Heanor Running Club was formed on 28 September 1982. The first meeting of runners at the Market Hotel, Heanor was the idea of David Levens. David was also the co-organiser of the first Heanor Half Marathon that had been held 16 days earlier and had attracted over 500 runners.

From the very beginning, the club was very competitive and success soon followed. The first team victory came in 1983 at the Codnor Half marathon, with Andy May winning the race, Les Rumsey 3rd, Andy Nelson 4th and Terry Bull 5th. Andy May was the star runner for Heanor. Andy dominated the local races at all distances, regularly running around 70 minutes for the half-marathon distance during the 1980s.

During the running boom of the ’80s, the club was competing with the likes of Derby and County A.C. and Notts A.C. and had some top quality runners, including Rob Webster, Andy May, Ashley Deeming, Steve Carlin, Dave Jordan, Pete Orme, Andy Nelson, Jon Wainwright and Hillary Johnson. 

Hillary was the ladies winner of the Derby Half Marathon in 1988 and is still the most successful female runner for Heanor Running Club to date. A superb distance runner was Pete Orme, who went sub-2.30 for the marathon and also won the Burton 10 miler. Steve Carlin won the Heanor Half Marathon in 69 minutes. Rob Webster and Dave Jordan were always front-runners in most events, both often winning local races. Ashley Deeming was, at this time, a promising young runner challenging for prizes.

Andy Nelson has on his CV victories in the Long Eaton 5 Miler and the Ashbourne Hill Race. Andy still runs for Heanor and is a very reliable runner and dedicated club member. Jon Wainwright was Heanor Running Club’s most successful runner and won four out of five league races to help Heanor reach the final of the 2001 cross country season.

There are some notable team results, the pick of them being:

  • 3rd – National Mcvities Challenge 25×1 mile (1987)
  • 1st – Ripley Half Marathon (1992)
  • 1st – Belper 5 Miler (1990, 1991 and 1992)
  • 1st – Heanor Half Marathon (1988)

There are many other team victories but records are incomplete and memories fade over the years. On more recent success, Heanor won the team event at the Blackpool 10k in 2000, with Jon Wainwright getting the runners-up position out of more than 3,000 runners. Heanor also took the men’s team trophy in the 2004 Long Eaton 5 Mile Road Race and in the Merrill 10k road race.

The saddest occasion in our existence was the untimely death of the then-secretary Alex Shain while on a training run in Shipley Park in 1986.

In the 1990s, some of Heanor Running Club’s star runners drifted away to pastures new. But the grass is not always greener and Heanor’s remaining members were left to keep the club alive. In retrospect, the club was probably a victim of its own success.

During the early- to mid-nineties, results were not so good and morale was fairly low. There was even talk of an amalgamation with Ilkeston Running Club.

Although good results were few during this period, Judith Wooley started a young athlete section within Heanor Running Club, with about 15-20 children under the age of 13. This idea was ahead of its time and managed to keep the club together during this difficult time.

In the mid-90s, new enthusiasm came to the club. New members and a new committee – led by Rob Rainsford as chairman and Stuart Wainwright as secretary – brought with them new ideas and a club now more close-knit than ever before.

In 2007, Rob is still carrying out the chairman’s duties along with coach and club captain responsibilities. He is now ably supported by Lee Perkins and Peter Edwards, who are the secretary and treasurer.

We still have our Christmas Pudding 10k Run. Held on 15 November, the 2004 run was a very special event, beating the then-record entry at 401.

Heanor Running Club members now enjoy regular coach trips to races, subsidised running kit and a more vibrant social scene, which includes an annual trip abroad. With all the new enthusiasm, race results have improved and morale couldn’t be higher.

Prague was the choice for the first club trip abroad in 2004. More than 30 members made the trip. The half marathon was run around the historic capital over the cobblestones. Unsurprisingly, the Kenyans shaded it, but our own Glenda Alton was the first British woman and first in the V40 age category.

For the past five years, Heanor Running Club has made an annual club trip to Tywyn in Wales for the Race The Train race in mid-August. The club has enjoyed considerable success, with individuals breaking course records. Adam Grice holds the record in the 10k race and Chris Rainsford is the record-holder in the the under-15 and under-17 age category events. The team regularly comes home with an array of prizes packed in their cars.

2006 saw Heanor’s senior men claim the county championship title at the Pride Park Relays over 2 miles per leg. The women’s team were narrowly pipped into runners-up spot in a tense finish.

Another first was at the Derbyshire Cross Country County Championships in January 2006 when U17 Chris Rainsford stormed home to take the title. Adam Grice was also crowned Derbyshire Cross Country County Champion in the U20 age group. Adam followed up this success with the 5,000m title on the track.

Adam had a fantastic year and was justifiably recognised by being selected for the England squad for the World Mountain Running Championship in Slovakia in October 2006.

The latest inclusion in this club history comes in 2005 with the Matthew Walker Christmas Pudding 10k race. The event is now breaking all records, with 625 entrants and sold-out signs put up for the second consecutive year. It leaves the club exploring the idea of increasing the limit.

A measure of how much the club has grown is that it geared up to host its third North Midlands Cross Country League match on 14 October 2006.

The club also now regularly competes in the Northern Championships on road and cross country. Heanor Running Club is also becoming increasingly visible on the national circuit. The last three years has certainly helped put Heanor Running Club on the map.

The 2007 Matthew Walker Christmas Pudding Run reached its limit more than two weeks before race day. Entries will stop around the 680 mark to ensure there are 600 finishers on the day. The Matthew Walker sponsorship of the race reached reach a milestone in 2007 as it was the 21st running of this ever-popular race.

Heanor Running Club introduced the Heanor 5 Miler in 2003 and, while the race is still establishing itself, it regularly attracts 170-190 runners. 2006 saw the 2.1-mile fun run included. This brought in 30 runners and looks as though it will be on again next year.