The Footpath Runners (seniors) meet twice a week at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday at Penistone Church Football Club. The juniors meet just on Tuesday nights at the same time and location as the senior members.
Planned training sessions are held with all age groups led by qualified coaches Ian Charlesworth, Martyn Cartwright, Nicky Spinks, Jill Davis, Sue Charlesworth, Ann Smythe and Bob Innes, supported by a number of qualified coaching assistants. A group is always available for anyone who wants to go on a steady run. New members are always welcome and can be catered for in one of the training groups.
The main club night is Tuesday, when typically about 50-70 runners out of a total membership in excess of 150, turn up to do either serious, or not too serious, running. The seniors start with a warm up lap to Springvale, a distance of about a mile at a very steady pace. The group then generally splits into four groups: two speed groups and two separate runs – one short and steady, the other slightly longer, normally about 6 or 7 miles. The speed sessions vary – a group may do mile reps with another maybe doing a fartlek hill session or a pyramid session consisting of shorter sprints. During the summer we use Water Royd Park under the viaduct for speed sessions whilst two other groups still go for a run, off road or on. On Thursdays a smaller group of senior runners meet again at 6:30 p.m. to go for runs, on or off road, splitting into several groups of differing paces.
The club has meetings every quarter to discuss matters that affect the club and to organise events.
In addition to organising races (which are detailed here) the club has social events and a presentation night each year. The social side of the club centres around the clubhouse after training. Occasional meals out are organised to celebrate the ends of race series, or birthdays. A biannual handicap event is organised around Christmas and the summer solstice, along with a Christmas meal and disco. In 2004 the club organised their first trip abroad, taking in the Prague Half Marathon. In 2005 around 30 club members went to Berlin to run the Half Marathon in April. There is now an annual trip abroad to a race, and several other social weekends/short trips away organised.
The club has its own Club Championship, where runners score points in selected races throughout the year. The championship is subdivided into in age groups and gender and has separate sections for Fell, Cross Country and Road races. During the winter months, the club has an 8 race Winter Handicap series, run roughly every third week from the end of September to mid February. The club has close links with The Trunce, a nine race series run roughly every three weeks during the summer months. If you still have enough energy left after all this, the club organise trips to other races like the Great North Run and mountain marathon events. You can run for the club in the South Yorkshire Cross Country League or the South Yorkshire Road League along with a wide choice of other local races. The number of races you enter is entirely up to you: many members find it sufficient just to attend club night on Tuesday.
Membership Fees are very reasonable – details are available here. Being a member lets you enter races that sometimes unattached runners cannot enter and often offers reduced rates for races. Some local sports shops offer discounts to club members. So come and try us!
Penistone as a settlement can be dated back to the Century of Alfred the Great and was founded somewhere between 800 and 900 A.D.. It’s early name was usually spelt “PENIGESTUN’ and it became well known in the sheep trade, boasting its own brand of sheep and a market which was granted a Royal Charter back in 1699.
Penistone Footpath Runners & A.C. cannot claim to be as old as this but has now established a firm base and a high reputation on the local running scene.
Its location on the eastern slopes of the Pennines, make it ideal running country. The Moorlands are just over three miles from the town centre and its proximity to the major towns of South and West Yorkshire mean club members can enjoy a wide range of terrains – fell running, cross country running, road, track and orienteering.
The Club was founded back in late April/early May 1982 at the suggestion of Cubley resident Doug Carr and a hardy band of local residents who decided that they were unfit and needed to take up some form of exercise. It was agreed that they would meet at Castle Dam on the outskirts of Penistone one Tuesday at 6.30 p.m. 12 people turned up and proceeded to labour over a 3 mile jog taking in public footpaths in the Cubley area. Many of these original 12 are still with the Club today.
In the course of the next few months, these runs continued, still on footpaths but gradually increasing in length as the running bug began to bite. Meeting places were generally pub car parks, churches or other such points, and as well as the enjoyment of running, the club took an interest in local history landmarks and ornithological sightings.
During the course of these runs, the hardy band eventually met up with other local runners who were already members of established running clubs and from these more experienced runners, they began to learn that there was more to the running game than just jogging along on footpaths. However, these runs continued into 1983 and because the numbers had now risen to 40, a more organised system of meeting had to be devised. From then, they met at Penistone Sports Centre. Since August 2002 the club has had it’s headquarters at Penistone Church Football Club.
In August 1983, the group entered the “Famous Barnsley 6” Road Race as an unattached team called “Penistone Footpath Runners”. The name was suggested by Doug Carr and someone else suggested that they run in white vests and black shorts as these were the colours which Penistone Grammar school were wearing at the time (The school still has similar colours for sports kit). It was also suggested that they adopted the Grammar School badge for the front of the vest. In this manner, the Club’s future name and colours were established. The team excelled themselves, coming second in the unattached team event with another Cubley resident, Brian Hague, taking the honours as the first local unattached home.
