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Redway Runners review of 2016

As we come to the end of another year for Redway Runners and the end of the clubs sixth year, bit of time to reflect on 2016 in the club, which again has been a pretty good year with lots going on and achievements by many of our members

None of the things we have achieved would have been possible without the team that makes the club work, which includes the committee, all the run leads, all the people who help out in so many different aspects of the club.

The club keeps to the core principles of fun, social, benefit of runners and value for money and it is great that most people understand that.

Behind the Scenes

One big aspect that members do not often see is the amount of work that is done by people in the club – all of it for free, but some of the new things for 2016 have been:

  • Club clothing shop has moved on-line, meaning quicker service and more ways to pay
  • We have affiliated with the South of England Athletics
  • Many of the run leads have completed a variety of training
  • We have published a number of ‘On the Run with …’ articles highlighting members

Working with Others

During the year we formed a number of partnerships that worked for both parties with:

  • Santander, ICAEW, Deloitte and Mercedes, we delivered beginners groups
  • Great Linford Parish Council, Summer of fun runs
  • Canals & Rivers Trust, a new run
  • Harvester, special offer for club runs
  • MK Orchestra, special offer for club members


New for 2016

During the year we have put on a number of new events with

  • Redway Runners Festival of Running, an exclusive weekend for club members with four events, a Marathon and half on the Saturday and a half and 10K on the Sunday


  • Treasure Hunt Run, we held for club members our first treasure hunt run with 78 people taking part


  • 12Ks of Christmas, our new virtual run, exclusive run and medals for club members and was fully sold out.


  • Newport Pagnell Carnival, we turned this year’s Carnival Sport parade green in July


Beat the Barge, again this year we sold out all 100 places for the second running of this event, and with great weather was a fantastic afternoon at Linford Manor Park

Furzton Relay, was also blessed with great weather and was almost sold out with 48 teams taking part

Running Events

Some of the numbers of Redway runners taking part at races during the year has been impressive and meaning a big green turnout with

  • Bournemouth Festival of Running, 110 taking part
  • Bacchus Wine run 85 staggering round the course
  • Milton Keynes Festival of Running 218 taking part in races
  • Winter Half Marathon, 170 going for a paddle
  • Milton Keynes Marathon weekend, just soooo many running and helping with the event

Club Sponsored events

Cross Country, The last year has seen record numbers taking part in the Chiltern League Cross Country, at the end of the season in March we were promoted to Division one, which is a major achievement. This year the club is performing well and putting out good sized teams for the Saturday afternoon races

Nationals, for the first time the club was represented at the National relays and we put in two teams for this event, and they learnt a lot and put in a great performance and did well against other local teams


We have had some fantastic social events during the year; we kicked of the year with the annual visit to the Ice Hockey in January.

In the summer we did an impromptu pub visit during the warm week we had and loads turned up in the Cross Keys

We have been to the Brassiere at MK college, a great club Christmas party and just recently the MK Biergarten opened its doors just for us.


Some of the numbers in the club are fantastic:

  • We currently have the highest ever number of club members with 1,032
  • On our Facebook page we have 2,854 people following us
  • Our club weekly mail goes to 1,943 people each week
  • We even have 285 people in the club Strava group

These numbers are fantastic and we now have a big audience not just in Milton Keynes but around the world with the club mail and Facebook


We have held in 2016, eleven of our free beginners groups, which has seen 385 people start running with the club, we have during the year continued to review these courses and make improvement, we now have a core group of Beginners groups run leads, started doing surveys with the beginners to see what we are doing well and how we can improve. We think we have done pretty well over the years with the beginners groups and over 30% of club members started in one of our beginners groups.

But we are not stopping there recently with Bucks Sport we ran a course looking at how we can improve with retaining the runners from week one to becoming a full and active club member, so will be putting into use some of that learning.

Club runs

Last year we as a group have run from Milton Keynes to Miami in Florida on all the club runs, but if we all turned up for one run then we would fill Vicarage Road Stadium (Watford ground).

Even in December, when the club runs are reduced we are holding 22 club runs per week

Charity and Helping others

Always great that we can support a members elected charity of the year with Bravery Boxes receiving a £4,417 from money raised by the club in the summer, this year our charity of the year is Haemophilia Society.

But as well as this we have collected food for the Milton Keynes Food Bank at Christmas

In addition to this the club has supported many local events and races in Milton Keynes to help other runners, with a big turnout in May for the Milton Keynes Marathon weekend, we had 28 helpers at the Silverstone half marathon, we ran a water station at the NSPCC MK Half Marathon and helped at two water stations at the MK Winter half at short notice.


