Skip to content

President’s report 2023

  • by

It’s been a joy and a privilege popping along each Sunday morning and toddling along with the rest of you.
Especially when the weather’s really properly foul. I love crappy weather. Fair bit to get through, so let’s get
Attracting new members: the lifeblood of any club! Ours has been going since the 1970s, originally as the
Wellington Marathon Clinic. It’d be all kinds of fab to continue for another five decades and beyond,
though you can’t do that without a nice healthy new-member turnover.
It’s a common topic at Committee meetings. On this front, we’ve had varied approaches and successes.
Two of the main methods so far are posters-and-flyers, and chatting to people face to face. Us committee
members got a few hundred designed, printed, and distributed around town. That was great fun … though,
turns out, bloody hard to measure its success.
I personally have enjoyed far greater results chatting to friends and acquaintances directly. And offering car
rides! I’ve found an outright majority of people genuinely love the notion of exercising, either by
themselves or with others. But they don’t even know where to start, or which local athletic/fitness clubs
may or may not exist. Most of us have been exercising for years and years, and it’s all too easy for us to
forget what things are like for absolute beginners. An all-too-common scenario is: someone decides enough
is enough, time to get fit, join a club. But the only clubs around seem to be hyper-advanced fitness
Thunderdomes involving sprinting marathons backwards, and after each mile the slowest straggler gets
shot. No thank you. Their keenness wilts.
So I’ve found mentioning and describing our own club works wonders. Emphasising our beginner-friendly
nature works even greater wonders. In recent months, six friends of mine have now been coming along
semi-regularly. Result! But chatting one-on-one isn’t that scalable. Other tactics are, which brings me to:
Tech stuff: Three sub-topics: social media broadcasting; Stan’s sterling website work; specialist advertising.
Socials: these days you can’t not at least acknowledge social media if you wish your club to make a splash.
It’s how you get the word out. In recent decades, social clubs worldwide have seen their attendance sag
somewhat. Covid only sped that. Seems the world is becoming more introverted.
You’d think that’d be music to the ears of an introvert like me, but bah, doesn’t exactly mix well with
Presidenting a club like ours. Social media usage helps mitigate that, and in recent months I’ve been posting
away across multiple platforms: Facebook, Meetup, Strava, and others.
Turns out, however, that this is spectacularly labour- and time-intensive. Us committee members adore
pulling our weight wherever we can, but our lives’ commitments elsewhere mean we can seldom spare
more than a few hours a week. I know I’m flat-out. My mouse-click finger these days looks like a ‘roided up
Therefore: at this AGM we’re proposing creating a new part-time role, involving (among other things)
posting to our various social media platforms whatever club content the rest of us generate. I personally
still have loads of photos, a weeks-long backlog, that I’ve yet to post.
Website work: Stan’s been doing a fantastic job keeping our website,, humming along
nicely. In particular, a combined digital-membership-management/newsletter-mailing-list-curation
software package. God’s work!

Specialist advertising: I have been scouring various social media advertising guides, trying to figure out how
the hell you actually produce Facebook ads. They’re hideously complex! A gazillion moving parts. Again, I
would genuinely love to master this stuff and begin banging out ads galore, but it’s just finding the time,
you know? Yet more impetus for a socials-posting specialist dude.
Weekly meeting start times: This topic isn’t a biggie, or rather, it wasn’t when I’d started drafting this
report. But I’m starting to change my mind: our weekly meeting starts are 8am, Sunday. When I chat with
potential new members, often, two things happen: (1) I mention our club and their eyes light up and they
produce hell-yeah-let’s-go noises; (2) I mention our 8am Sunday start times … and their keenness perishes.
Moreover, friends and/or new members tell me that a major factor deciding their attendance is that I
personally give them a lift in my own car. Normally they’d happily bus along. But Wellington’s buses don’t
operate this early on Sundays. Having our meetings as early as 8am is a serious impediment.
I’d asked around in recent months: turns out there’s a bit of an in-club/out-club divide. Most existing
members find our 8am starts just dandy. You bang out a good solid run, and the rest of the day remains
your own. And fair enough! Solid reasoning. But it’s still a barrier to new members.
It’s probably a bit late to formally propose changing our start time at this AGM … but next AGM? Float it
then? Also, hell, why not, possibly two meetings and two starts? 8am and 9am? Food for thought.
Other things: Oh yes, the Rotorua Marathon was a lot of fun! The culmination of the previous five months’
training. Gordy’s pack does sterling work banging that out. There’s nothing like running for three and a half
hours to help you appreciate the Good Things in life. Like seeing bits of Wellington you’d never dreamed
existed. The Makara Loop is a thing of beauty. Almost beautiful enough to counterbalance one’s visceral
exhausted agonies. But athletic masochism of that kind is what running is all about.
Loads of other thanks and credits: Tasi, for number-crunching our committee meeting finances; each of our
pack leaders, for charting new paths and plotting new courses up and down Wellington; all other
committee members, for the million billion wheel-oilings and knob-polishings and unrelenting activities
that any decent-sized club requires for ongoing smooth operations; and Nigel, for possessing the vigour and
liveliness to kick off coherent speeches to the rest of us each early Sunday morning. My own systems don’t
really acknowledge the concept of human communication until mid-brunch.
Conclusion: That’s about it, I think! We’re nearing the end of another year of ups and downs and highs and
lows and exhilarations and boredoms and electric memories. I adored our club dinner of a few weeks back,
and apologies if I annoyed anyone with my incessant coughing. Shame about yet another cancelled
barbecue, too, the weather gods seem more miffed than usual.
But another gawjus summer approaches. Let’s pound serious pavement and traipse serious bush tracks and
enjoy ourselves anew.

Mikey Clark, Co-President