Hook Runners – How it all began
Back in the spring of 2016, preparations were underway in earnest for the 25th annual Hook Fun Run and Road Races. There were regular Facebook posts giving updates, recruiting marshalls and creating a buzz for what was to be the biggest ever event. Indeed, this year, nearly 1,200 runners finished one of the 3 distances and over 60% of these were local to Hook. You might draw the conclusion that there are a lot of runners in Hook!
Every now and then leading up to the May event, a comment would appear in response to the Fun Run posts; Hook needs a running club, it would say. It would get plenty of likes from other followers. The Fun Run committee agreed wholeheartedly, but of course they had a major event to organise at the time. As time went on, these posts would get more frequent. Hook REALLY needs a running club! More likes, comments of agreement from other local runners.
The person posting these heart felt pleas for a Hook running club was Lou Coster-Mills.
Shortly after the Fun Run, in a strategic and beautifully timed approach, Lou sent a more urgent approach directly to the committee. Can you guess what she said?
The committee came to the conclusion that Lou was passionate about her cause and sometime in early summer, Jonathan Ruddle and Garan Dallimore met with Lou at The Raven and heard her out. Her enthusiasm was infectious. Over the course of the summer, ideas were shared, names were considered and a Facebook page was set up.
Knowing what it takes to organise local events, Jonathan advised Lou that she needed to do a bit of local marketing to gauge interest and ultimately to assemble a committee. “Let’s set up a meeting” said Jonathan, “Yes,” said Garan, “you might get a dozen or so people”. Posters were made, posts were shared on local Facebook pages, an article posted in Focus. Lou had the small matter of her own wedding to organise, but still holding true to her perennial conviction for a running club in Hook, on a balmy evening in early September she accompanied Jonathan to the Elizabeth Hall and assembled a dozen or so chairs.
A half hour later, 72 people sat listening to Lou, some on those chairs, some on the floor, some in the corridor and eventually the hatch to the neighbouring kitchen was opened. Among those 72 were experienced runners, new runners, non-runners who wanted to start. There were physiotherapists, triathletes, parents and runners who assist the visually impaired. Also in that room were Terry Wegg and Nici Strevens, running coaches. You might well say there was a running club in that room that very evening.
A week later Lou got married, a few weeks after that Hook Runners was born. Now over 30 people regularly assemble outside the community centre on Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings. The Facebook page has just under 200 members and grows by the day. Hook really did need a running club.
Good Skills Mrs Coster-Mills! We thank you.
Written by Jackie Wilson, Hook Runners