About Us

At Long Eaton Running Club (LERC) we acknowledge that, given the right encouragement, anyone is capable of running and, once established, can go on to run for the club in local competition, if they so wish. The club is a member of three seasonal leagues which means runners of all abilities have the chance to compete against runners of a similar ability from other clubs in the region.

Club nights are on Tuesday and Thursday each week; meeting at West Park Leisure Centre from 6.45pm, with the run commencing at 7.00pm. There is usually at least two options for distance and, if you are new to the club, you will be paired with a similar-paced runner to make sure you don’t get lost. The routes vary each week and are displayed on the calendar on the website.

Club members also meet up at other times in the week to take on longer runs or speed sessions. Individuals tend to advertise these on the LERC Facebook page; so if you fancy joining in, just drop them a message to arrange a meet up. The club is affiliated to England Athletics. In the Summer, we compete in the Notts’ Road Race League and the Derby Runner/BDL League. In the Winter, we compete in the North Midlands Cross-Country League, East Midlands Cross-Country League and the Derby Runner/BDL League. This gives our members that are affiliated to EA access to about 20 free races each year.

In addition to these leagues, members also participate in fell running competition throughout the region.

Above all; LERC is a sociable club. We believe in supporting each other, regardless of pace, ability or goal. Our members range from 4-minute milers to 12-minute milers; all of whom are welcome to compete for the club, if they wish to. However; members are not compelled to compete. We have a significant number who use the club for social running and to put a bit of variety in to their exercise.

Whatever your running goals, there will be other members to support and encourage you to achieve them.

Membership Benefits

The benefits of LERC membership include:
• Twice weekly club nights, usually based at West Park Leisure Centre, with a choice of risk-assessed group runs of different lengths, and speed/hill work sessions.
• Other ad hoc speed, hill or group runs advertised by members.
• Sessions run by qualified EA Run Coaches and Leaders.
• A friendly, welcoming atmosphere with lots of advice and encouragement from other members.
• A 10% discount at The Derby Runner.
• Participation in internal league competitions, races and awards.
• Associate Membership of Long Eaton Rugby Social Club and its facilities

Members of LERC with EA affiliation also benefit from:
• £2 reduction on race entries for all EA governed races.
• FREE entry to club league races
• 10% discount on goods purchased at most local and nationwide running shops
• Information, updates and offers from EA.
• An EA membership card/competition licence with URN.

Membership Fees

The membership year runs from 1 April to 31 March.

Fees are as follows:
Club membership (EA affiliated)* - £31 per year
(This is made up of club membership at £15 and an EA affiliation fee of £16)
Club membership (Non-EA affiliated)* - £15
Second-claim membership - £15

This is for those who are currently a member of another club and wish to remain EA affiliated to that club as First Claim. This will give you all the benefits of LERC membership, as well as access to the FREE club races; where prior approval from League organisers is granted and your First Claim Club is not in the same League.
• Social membership - £5

For those who do not wish to join the club as a runner but wish to take part in club social activity.
* You must be affiliated to EA in order to run for LERC in the various leagues.

For anyone joining the club from 1 October each year, the club membership fee is reduced to £7.50. Full EA affiliation fee must still be charged, however. Membership enquiries should be forwarded to membership@longeatonrunningclub.com

All our activities are covered by England Athletics insurance but we would encourage everyone to undertake some fitness training before joining the club and recommend that new members should be able to run around 3 miles at a steady pace. Anyone with health problems or who has led a sedentary lifestyle are advised to consult their GP before embarking on any strenuous exercise.

