Ashbourne Running Club - 20th Aniversary

What started as one man’s vision in 1988 has grown to be Ashbourne Running Club with a membership of over 100.  John Hammond who had the original idea, of a club to give a focus to all the people he had seen running around Ashbourne, was first to speak of the early days of Ashbourne Running Club (ARC) at a special 20th Anniversary lunch at the Bentley Brook.   As has been the custom over recent years, ARC met for lunch after the annual Dovedale Dash race on Sunday 2nd November and chose to combine the event with an anniversary celebration.

Earlier in the morning, 27 ARC runners had completed the gruelling Dash.  Now in its 53rd year, the race attracted over 1000 runners who funnelled down the side of Thorpe Cloud to cross through the river Dove next to the Stepping Stones.  Usually, there is the option to cross more conventionally across the stepping stones but this year was one of the highest river levels and muddiest routes most can remember.   Several runners lost their shoes in the mud and the ARC members typically recorded times 2-3mins down on last years drier conditions.

Joining many of the ‘Dashers’ at the lunch were the Club’s Founder members and their partners, who had been invited to celebrate the 20th Anniversary.  After an excellent meal, the current Chairman Howard Winbow gave a welcome before presenting the John  Hemstock Memorial Trophy, awarded to the first ARC runner home in the Dash.  This was won by Paul Mannion, who despite only just returning from an excellent sub-3hour Marathon in Dublin, came home in a commendable 22nd place in his first entry in this race.  Not far behind was veteran Dasher Martin Stocks who came home in 31st place in his 20th Dash!

Following John Hammond, other past Chairmen were also invited to say a few words of ARC under their leadership.  Many humorous recollections of events over the years followed from Wilf Allen, Martin Stocks and current Town Mayor (and still an ARC member) Phil Chell.  Plenty of photos were on hand showing classic 80’s fashion and hairstyles!

Finally, Howard Winbow thanked all for attending, proposed a toast to the continued success of the club, and to mark his 14 years in two separate stints as Chairman, presented a commemorative silver plate to Wilf Allen.

For more info about Ashbourne Running Club which meets every Tuesday at 7pm please see:

This article first appeared in the Ashbourne News Telegraph 14th November 2008.
as Ashbourne Running Club Double Celebration