Again during the year we have had two overseas trips to the Malaga Half Marathon in Spain and the Ljubljana Half Marathon, then also two UK trips to Torbay half Marathon and the Isle of Wight Half Marathon

Members benefits

One of the core values of the club has been it is for the benefit of runners and we have mentioned a number of Redway Runner only events and socials we held (RR Festival of Running, Beat the Barge, Treasure run, 12Ks of Christmas, MK Biergarten), we have also been able to deliver a number of special offers including

  • Wilkinson exclusive discount shopping evening
  • Free running belts from Camden Gear
  • Free entry to the Marathon clinic
  • Exclusive free session Pat’s Pilates

New Club Runs

During 2016 we have introduced even more runs and improved some runs with:

  • Step Up Sundays
  • Thursday morning Step Up run
  • Wednesday evening Step Up and Social run
  • The 640 group has returned
  • Tuesday morning have started to go on tour
  • Trail Finder run
  • Mojo course
  • Saturday starter/beginners homework run

Supporting Runners

During the year a number of our runners have attended training to be able to support runners who may need a little extra help to enable running, this has really worked well and benefits of this programme have already been seen.


You can watch the video of 2016 at:


So on reflection on another great year in Redway Runners we can still say:


We Run Milton Keynes

Stay Well this Winter, NHS campaign

Redway Runners appear in the Stay Well this Winter campaign being run by the NHS – you can see all the information at:

Or the individual videos, first video is at:

You can see a second video at:

Well done to Kerry Simon Rena Simon and Sarah

On the run with Simon Navin

Name: Simon Navin

Joined Redway Runners: 24 August 2016

We go on the run with our members and we find out a bit more about them – which we thought would be great to share, this time it is with new boy Simon Navin, and he tells us why he has been on TV so much recently

Thanks Simon

23 December 2016



  • When did you start running and when did you join Redway Runners?

I have run off and on for a couple of years, but started running “properly” in January 2016, and joined Redway Runners in early September 2016.

  • Have you run with other clubs how does Redway Runners Compare?

I am a member of my work running club (Ordnance Survey) but don’t get to run with them that often, due to where my work takes me. Redway Runners is my only experience of a running club really.

  • What’s the best thing about being in a running club?

The support and friendship. I have made so many new friends already, and always feel I can ask for advice about my running or events, or just have a good laugh with like-minded people. Running in a group is so much more rewarding than running solo.

  • How much does running with Redway Runners mean to you?

It means a lot. I love having something to aim for and knowing that while I am doing that, I can socialise and have fun – this makes what might seem difficulty, that much more achievable.

  • Tell us about your first time? (with Redway Runners)

I remember rolling up at David Lloyd on a warm August 2016 evening on a Thursday not knowing what to expect, but was warmly welcomed by many – Ian Stevens was particularly helpful and reassuring! I tagged along with Paul CJ’s social run (the self styled “best run of the week”…) and it was great fun. Chatted all the way round with many people, the five or so miles flew by and although I was gasping at the end, it was great fun. I was hooked.

  • When and who do you run with the club?

Work and family means my days are normally Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. This year has been very much about finding out whether I can actually run and if I enjoy it – I think I can and know I do! Explorer on a Tuesday with Tim is a really good run, Social on Thursdays and the Sunday Club run. Next year I need to get more technical and start to understand how things like intervals etc can help me. I have really enjoyed running with Tim, Martin P, Tif, Ian S., Paul CJ, Paul W, Gillian, the list goes on and on, the great thing is getting to know new people each week.


  • Tell us your history of running?

I played a lot of team and individual sport when I was younger, but was never a runner. I started to dabble a few years ago, but in January 2016 I said I’d try a bit harder and run more regularly, so entered the MKM Half marathon, and trained (badly) for that, running solo. I stuck at it though and realised if I wanted to get better and enjoy it more, I needed help, so here I am!

  • What has been you best running achievement?

Even though I have since started to speed up a bit, my NSPCC half marathon was a watershed moment – it confirmed to me that I could actually do this, that I was getting better, that I could plan a run and most of all enjoy it.

  • What is your running ambition?

To always enjoy it.

  • Why do you run?

To relax my body and mind, test myself, achieve new things and to meet new people and have fun.

  • How come you have been on the TV a lot this year?