Club Documents

Charity

The club started supporting local charities in 1995 and raises money through events such as quiz nights, raffles and bake sales.
The club also supports member’s chosen charities when they take part in running events to raise money for worthy causes.
In the past few years we have supported:

• MS Society
• Treetops Hospice
• Edale Mountain Rescue
• Treetops Hospice
• Canaan Trust

We would like to thank you all in advance for your continued support in our fundraising activities and we hope to continue this to make future years just as prosperous.
For future fundraising events and ideas, please contact the charity secretary at charity@longeatonrunningclub.com

Kit

We have a variety of LERC-branded kit available to members. These include:

• Scimitar race vests (these must be worn when representing the club)
• Ron Hill hi-viz bibs and t-shirts
• Hoodies
• Bobble hats

To order kit or find out what else is available, please contact message us at info@longeatonrunningclub.com

History

Long Eaton Running Club was founded in 1986, but it is interesting to look further back at the history of running in the town from both a historical perspective and to understand the factors that led towards the formation of the club.

BEFORE 1980: The 8th Midlands Cross Country Championships took place on 27 February 1886 at the newly built Recreation Ground on Station Road. The twelve-acre site had a cricket ground, football pitch and a banked cycle track of 2.5 laps to the mile said to be 'the second best in the kingdom'.

Most of the crowd walked from the nearby train station, filed through the turnstiles and took their places on the grandstands by the pavilion. A football match between the town's second team and Spondon had to be interrupted with the players being asked to stand aside for the start of the race. The course of about five miles started with a circuit of the ground, then the runners streamed through a narrow exit and there was a wild scramble over a gate before the first plough land. After two big loops across fields the first runner back was William Snook of Birchfield Harriers who won by 80 yards ahead of Hickman of Godiva. Many of the over-enthusiastic supporters started crowding round the finish so that the chasing runners had to fight to get over the line. Two months later Snook, the greatest English distance runner at the time, became the first ever athlete to receive a lifetime ban from amateur athletics...but that is another story!

The cross-country event must have been the inspiration to form an athletics club because Long Eaton Harriers was established a few months later; their first meet was on Tuesday 16 November 1886. Some of the members also ran for Long Eaton Rangers FC, such as Lawrence Plackett of Breaston who also played for Derby County and Nottingham Forest. The club gave out prizes for cross-country runs in the winter and took turns with other clubs to be 'hares'. In the summer they ran shorter races from 120 yards to a mile at athletics festivals, football and cricket club sports days, and even flower shows. Sometime around the turn of the century the club disappeared, as did many events at the Recreation Ground. However several years later in June 1909 athletic sports returned with the Long Eaton Cycle and Athletic Club competing in handicap and scratch races. This annual show attracted up to 5,000 spectators to the Recreation Ground. Later in the 20th Century the site was used for greyhound racing, stock car racing and speedway.

Long Eaton's greatest unsung sporting hero has to be Stan Fletcher who won the National Championships at Epsom Downs in 1937. He also came within 43 seconds of the world record at the 20-mile Coventry to Fort Dunlop race with a winning time of 2:44:21. Extraordinary...because he was race walking! Various athletic events took place at the West Park in Long Eaton such as the County Schools Championships. The annual carnival had athletics clubs from as far as Scarborough competing in races from 80 yards to a mile. In the 1960s the Notts AAA Championship 15 mile road race took place at the nearby Trent Vale Ground in Beeston (c/o Ericsson AC).

The first New York City Marathon sparked a US jogging craze that came to Europe during the 1970s with inaugural marathons in many capital cities. Within the UK there were only 13 marathons in 1977, but just five years later there would be over 130.

1980-1989: The Coe-Ovett-Cram era was an inspirational one for British athletics but the catalyst for many runners was the first London Marathon in 1981. Later that year Nottingham staged its first half marathon race and in 1982 half marathons started up in Mansfield, Newark, Sandiacre, Worksop and Heanor. The first Derby Marathon & Half Marathon took place in 1983, along with the first Belvoir Half, Chellaston Half and Keyworth Turkey Trot. New running clubs were being formed throughout the East Midlands and they started organising road races in their own area.

