As we approach the end of 2019 we are taking a look back at the highs and lows of the year before we all begin 2020… a new decade of running. aat events are delighted to have been able to bring you award winning new events this year the Weybridge 10k and Guildford 10k and we have seen over 13,000 participants take part across all of our events.
Organising these events really couldn’t be done without the support of our volunteers and we’d like to say a special thank you to over 300 of them that have provided crucial roles on event day.
So here is our look back at 2019 month by month….
We started the year with the 15th anniversary of the Fitstuff G3 Series at Newlands Corner and celebrated with classic aat events head buffs for all!
We were deep in preparation for the incoming Surrey Half and then the snow came. There was snow and ice around and the Newlands Corner Car Park certainly wasn’t fit to host over 300 runners for the final Fitstuff G3 of the series. The good news was that we were able to put the race on two weeks later.
Yet more interesting weather, with a yellow wind warning in force we had to seriously consider if it was safe to go ahead with the Surrey Half with a decision pending late into the afternoon on Saturday. We were ultimately pleased to go ahead with the race as apart from the strong winds causing havoc in the event village the sun came out for most of the race and everyone got a chance to make those all important pb’s.
We also thought March would see the end of our Virtual Brexit Run but it was not to be, more on that later.
Moving in to April The Fox once again took centre stage combining The Fox Way and River Way trails around Godalming, Shere, Guildford, & Worplesdon in a 60km route. Runners were also able to take part in Marathon and Half Marathon distances as well as completing 20km each as a relay team. Runners were kept fed and watered at five feed stations on the route and plenty of liquid refreshments at the end were provided by the Kombi Keg van.
We had two great events in May, Breakfast Run Loseley was a fantastic morning running what is a summer version of the Hogs Back Road Race route and you get to enjoy croissants and scones at the end to recover from climbing The Mount halfway around the course.
May also saw mental health awareness week and again many of you came out to relax along the scenic riverside trails of the River Wey running from Woking to Godalming with distances up to 32km. Money was raised for local mental health charities Oakleaf, Cornerhouse and Status Employment.
We also said goodbye to George our intern who returned to Bournemouth University to finish his course, he stayed on with us to bring you the Lunar Landing Virtual Run which celebrated 50 years since the moon landing.
We were back on the road in June with the new look Weybridge 10k. Our first year organising this event and it did not disappoint. Over 1200 runners coming out along with Team GB Olympian Scott Overall who chased the lead car around the course in a time of 30:13.
Our team at aat events also grew with our new Events Officer Sam Vassall joining the team.
Again our Virtual Brexit Run was extended as the event was due to finish when Brexit had happened, so much for that saga coming to a close……
By the time July came aat events were right in the middle of the busy summer season. Whilst Toby, Hollie, Sam & Rory were again organising the summer midweek trail run Hard as Snails, Rob was over at Woking Park setting up the site for the Party in the Park, Woking forming part of the new event management arm of aat events.
It was also Triathlon season and following on from a successful Haslemere Triathlon the Guildford Triathlon also took place at the Surrey Sports Park.
We even found time to welcome our new intern Olly Darroch to the team.
In August we lent our event organising expertise to Woking Food Festival supplying Site Management and Event Control Services at the three day event. We were delighted to work with Woking Borough Council again on an event that is literally on our office doorstep in Woking Town Centre which made it easy for us location wise.
A quieter month where we managed to get our holidays in but also complete the final planning for our Guildford 10k event.
The Surrey Half also became a sponsor of the University of Surrey Hockey Team supplying them with training tops. We also must say a special thank you to them for volunteering at many of our events throughout the year.
In October we were proud to organise the inaugural Guildford 10k closed road run, something that we have struggled to find a record of ever happening in Guildford. If any running historians are out there then please let us know when Guildford last had closed roads for runners.
The team arrived early on the High Street when the bars and clubs were still open in preparation. Then the Town Crier came on to the Guildhall balcony to welcome the 1300+ runners. Before we knew it runners were back collecting medals and drinks on the iconic cobbled High Street which was back in pristine condition for Sunday trading. As a team we are all local to Guildford which made it extra special for us.
We also hosted a 15th Anniversary free event where we set up a finish line at Worplesdon Hall. It was brilliant to set up this pop finish line and see so many of the aat regulars arrive for medals and refreshments combining it with their usual sunday run routes.
The month ended with us picking up two Challenge Awards for our Surrey Half and Weybridge 10k events. We attended the ceremony at Queens Club in London and yes, Toby really took black tie to a new level with his suit!
And of course, Brexit Run was extended again…..
We weren’t done just yet, Chessington Running Wild returned for a third year. This family event held at the famous zoo allows you to run past tigers, lions and other animals and raises vital funds for the Chessington Conservation Fund.
We got to the end of a busy year and to celebrate we went on a run, of course. This time the classic Hogs Back Road Race. Luckily we all knew the hog shaped route like the back of our hand and Rob, Toby, Hollie and Sam all conquered The Mount to make a solid finish. It was Sam that pipped Toby to become the top aat finisher cementing himself clearly as the fastest runner in the team.
We also managed to get plenty of Christmas celebrations in taking our volunteers out for drinks in Guildford to thank them for everything over the year.
Our last duty of the year was to appoint our new Event Director James Ruskin who will be replacing Rob. We wish Rob all the best in his new role on Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games and look forward to seeing him still being and extended part of the team on event days.
What will the next year bring? Our focus for 2020 is on our new sustainability policies and we ask all runners to support us in implementing this. You’ll find all our trail runs will be ‘cupless’ meaning you will need to supply your own water or have a vessel to refill at the water stations. On our Surrey Half event we have reduced the amount of water stations (every 5k now) and again refillable options at the start/finish and water stations. Bottles made out of 25% recycled plastic will still be available on the course but the changes have resulted in 10,000 less bottles being used. To find out more about our new policies you can read our blog here
We wish you all a very happy New Year and will see you again in January if you are running a Fitstuff G3 event.
p.s. did we mention that the Brexit Virtual Run is still open……..?