Following on this success, it was decided to form a club and a meeting was arranged and a Constitution drawn up. Doug Carr became Chairman, John Wright Secretary, Graham Morrison Treasurer and Keith Brown President. So the Club came into existence in October 1983 and became affiliated to the Northern Counties Athletic Association, Northern Counties Womens Cross Country, Fell Running Association, South Yorkshire Amateur Athletic Association and the Yorkshire Cross Country Association. The club quickly grew to boast over 200 members with a thriving and successful Junior Section led by David Holladay and Willie Gibbins.
Despite being a relatively new club, they quickly gained fame. The first athletic success came just after the formation when George Lilly, David Cartwright and Andy Barrett won the first team prize in a fell race organised by Longwood Harriers. David Cartwright became their first Champion when he took the English Veterans Fell Running title in 1986. Dave has been running throughout his life and left the successful Holmfirth Running Club to join his home town club on its formation.
The Club is very active in organising races, which include the Hartcliff Hill Race, the Thurlstone Chase, the Penistone 10K Road Race, Penistone Hill Race and the Oxspring Hunshelf Amble. A list of club races is here. We also host South Yorkshire County Athletics Association events on the roads around Penistone and cross countries in local parks.
The races have thrived thanks mainly to sponsorship from local companies and residents. The Penistone Hill Race was supported by many local people donating prizes and all proceeds from the race and fun run are donated to a local charity. So far, over £6000 has been raised since the race was first held. In 2005 the Hill race was superceded by the Hartcliff Hill Race, but it was revived in 2013 and both are now run annually.
The Penistone 10K road race is the largest of the club’s races, attracting over 350 competitors at its height. The race has had three major backers, Bridge End Garage, formerly owned by David Sanderson, who sponsored the race for five years, and Lavender International N.D.T., who have been involved with the race since 1990. Former Company Director Steve Lavender MBE is currently the club’s President and in 1999 was elected as President of Penistone Agricultural Society who organise the Annual Penistone Show. In 2002 Livingwell became the main race sponsor, assisted by Dearne FM and Penistone Electrical & Mechanical Services Ltd. In 2004 Dearne FM became the principle sponsor. In 2005 the two principle sponsors were John Crawshaw’s Butchers and Lavender International, along with contributions from a number of local companies. In 2006 John Crawshaw continued his association with the race and we were pleased to welcome on board Cubley Hall as another principle sponsor. Thanks also for contributions from Bespoke Precast Ltd, Dransfield Hodkinson & Lofthouse, Northern Power Tools, P B Heating, Romely Plant maintenance, A Bedord light sheet metals and ACS Electrical. In 2007, 2008 and 2009 the principle sponsors have again been John Crawshaws Butchers, Cubley Hall and Lavender International, with other contributions from the companies above. In 2010 and 2011 Cubley Hall and Lavender International have continued to sponsor the Show race,
Past races have included the Penistone Tough Ten Mile which was sponsored by Tetleys and Cubley Hall and held in June.
After a short lapse when the Young Athletes Section folded, former Secretary and Vice-President, John Wright took over the reins and has rebuilt them into a formidable force in local athletics. The girls have competed in the National McDonalds Young Athletes League as well as local track and field and cross country league and championships. In 1997, Laura Whittingham became the South Yorkshire Girls u/11 girls Champion and in 1999, Lucy O’Gorman won the u/13 Championship. Lucy followed this winning the South Yorkshire Schools Championship. During the following Summer, she had a successful campaign on the Fells, finishing 2nd in the u/14 English Fell Championship, resulting in a call up to spend a weekend with the National Squad at Skipton. The Junior Section thrives today, with over 50 members and waiting list in operation, and young athletes competing in South Yorkshire and national events.
During 1996, Steve Lavender launched an Olympic Appeal to raise money for equipment for the Young Athletes Section. This raised £1100 with a further £400 obtained in grants from the Northern Athletics Federation. The club purchased some high jump equipment which is being stored at the Grammar School. The School has been allowed to make use of the equipment during the School Term.
After being Club President since the club’s formation, Keith Brown stood down in 1996 to be replaced by the current President, Steve Lavender, who was named in the 2014 Honours List for his work in the non-destructive testing industry. He is also a past president of the Institute for the industry. Recent Chairmen of the club are:Dave Lindop (1994–1999), Andy Plummer (1999–2010), Keith Gordon (2010–2014) and Steve Dickinson (2014 to date).
Penistone Footpath Runners & AC were awarded the prestigious Club Mark award in February 2008. This is a cross-sport quality accreditation for clubs with junior sections and shows the Clubs commitment to the training and welfare of its Young Athletes.
The Club Badge
Upon its formation the Club adopted the badge which is the Penistone Coat of Arms. It consists of a shield on which are 6 Martlets, birds which are used in heraldry to denote a title without foundation, i.e. a title which is bestowed on someone rather than one which is passed down.
The birds originate from the time of the Crusades. Apparently, the Crusaders thought that Swifts had no feet because they always seemed to be flying and never landed. The legend was built from there and in 1392 when Penistone Grammar School was founded, they also adopted the birds as their Coat of Arms and the badge has survived until today. The school is amongst the oldest in the country.