Nick Lees of Derby & County AC won the 1984 Erewash Half Marathon in 1:08:38. Local clubs represented that day included Sinfin Joggers, Holme Pierrepont, Ilkeston, Carlton Jogging Club, Plessey AC, Shelton Striders, Rolls Royce Harriers, Beeston Joggers, Arnold Harriers, Players AC and, of course, Erewash Valley. However most of the 600 runners were not attached to any club, including Martin Goodall and Don Pitman. Along with another Long Eaton lad (Dave Munt) they took part in the Nottingham Robin Hood Half Marathon a few weeks later and by the following year were starting to train regularly together, meeting at a bus shelter by the canal bridge on Tamworth Road. Before long they decided to form their own club and set about deciding the constitution, the design of the running kit, training sessions, etc. Peter Wilkinson of Derby AC (who represented England in the 1958 Commonwealth Games Marathon) helped with affiliation to the AAAs and Dave Munt, who passed away in 2011, was the first secretary.

The Long Eaton Running Club '86 (LERC) was officially affiliated to AAAs on 1 October 1986 - coincidentally, one hundred years after the formation of the Long Eaton Harriers. Initially there were only six members, but by the end of 1986 that number had doubled and the football changing rooms on West Park became the new meeting place every Tuesday and Thursday at 5.30pm.

The first LERC team effort took place in February at the Notts Relays at Wollaton Park - an event that was reportedly rather intimidating...but fun! Top athletes from around the country arrived in coaches with clubs fielding A, B and even C teams. Despite the competition, the lone Long Eaton team started off well with the first four runners (Martin, Don, Dave and Nigel Goodall) putting in sterling performances, but in the final leg 'Anchor Man' Dave Gascoigne went the wrong way so LERC ended up virtually last. One of his bemused team mates later made the quip: "What an 'anker!"

The swimming pool in Long Eaton was extended in 1988 and West Park Leisure Centre re-opened with a new sports hall, gym, changing rooms, upstairs rooms and a bar. LERC subsequently relocated to the new venue, meeting at the later time of 6.30pm. Club membership grew mainly by word of mouth to friends and workmates, but the new facilities at West Park helped. In those days rather than paying an annual subscription, the treasurer Ian Baxter would cheerfully collect 50p on Tuesdays and 60p on Thursdays from each member. Ian had an untimely death in 1994 and the club honours his memory with the IBAX Trophy handed out to a member who epitomises the spirit of the club.

The late 1980s saw even more races being added to the running calendar with the first Goose Fair Gallop, Rutland Mini Marathon, Sutton in Ashfield Half Marathon, Notfast 10K, Hinckley Half Marathon, Nottingham Heritage 10K, Leicester Marathon, Hardwick Hall 6, Barrow 6, Wreake 10K, Notts Wildlife 10K, Ashby 20, Cropwell 10, Stanley 5 and Loughborough Echo Half Marathon.

1990-1999: LERC has always had an active social side. Members have formed life-long friendships and some have even walked down the aisle together. The numerous social events throughout the year have often prompted the old adage: 'drinking club with a running problem' and this was most evident at the first Drunken Dash on April Fool's Day 1990. It started as a 12 mile Sunday run from West Park to the Carpenters Arms in Dale Abbey (for opening time) and then on to a further nine hostelries before returning to the leisure centre for a quick shower and a quencher in the bar upstairs. It faded away for a few years but was revived as a shorter, Friday evening run in June 1999. Despite this, some participants were found guilty of drinking halves so further training was deemed necessary...with an annual pub bike ride!

LERC men's team finished as runners-up in the 1990/91 cross-country season. Later that year, the first event to be staged by the club took place at Trent Meadows on Sunday 17 November 1991. Over 200 runners attended the first Long Eaton cross-country league race and the winner was Eamonn Hyland of Redhill RC. An internal LERC league was set up in 1992 with club members being awarded points for completing a league race depending on their position. The best ten performances counted towards the final place. All members contested the summer and winter league trophies, whatever the age group, up until 1997 when the M40 trophy was introduced. Today there are further distinctions, with additional prizes for the veteran M50, F35 and F45 age categories.