I am lucky enough to work for Ordnance Survey, and in my role of leading our work on Future Technology for Smart Cities, I get to do a bit of technical talk in the media. This year I have done BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Manchester, a host of syndicated radio interviews, met Rory Cellan-Jones of the BBC, Spanish TV and a live slot on BBC Breakfast News 24 – all great fun. Next time I will plug Redway Runners!

  • What would you do if you were not running?

Eat. Lots.

  • Who have you see while running?

The backs of peoples heads far too often, although some of those heads are getting a bit nearer….

  • Favourite place to run?

I recently ran in Barcelona and Amsterdam, and love running in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, but I would have to say MK – I’m a local boy and it’s where I have started to enjoy running. I hope to run many other races in many other places, but for now MK will do for me.

  • What do you love to see while running?

It’s taken me a little while to concentrate less on what is directly in front of me and more on my surroundings. I enjoy running by water, it’s so calming and you see a lot of wildlife and activity. Best thing is to see lots of other runners, either with me or just enjoying their run.

  • Funniest running moment?

The ninja squirrel that decided to drop from a tree right into our path on a recent early Sunday run, causing a few of us to leap up and over it while it scampered across the path, realising what it had done.

  • What is your favourite running track and film?

Films – it would be too easy to say Forrest Gump or Chariots of Fire, so it’s Marathon Man or The Jericho Mile. I rarely listen to music when running but if I did, then Keep The Car Running by Arcade Fire is a good one to get you going.

  • Tell us about your worst run?

The recent MK Winter Half. Man-flu, the deadliest of all illnesses as any man will tell you, scuppered months of good training and although I got around, I fell well short of what I planned for. It was a lesson though and one I will put to good use.

  • Best running phrase?

My favourite athlete is Michael Johnson and I love his phrase “The only one who can beat me, is me”. It shows how strong he needed to be both mentally and physically.



  • Favourite running photo and why? (please send it as well)


Attached photo of me from MK Winter Half. Flying feet, gritted teeth, sprint finish after a horrible race. How you start is important, but it’s how you finish that counts.






  • Have you ever lost your running mojo and how did you get it back?

Thankfully not yet. I don’t intend to either!

  •  Best route around MK?

The Explorer run always has great routes and the Wolverton route out along the river is a particular favourite.

  • Who would be on your wish list to run with?

Michael Johnson, Alistair and Jonny Brownlee, Victoria Wood (RIP), Joe Strummer (RIP) and Ben Smith (401 marathon man). An eclectic mix that would test me, make me laugh and inspire me!

  • Do you always round up?

Doesn’t everyone?

  • Worst/Best advice you’ve ever been given?

Best: Work to live, don’t live to work

I don’t listen to bad advice!

  • What did you learn from your first marathon, and what would you change?

I will find out in May 2017….

  • What do you think about when you run?

Everything and anything, it’s an opportunity to sort things out, dream a little, forget everything or just have a chat. I have managed to allay fears, organise work, plan days out and solve problems all whilst running.

  • What cross training do you prefer?

I don’t do any cross training!

  • What type of running do you prefer and why?

I enjoy a mixture of road and trail runs. Road/redways are so accessible, and we are lucky in MK – you can hop out of the door and get going. Trails are just fun, you know you will never get bored.

  • Love or hate loop backs?

Love, especially on hills of course….

  • Would you change your job if the hours didn’t suit running?

The beauty of running is that you can do it at any time.

  • Run to time or distance?

Run for enjoyment.

  • If you don’t share your run in social media, did it happen? Where do you log your runs and do you stalk others runs?

I do share via Strava and Facebook. I’m a bit of a tech geek so do like tinkering in Strava and Garmin Connect, and have recently started following and sharing runs with other club members. I like to see how people have run – my work means I analyse a fair bit of data and get involved with behavioural aspects of how people live in the built environment so I do absorb a lot of info.


  • What was your favourite race and why?

NSPCC Half – it was a watershed moment for me with regards to being “able” to run. I also really enjoyed buddying at a parkrun recently – so good to give something back and see other people achieve their goals.

  • Favourite race distance and why?

Half marathon. No idea why. Not really ran anything else!

  • Tell us about your pre-race rituals and food and drink

Granola for breakfast, water to drink. I struggle to take on food when running, so try and get some in an hour or two before. I know I need to work on this for a marathon!

  • If you could choose anywhere in the world to run, where would it be?

I think a run along the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland would be awesome as would the Olfusa River in Iceland – both look amazing, and are often quoted as favourite runs, and don’t seem that unachievable.

  • Favourite race/event and why?

Don’t have one yet.

  • Favourite parkrun and why?

Great Linford MK. Nice course, quite intimate, easy for me to run with my eldest son.

