st March 2008 with effect from the 4th February 2008, the date the new Constitution was approved at the AGM.
In April 2008, two remarkable runners joined the club:
Daisy Glover, a talented 16 year old, which soon achieved wins in district, county, club, league, relay and open races.
Brenan Morgan, an MV40 who subsequently achieved wins and high positions in races, particularly in ultra events up to 103 miles.
In October 2008, club Webmaster Rod Baron qualified as a Grade 2 Course Measurer, the first for both Ely Runners and The Association of Running Clubs.
In October/November 2008, Ely Runners became the first club to feature as CLUB OF THE MONTH on the Association of Running Clubs (ARC) website.
During 2008, Webmaster Rod Baron continued to develop his already sophisticated results, records and PBs systems so that these could be updated on the club’s website from race reports and provide age graded % performances and selective filtering. Rod also introduced video recording of finishers in events organised by the club so that there was backup for the results.
In both 2009 and 2010, the club entered two complete teams of 17 runners each into the 193 miles Round Norfolk Relay. Alan Rutterford managed the Open class teams and Simon Jackson the Club class teams. The Open class teams were 2nd overall in both years, emphasising the club’s strength in depth. They also won the ARC Long Distance Relay Championships again in 2010, for the 4th time in the 4 years since its inception.
At the end of 2009, Ely Runners’ long-standing Webmaster Rod Baron left the club for pastures new. In addition to having considerable ability as a veteran runner, he’d run and made substantial changes and improvements to the club’s website and designed the Grunty Fen Half Marathon, New Year’s Eve 10k, and Turing Trail Relay race websites and results programmes. He’d also helped to re-write the club’s Constitution and played the major role in CASC registration by the club.
The year 2009 also saw the formation of a Junior Section developed, represented on the Committee by Alan Rutterford as i/c Juniors and also in 2010 by Lesley Wright as Junior Secretary. The Juniors first cut their race teeth in the 2009/10 Frostbite League finishing 9th of 13 clubs. In 2010/11, Ashley Pettit won the first Frostbite Junior race at St Neots.
In late 2009 long-standing Chairman Peter Gipp stood down due to urgent family commitments and Stephen Howard took over until officially elected as Chairman at the 2010 AGM. Peter Gipp was granted Honorary Membership for his services (which additionally had included Course Director for many years) to the club. Also in 2010, Steve Tovey took over the websites for the club and its events.
Early in 2010, Heidi Uff instigated and organised the successful free-entry, weekly, 5 km parkruns at Milton. Heidi was recognised for her achievement and also appointed Team Captain for Ely Runners at the 2011 AGM.
Prior to the 2011 AGM, two new perpetual club awards (shields) were purchased for the Most Improved Male and Female Juniors. The first winners (for 2010) were Fraser Crossman and Esme Wright.
At the 2011 AGM, due to a pending move, the club’s first Secretary (since about 1986/7) John Turner stood down to be replaced by Stephen Tovey. John Turner also stood down as long-standing Race Director of Open Events to be replaced by Stephen Howard.
The important roles of Secretary and Membership were re-combined at the 2011 AGM and Stephen Tovey was elected. Also, Matthew Holmes took over the organisation of the Club’s four private events from Stephen Tovey.
Also at the 2011 AGM, Peter Harris (Treasurer since 2001) was made an Honorary Member.
On 17th February 2011, former member Diana Gipp and wife of former Chairman Peter Gipp died at the early age of 54 years after a typically determined fight with cancer. Diana achieved great success as a veteran runner including three successive women’s overall Cambs Road Race wins and four Frostbite League race wins. At the time of her death, she still held eleven veteran women’s club records achieved between 2001-2004 for distances from 5 km to Marathon with age grades of 78-83%. From 2000-2002, Diana dominated women’s running in the area with numerous outright, category and stage wins – see ‘Club Achievements’. Until shortly before her death, Diana was a Senior Care Worker for STRADA stroke patients in Ely and Cambridge. Several long-standing members attended her funeral at which John Turner gave a eulogy of her many achievements.
Former 2nd claim Ely Runner Clare Hallissey (née Willer) ran in the Chicago Marathon in October 2011 and in doing so qualified by 93 seconds for the 2012 Olympic Marathon in London where she finished 57th (2/3 GB) out of 118 starters and 107 finishers in 2:35:39.
In September 2012, club MV56 Graham Chapman competed for Great Britain in the Duathlon World Championships in Nancy, France. The race comprised a 10k run, 40k bike ride, and then a 5k run. Graham finished 19th in the MV55-59 age group in 2 hours 16 minutes. Graham took up competitive running as a veteran and became a role model for dedicated veteran training and racing. By 2013, he had 16 of the clubs MV50 and MV55 records from 1 mile to marathon. For many years, Graham and his wife Maggie have ably managed the catering for both the Grunty Fen Half-Marathon and New Year’s Eve 10k.
In 2011/12, Emily Knight (Club Time Keeper, Watches & Club Kit) introduced the club’s smart new racing strip to replace the black vest and florescent yellow shorts introduced by John Turner about 20 years earlier. The new strip comprised a black vest and shorts, both with yellow side-strips, thereby maintaining the traditional ‘Fen Tigers’ colours. Both the old and new strips have ‘ELY RUNNERS’ in bold yellow letters on the back. The front of the new strip has a schematic Ely Cathedral logo (designed by Emily) on the front to replace the pictorial outline previously used. The club’s first strip in 1985 comprised a black cotton vest with white edge piping and amber-yellow shorts.
In 2012, Charlie Barker (a retired wood and metal work technology teacher and former Club Captain) became the club’s first Welfare Officer.
