History of North Derbyshire RC

 

The club was formed on 24 September 1985 after a split from Chesterfield AC due to differences between track and road running members. The initial meeting was held in the Prince of Wales pub on Chatsworth Road (now Maison Mes Amis, a French themed bar & restaurant).

 

Tony Harris was the guiding light in setting up the club, affiliating us to various governing bodies, implementing training schedules, sorting out finances and winning an athletics award for a coaching scheme.  Sadly Tony is no longer with us but his legacy lives on in the thriving club we have today.

 

The first year was difficult as our members were not permitted to run in team events for the club due to an enforced 9 month ban for moving from one club to another. It seems a bit draconian but that same rule is still in force today, an example of the bureaucracy of England Athletics.

 

Initially the club trained at Chesterfield College, then Queen's Park Cricket Pavilion and eventually found a permanent home at the GKN Sports Club that used to be on Newbold Road.  We had the use of 2 portakabins and looking back we seemed to have regular problems with a leaking roof, showers not working, no lights etc. It was eventually decided a new venue was needed and in March 1996 we moved to our current home at Queen's Park Sports Centre.

 

By the end of 1986 we had 70 members, numbers went up and down for a few years but the last decade has seen a steady increase with a peak of 250 members at September 2014. Also in those early days most members were male but the mix has changed in recent years with the number of women rapidly catching the number of men.

 

By 1987 we were regularly entering team competitions and we also had individual success with Dawn Harris, Geoff Pemberton, Mark Keld and Maureen Oddie all in the UK rankings.  Maureen represented the Isle of Man in the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh finishing 11th in the marathon.

 

We competed in various races and had some success in the early 1990’s winning the High Peak Relay in 1992, and again in 1994 and finishing 3rd in the Loughborough Cross Country Relays.

 

The club have always been involved in race organisation, the Bolsover 10k was first held in 1986 and for many years was sponsored by Coalite and held at their social club. The Chesterfield Half Marathon and Spire 10 started from Queen’s Park before the move to Holmebrook Valley Park and the Chesterfield Chase 10k was held at Grassmoor Country Park. It is only Bolsover and Spire that survive today but the monthly No Walk in the Park 5k races from Queen’s Park started in 2009 are now firmly established and we also have a Children's 1500m run to encourage the runners of the future. The latest events to add to our race calendar are the Santa Runs launched on Christmas Eve 2016. A 5k and a 1500m for all ages and abilities, it's quite a sight to see a mass of Santa's running round Queen's Park.  

 

25 years of existence were completed in October 2010 and we celebrated by once again winning the High Peak Relay. We have competed in the Booths Road and Cross Country Leagues since 2006 and have come close to winning the Road League on several occasions with our men finishing 2nd twice in 2013 & 2014 and our ladies second on four occasions, 2006, 2007, 2009 & 2014. We have had less success in the Cross Country League our best results coming in 2013/14 when our men were 3rd and our ladies 2nd.

 

The club continues to thrive competing as individuals and in team events mainly on the road and cross country but also with a hard core of members regularly competing on the Fells. We are a regular presence at races around Derbyshire, South Yorkshire and East Midlands as well as organising trips each year to London Marathon, Race the Train and a training weekend in the Lake District.

 

We have come a long way since that distant meeting in the Prince of Wales pub and in 2017 membership reached 300, long may it continue.