  • What’s your one race essential?

My inhaler. It’s a non starter without it.

  • Would you run a marathon without getting a medal?

Of course. Medals are great, but if you are not enough without it, you won’t ever be enough with it. (not sure who first said that)

  • Have you considered joining the cross country team?

Not yet….

  • What would you prefer, a PB or a win?



Redway Runners

Everything Christmas & New Year at Redway Runners

This page has all the links and information to everything Christmas at Redway Runners

Christmas and New Year Running

Click here for details of all the runs – with plenty to chose from

Christmas exclusive meal at the Brasserie

See club weekly mail for all the information on the extra club Christmas meal at the Brasserie at MK College on Tuesday 22 November

Club Christmas Party

This years club Christmas meal is on Friday 2 December with live band, all the info click here

Christmas Social

We are having an exclusive special opening on the MK Biergarten on Tuesday 20 December, but you need to book to be on the guest list – all the information click here

Club Christmas raffle

The club raffle will be drawn at the Christmas Party – all the details and list of prizes click here

12Ks of Christmas – club Virtual Race SOLD OUT

All the information on the clubs special 12K of Christmas virtual race click here

Club Store at Christmas

Club store is a great place for those gift ideas for the runner in your life or just your own treat – last on-line orders for Embroidered items is 1 December. For all other orders is 9 December, all orders subject to availability. Club store click here

Donations for MK Foodbank

This year again the club will be collecting for the Milton Keynes Foodbank, for those who are not as fortunate as us at Christmas in Milton Keynes, they tell us the items they really need are selection packs for the children (please make sure they are in date) and toiletries. We will have a donation box at the entrance for the club Christmas party, and you can also leave donations with the run leads. We will collect to Monday 5 December

Christmas & New Year parkruns

To see information on which parkruns are operating on Christmas and New Years day, click here


Happy Christmas and New Year from Redway Runners



Sgt.Mack’s amazing story – 145.1 miles

Redway Runner member, good friend and helper Sgt. Mack has had quite a year!  Below is his story.  It was good to follow his progress as he was well supported by Redway Runners members on his quest.  Well done Alan!!

145.1 Miles dressed as a bear.

Well what a year it’s been, some good some bad but most of all I made it! It was back in early 2015 I was having a conversation with the local help for hero’s agent after holding a fund raising event at my business Special Ops MK. Laser tag parties and Kayak hire. I was asking him (Mark) if he can think of anything I could do to help raise awareness for H4H that is different and will include my love for running! His reply came accompanied with a laugh “You

could run the MK Half as Hero Bear?” Yes ok I can do that, what is Hero Bear? Little did I know at that time what it would take to run a half marathon (MK Half 2015) in the Bear costume? Mark went on to explain that it’s normally used for 5k and 10k runs and promotional things when the normal mascot is just too heavy! Marathon bear is lighter by about 1k! 12kg compared to 13kg. He also said you’re practically blind in it so advised finding someone to guide me. So anyway that was how I was to run the 2015 MK half in May.

I then had a chat a couple of days later with my great friend Lisa explaining what I knew and asked her if she would guide me? Her reply was instant “Yes of course” We also roped in Kerry and Sarah to also help.

Well the big day arrived and we got our self’s to the start line and of we went, omg I was so not ready for the next 13.1 miles, first is just how bulky the costume and the head are, second is how hot I was getting! All my sweating was doing, was making the costume heavier.
Thirdly running almost blind was scary to say the least if not for Lisa I doubt I will have made it to the end unscathed.
Well one or two problems on the way round like my camel back water supply completely failing so by mile four dehydrating and having to steel other runners water from them and near the end coming close to crashing out when the reality of poorly maintained paths round

Mount Farm Park Lake, however we crossed the line at a painful time of 2:00:01 yes one second over two hours!!!!

That was it I thought Hero Bear was interesting and painful but not be seeing you again, however I didn’t take into account two things! one that 1 second!!! And I also watched a small video about the help H4H give witch had me in tears and made me think so what if the costume is uncomfortable its nothing compared to what I had watched in the video. I started to hatch a plan for 2016 in my head that I would try and raise awareness for H4H by doing as many Marathons Half Marathons as possible in 2016, 262 miles in total, unfortunately due to family bereavement and serious work

commitments I didn’t manage the 262, was in fact 145.1 miles.
So the first Half Marathon of the year Silverstone