In the summer of 2012, Club Secretary Steve Tovey instigated the first Beginner’s Course, which was a great success, with many candidates becoming competent and enthusiastic members. More courses followed in autumn 2012 and spring 2013. Several experienced members, including Steve, qualified as coaches to enthusiastically help the beginners. More recently, Lionel Smith has been supervising these courses.
The club’s New Year’s Eve 10 race had sold out for several years but in 2012, the club’s Grunty Fen Half-Marathon also sold out for the first time since its inception in 1991.
On 17th December 2012, Founder and Honorary Member Tony Hall died, aged 78.
Cancer had been diagnosed only a few months earlier and soon after helping at the September 2012 Grunty Fen Half-Marathon, his health declined quickly. Tony’s funeral was held at Ely Methodist Church and attended by several members, including the club’s officers. John Turner, who’d known Tony as a member since 1986, read one of the lessons. After being diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer eighteen years earlier, Tony recovered and joined the Cambridgeshire Prostate Support Cancer Association as Vice-Chairman and also did much fund raising. Tony had been a member of Ely Runners continuously since the club's foundation in 1985 during which time he was Club Chairman, Club Treasurer and took training in the club’s early years. He raced regularly and, whenever he could, provided friendly and experienced involvement in club events and league races. Tony was also an appointed Life Member of Eastern Veterans AC. A true Fenman and local historian, he died at his home in Osier Close, close to the house on Ely’s Waterside where he was born. Tony was married to Alwen and formerly to Margaret, who had also died from cancer about 25 years earlier. Tony attended Soham Grammar School where he won the cross-country cup. During his National Service in the 1950s, Tony was based in Cornwall with the RAF and when coming home by train to Ely on leave brought a couple of Muskovy ducks for his father’s birthday present. His father was not impressed and decided to release them, hence the population that has waddled around the Waterside area ever since. However, Tony’s gesture was not in vain because he noted where they laid their eggs and regularly gathered these for consumption. Tony trained as a blacksmith and prior to his retirement had a business in Soham that specialised in sheet stainless work, particularly flue liners. When still an active veteran runner, the Ely Standard asked him why he was a runner and Tony replied that if he looked at the horizon he liked to know that he could run there.
In 2006, the Mayor started a ‘Sports Initiative’ for Ely for the Olympic Games in 2012. Committee members of Ely Runners regularly attended meetings for this and after several considerations, the club’s suggestion of a Community Running Track was adopted and preliminary studies made. Ely Runners set aside £20,000 as a potential track fund to reflect the club’s commitment. The original committee disbanded when progress could not be made, despite The King’s School offer of Brand Field. This offer was subject to land not being taken from their Amherst Field by the long proposed southern bypass. A new committee ‘Track4Ely’ was subsequently set up comprising Adam Lines (Secretary), John Turner (Ely Runners) and Richard Powell (King’s School) to continue the project but it is currently (2013) in abeyance pending the final decision of the bypass route.
Early in 2013, Eastern Veterans AC announced that MV40 Stephen Pettit had won the 2012 EVAC Road Running Championship with AG scores of 83.95% for 10k, 82.17% for 10m and 83.5% for 13.1m
On 31st March 2013, Craig Holgate became the club’s first National Champion in the Anglo-Celtic Plate 100 km race in Perth. He was honoured to run for England again in a race that incorporated the Home Nations International Event and the UKA Championships. It started at 7 am (on the day the clocks went forward!) in a temperature of -3°C and comprised 42 laps of a local park, during which barely 0°C was reached. The England team included 3 sub 2:20 marathoners and all the focus was on them. Craig relied on the miles in his leg and his ability to pace the race sensibly. For the first half, he was down the field as 4th England scorer, a lap down and some 15 minutes adrift. However, ultra running is a tough sport that rewards patience. The winner was Dan Doherty of Ireland (who’d previously beaten Craig in the Thames Trot) in 7:05 and Craig was 2nd overall in 7:12. As such, Craig became the UKA 100 km Champion and with a time under the GB 'B' standard which meant probable selection for GB in the World Championships in Durban, South Africa in October 2013.
On 6th July 2013, Craig Holgate made his GB debut in the World Trail Running Championships at Llanrwst in Wales. He was 5th finisher for the first placed GB team.
In 2013, the club joined the Kevin Henry 5k League of five local area summer evening races.
In July 2013, Ely Runners became Living Sport ‘Club of the Month’ and following an application by Secretary Steve Tovey received a Sportivate grant of nearly £600 towards a training course for 16-24 year olds.
Early in 2014, the Ely Standard were replaced as long-standing major title sponsors of the Grunty Fen Half-Marathon by PWR+, a local firm which specialises in beetroot juice based sports drinks.
At the February 2014 AGM, Richard Hill replaced Steve Tovey as Secretary and Samantha Collins-Shirley replaced Lesley Wright as Junior Section Secretary. The meeting made a presentation to Lesley Wright to recognise her founding achievements in this role. Lesley Wright was first elected Junior Section Secretary (a new Committee role) at the 2012 AGM but her dedication and commitment had helped Alan Rutterford build up and organise the Junior Section since its beginning in 2009. Charlie Barker, Lionel Smith and Steve Tovey were made honorary members for services to the club.
In May 2014, Craig Holgate won silver in 7:05:45 in the National 100k Championships. He was within the GB team qualification time of 7:18.
In June 2014, Graham Chapman (representing Ely Tri Club) avenged his narrow 2nd place in 2013 by winning the MV55-59 Triathlon England’s Middle Distance National Championship.
At the time of writing, membership is 306.
A record of the club’s achievements was maintained by the Secretary and this was regularly updated on the club’s website until November 2016. At this point, the committee accepted that the growth of the club now made it not practical to update this ongoing.
See www.elyrunners.co.uk > RESULTS > Achievements.
Last update RH 20.05.18