First of all, thanks so much for choosing this group to train safely and sociably throughout 2020. Your attendance week in week, your positive feedback, and your dedication to the cause, are the reasons we are here. We really appreciate your support.
I started this group back in 2016 because a small group of you wanted to do speed work over winter on a Wednesday night. I never imagined that we would still be going strong four years later. Not just going strong, but going from strength to strength .
We know 2020 has been a challenge. But despite COVID-19, this year, for the Vale of York, has been our best year yet in terms of participation. So thank you again.
I don't think anybody was ready for COVID, but I also wasn't ready for COVID reawakening the importance of outdoor exercise and the value of running with other people. It isn't until you take something away that you realise how much it means.
I'm really proud that one of VOYAC’s major initiatives this year was the introduction of the COVID-secure groups of 12. The appointment of COVID officers and creation of risk assessments, planned and implemented by Paul Callaghan, enabled us to run together in groups of 12 during these challenging times. So thanks again Paul for your initiative and organisation.
If you have been to any of our face-to-face sessions, or if you've seen any of our virtual coaching online, you know we take coaching seriously. We are organised and we think about athlete development and coach development too. Hopefully, you agree that we have structured all our sessions in a progressive, creative and consistent manner.
We've been serious about training, but we've had lots of fun as well. And we've always strived to do everything safely and securely in tune with our local environment and the local community.
In 2021 it's going to be more of the same. Your development as athletes continues to be crucial. I can confirm that we now have a core team of three coaches who will be with us next year. That's me, Ian Martin, as well as Paul Callaghan, who is your Coach in Running Fitness, and Laura Collins, who is in training as a Coach in Running Fitness and will soon qualify.
We have three coaches on the core team and they are joined by two run leaders. The first is Lee Lockwood, who you may know from Saturday sessions, and the second is Steph Hiscott, who is out injured at the moment. Steph and Lee will be committed to VOYAC next year so we can broaden our offering and will also have cover should we need it.
COVID is not going away, unfortunately. We will just have another variant to deal with. So we need to make sure sessions are led in a safe secure coached led manner according to England Athletics’ guidelines.
VOYAC will always be about you and your athletic development. That’s the reason we recruit and develop coaches and run leaders. Coaching is making sure that we're doing the right things for you as athletes so you can fulfil your potential.