Run with Lisa and Kieron as my guides, but the run didn’t go to plan because H4H had had a new costume made with better vision out of the Bears head but unfortunately the inner helmet that it’s all supported on was way too small for my head, so it just sat high on the top of my head which just gave me a splitting headache and by the end had started to take the skin of the top of my head. The following week was upper Heyford Air base Half Marathon guided by Emma D with no time to send the costume back to the makers I had to improvise a homemade pad to fit inside the inner helmet which did the trick for the day.
Heyford was fast just over 2 hours! I think about 2:02. Next came the Full MK Marathon Guides Lisa Amanda and Kieron. Sweat, tears and cramp especially cramp yes cramp! Did I mention the cramp? I think at some point every muscle in my body went into a cramp. However by just stopping every time to stretch and having Emma D (She’s a sport physio) at mile 12, 18 and 24 to poke and prod my aching body did the trick and with the amazing help of the guides we got to the finish only to then spend 30 minutes in the first aid room because I ate a Zero tablet instead of dissolve it in water! Made me very sick hehe witch sent the first aid teams into

melt down thinking I was about kick the bucket.
Next was the Redway Runner Festival with Abi and Kieron as guides, uneventful run if running with a torn hamstring.

(We are great friends and ok with talking to each other in this way)

Then one of the big ones for H4H Swansea Half they are one of the official charity’s for this marathon it was great because I finally got to meet Mim, my contact at H4H and the lady who sorts the costume for me each time. Once again my guides were Lisa and Kieron, it was a good run not fast but a nice route but it was a very warm day so dehydration was a serious problem! Seemed no matter how much I drank it wasn’t enough.

Two Hero Bears at the Swansea Half
Next was the Maidenhead half guided by Dr Emma, again quite a warm day which just makes it more uncomfortable so we just kept pushing to the finish, often when I cross the line at the end I have to sit down right away (Actually collapsed at Heyford!) simply because I am exhausted, however on this occasion a young and very excited St Johns ambulance lad came rushing over to take control of the situation! It took Emma 3 attempts to let him know that he was not

needed and she was a doctor anyway and was more than capable of taking care of her friend.

Then Planes Trains and Automobiles half marathon at Caldecott Lake, guides Kerry C and Kieron.

Not really much other than it went very well Kerry and Kieron were amazing and got a great medal.
Windsor half was another official H4H charity one, for this one we had a plan to try and beet that elusive sub 2 hour time, we didn’t know how hilly it was but I felt good at the start and it was not to warm, my guides were Lisa and Kieron once again. Even though the start for the first mile is up hill we got off to a flyer all was good until about mile 3 when the sweat had started to become a real problem by getting into my eyes, I had forgotten to take my sweat band so my eyes were burning and its imposable to wipe them while wearing the head.

We really pushed hard on this run but we think it was the hills that took the

time over two hours 2:02:41 to be exact, still Chris Evens mentioned Hero Bear on R2 the next day! (Hero Bear smashed Chris’s time ) Once again Mim and the H4H team were there which is great for their support and help.
And last but not least the MK Winter half with 5 guides! Amanda, Dr Emma, Kerry, Alex and Kieron. The toughest one yet simply because I had not run for over a month due to injury. We got to mile 11 and for the first time in my life I did not think I could push myself any further, was only when Abi turned up and started to take the micky that I managed to get moving again. They all managed to get me over the line in about 2:23.

I am not sure if I ever want to run again in the Bear costume! Perhaps if H4H manage to get me a place at the London marathon I think I would. Am I still wanting to do charity runs? I defiantly do but I need challenges and tough ones. I have still not found

where my limit is, every time I have got to a point where I thought I could go no further I then went further!
Same with pain I still hurt if I stub my toe or cut myself with paper but I can also lock pain away inside my head and not let it get in my way. I guess that’s stamina. One thing during all of the miles this year has been knowing that for me it will soon come to an end and I can get out of the costume and relax, not so for the guys H4H help every day of the week. Please remember they are in that position because they were protecting you.
Thank you for taking the time to look through this.
Also a massive thanks to my guides this year for making it possible.
Alan AKA Sgt Mack.

mack-6 mack-5 mack-4 mack-3 mack-2



Would you like to run?

Have you always wanted to run, how about finishing a 5K in March this year, then who knows what next, 10k maybe a marathon, or maybe just running with new friends and having a chat to put the world to right, while getting fitter, it is all achievable.

Then the first step is to sign up to one of the free 10 week Redway Runners beginners courses starting in January, yes you can do it, the first step may be the hardest but then it is a journey you will not look back from.

All the details and how to sign up are at:

Make 2017 the year you really achieve what you want