The Erewash Half Marathon was shortened to a 10-miler and by the 1990s it had become a high profile national road race. The prize money was attracting some of the best athletes in the world and for most local runners it was quite an experience going head-to-head with the Kenyans...even if it was only whilst standing on the start line! The 1992 Erewash 10 Mile Classic was memorable because Liz McColgan breezed in to take £550 prize money and the keys to a brand new Ford Escort for setting a new course record. However the sponsors took umbrage with her insistence that the car had to be delivered to her house...in Dundee!

By the end of 1992 LERC membership had increased to 49 and the club stepped up a gear with second claim recruits, such as the aforementioned Nick Lees who's running career includes a mind-boggling 28:18 for 10,000 metres. Nicky, Andy McNeill and Kev Gunn won the men's team prize for LERC at the 1993 Erewash 10 Mile Classic - a major achievement considering the calibre of the athletes that they were up against. Three weeks later Andy won a Notts Silver medal at the Robin Hood Marathon with a personal best (pb) time of 2:34:01 and Kev Gunn went on to set a new course record of 25:26 at the Weston on Trent 5 Mile race.

The LERC ladies first team success was winning all five races in the 1992/93 East Midlands Cross Country League led by Alex Holland, Nicola Swithenbank and Carol Holmes. LERC ladies A, B and C teams also picked up first team trophies in the 1993/94 season. Carol was selected for the Inter Counties Cross Country Championships in Luton and went on to win the Burton on Trent Half Marathon. She also won the Derby Half Marathon in a pb time of 1:17:10 before leaving for new (if not greener) pastures. The 1994/1995 East Midlands Cross Country League resulted in first place victories for LERC men's A, B, Vet A and Vet B teams. Along with the growing number of team prizes at local road races, it looked like LERC were going to need a bigger trophy cabinet!

For most of the 1990s the club had a Juniors section aged 8-15 competing in the local league races with some outstanding performances, but it was decided that certain athletic clubs would be better at catering for that age group. In recent years some of the member's children have joined the club and are competing in various races such as the timed 5K Parkruns.

The first Long Eaton Festival 5 Mile Race organised by LERC took place on 18 June 1995. Although the course through the town centre has had to be changed in recent years, the event continues to attract hundreds of club runners as well as local residents and there is a 2 Mile Fun Run for youngsters and novices. The charity account was also set up in 1995. Since then members have been raising funds for local and national charities through quiz nights, cake sales, raffles and race sponsorship. Several events dedicated to noble causes have been well supported by LERC over the years, such as the Sawley Quarter Marathon that raised thousands of pounds for the Notts Kidney Fund. This race became the Harrington Arms 10K Kidney Run and in 1997 attracted 37 members with 21 running under 40 minutes, 5 under 35 minutes and the winner (club captain Nicky Lees) setting a new course record of 31:29. However increasing regulatory and traffic management requirements put paid to this race and many others in the 1990s, such as the Newton Solney 10K, Chellaston Half and the Derby Ramathon. Also off the race calendar, the 10 Mile Mickleover Poppy Run once saw training partners (and LERC team mates) Nicky Lees and Jerry Hall cross the finish line in exactly the same time - 52:28. Nicky was later awarded first place having been judged to be a fraction ahead. At least Jerry could console himself with the fact that a fortnight earlier he had triumphed in the Merrill 10K with a new course record of 30:43.

LERC won the men's team prize at the Robin Hood Marathon over three consecutive years from 1996 to 1998 with Andy McNeill featuring in all three teams. Mikk Bradley led the winning 1997 team coming third overall and first vet in 2:34:30, having achieved second place in the 80-mile South Downs Marathon just a few weeks earlier. The turn of the millennium saw LERC's Mandy Spink winning the Robin Hood Marathon on three consecutive occasions.

2000-2009: Some members have taken running to another dimension with orienteering, triathlons, duathlons and long distance challenges like the 42 mile Four Inns Walk. The Long Eaton area is blessed with many miles of cross-country footpaths, bridleways and canal towpaths. There are some challenging hills but the Peak District is within relatively easy reach for those who want more. LERC members have participated in fell races from the Isle of Wight to the Isle of Jura. A particular favourite among the hardy souls is the 17-mile Borrowdale Fell Race in the Lake District with 6500' (1981m) of ascents. For the first time in 2002 LERC fielded a team at the British Fell Relay Championships in the Langdales. Phil Walters (one of the team members) went on to complete the formidable 'Bob Graham Round' in under 24 hours.

