When presenting this award Mark Sargeantson said:
I joined Framlingham Flyers 27 years ago and have probably run with Bill and Jan more than anyone else over that period. I estimate something in excess of 15,000 miles in training and competitive events!
Jan is a founder member of the Club but I am sure she won’t be offended when I say that in the early years we were perhaps less of a club and more just a group of runners who ran around the streets of Framlingham on a Monday night and entered the occasional race.
In the early 1990’s a good turnout was about 10 people. Now it is regularly 50 to 70. The sessions were not structured, we ran two or three times around the town with the fastest disappearing into the night and if you couldn’t keep up well that was just tough! Quite often I ran so hard to keep up that I couldn’t sleep on a Monday night because I was so “wired” and my legs ached for days afterwards.
I think the biggest change to the Club’s fortunes, development, culture and growth in membership occurred when Bill introduced structured coaching on a Monday night. Most importantly Bill ensured that this was designed to be inclusive and progressive. Of course the inclusion of beginner’s sessions with the aim of achieving the 5km distance at our Club challenge events was also very important.
I think we have all benefitted enormously from these structured training sessions which have improved our strength, competitiveness, confidence and team spirit. I am sure there are many Club members who now have the confidence to run in a variety of events and distances that they would never have previously even considered. In what is often considered to be a solitary sport the team spirit at FF is heartwarming.
Bill retired last year as our Senior Coach and passed the baton on to Ricky, who is doing a great job. However, I am sure Ricky would be the first to admit that he is the beneficiary of those fantastic coaching foundations laid down by Bill.
On many winter Monday evenings Bill has told us about the benefits of cross country running as part of our overall fitness and training regime, irrespective of whether you are targeting a fast 5km on the track or a full road marathon distance. Mo Farah agrees with Bill and says: “I take part in cross-country races during the winter to help my preparations for the major championships. It is a tough discipline as courses can be hilly, muddy or even snow covered, but it makes you strong and it’s a great way to progress your training.”
Bill regularly marshals or is a timekeeper at cross-country events, often in the cold, wet and strong wind but that doesn’t put him off.
We thank you Bill very much indeed for everything you have done and continue to do for all of us at Framlingham Flyers. In honour of your outstanding contribution to the Club over the years and in particular recognition of your passion for cross-country running an award known as The Bill Cox Cross Country Award will be presented to each year to the member whose performance in this discipline is considered to be exceptional. We would like you to be the judge of that each year Bill and also to accept Honorary Membership of the Club.