LERC entered male and female teams, also for the first time, at the 2003 Midland Relay Championships at Sutton Park in Birmingham and both teams qualified for the Nationals three weeks later - competing against the best athletes in the country.

The club newsletter of the early 1990s was revived from 2002-2007 but now most members get up to date news, results and information from the website. There is also an active forum where members can post notices and discuss a whole range of running related issues. It is undoubtedly one of the best running club websites in the country. For many years there have been internal club competitions such as 'Pot Luck Pairs' and other time trials. Wollaton Park was the venue for a handicap race that was revived in 2002 as a multi-terrain course starting and finishing at the Navigation Inn in Breaston. Runners set off at different times based on their recent race results - the theory being that everyone crosses the finish line together. Another popular club event, the 'Bannister One' took place for the first time on 6 May 2004: a 1-mile race around West Park on the 50-year anniversary of the breaking of the 4-minute mile barrier.

Out of the hundreds of local and national races that LERC enter every year, the four-race Nottingham Heritage Grand Prix Series has to be the most popular as it attracts up to 60 members. Outside the UK, some Long Eaton runners have enjoyed the experience of competing in races around Europe and further afield - from New York to New Zealand.

In 2005 a 6-lane synthetic running track was opened in nearby Ilkeston and some members have been using the facilities to help improve their speed. Also in 2005, Neil Renault joined the club and went on to set new course records at the Folksworth 15 (1:19:57), Gloucester 20 (1:49:42) and Southwell 10K (30:04).

Over 30 members, past and present, have broken 3 hours for a marathon, but Rod Harris became the first in a LERC vest to run under 2:30 when he completed the 2006 London Marathon in a 2:27:26 pb. A month later Rod dominated the four-race Tour of the Derwent Valley Series - proving that he can win on hills as well. Another star performer, Sharon Orridge followed her first F40 place at the 2007 British Masters Cross Country Championships with wins at several races including a 1:20:34 pb at the Milton Keynes Half Marathon.

2010 AND THE FUTURE: Sarah Harris has notched up some brilliant results over the years. The year 2011 started with her 1:14:49 pb at the Helsby Half Marathon and continued with new course records at the Stamford 30K (1:53:57) and Jägermeister 10K (36:11). Sarah also won the Derby 10K, the Robin Hood Marathon and her 2:42:59 pb at the Edinburgh Marathon led to a call up to represent England in Toronto.

Throughout the club's history there have been some outstanding achievements and many are listed on the club's web site. However for the vast majority of members the great reward has been the delight of attaining a personal goal, or helping others to realise their dreams. Camaraderie, encouragement and many months of training in all weathers, has often resulted in runners exceeding their own expectations. Age should not be a barrier: Pete Thorburn was new to running and 58 years young when he first came down the club - he has now completed over 50 marathons. Another long-term member, octogenarian Jim Stevenson started his running career in 1948 and is still racing in a LERC vest. The World Association of Veteran Athletes 'WAVA' age grading calculator determines the performance level percentage and over the years a handful of LERC members (notably Geoff Jones) have achieved over 90% at some races, namely, World Class performances!

In 2011 the club celebrated its 25-year anniversary with various events including the inaugural Long Eaton 50 Mile race for individuals or relay teams. With a membership of about 200, LERC is one of the largest running clubs in England. Much of the success since 1986 has been due to the continuous hard work of some key members...You know who you are! Perhaps one person should be highlighted: honorary member and club stalwart Ash Patel joined in 1989 and after various committee positions became chairman - a role he has held for over 15 years. Every club night he conducts stretching and warm-up exercises, as well as looking after new recruits. By attracting new members each year and with a wide range of interests, abilities and ambitions, the club will continue to thrive.

Article produced by Richard Ford - thank you.