Elizabeth McNabb, Nick, Paul Clark, Ben Lock, Gwyn and Judy with 2 other Pitsea members offered to help women, new to running, to train for this new 5km run to be held in 2003. About 15 women took up the challenge and, along with a few hundred other runners, completed their first race on a hot June afternoon. Gwyn had supplied a glass of bubbly to celebrate their milestone and during the drinking their question was “what do we do now?”
In those days Pitsea only had running groups and these women were still comparative beginners so it was suggested that, if they would support a new club, the aforementioned would look into this. The following month Elizabeth, Nick, Gwyn, Paul, Ben, Judy and Nick Vickery sat round Judy’s kitchen table and after lengthy discussion ‘Phoenix Striders Walking and Running Club’ was born. It was nearly another year before all the ‘red tape’ had been sorted and the club was finally affiliated as a UKA club with its official uniform, headed notepaper, membership form, committee etc. The club’s first committee was made up as follows:- chair Gwyn Hughes, vice chair Nick Burston, secretary Judy Burston, treasurer Paul Clark, committee members Elizabeth McNabb, Ben Lock, and co-opted at the second committee meeting Peggie King and Amanda Carter.
The annual subscription was set at £10 that has not changed!!!! A new club needs money for affiliation fees, buying in uniform etc, we were lucky in that Chris Carter sponsored our first set of sweat shirts and Steve Branston (Essex Tyres) sponsored a finish banner which was used at the first Langdon 5 (now the Dunton Demon 5) in Oct 2004.
The first ‘Summer Series’ was run, as an experiment in August 2004 with 41 runners, in 2017 the one in May had 156!!!
The club has come a long way since those early days. Apart from supporting Essex Wildlife Trust since the beginning, we have organised runs in aid of Little Havens Children’s Hospice, the ‘Run for the Children’ 3 miles and for the last 6 years the Stanford le Hope Community 5K (in aid of a variety of charities) which this year will be the Stanford le Hope 10K and 5K runs.
In 2009 we were nominated for and won the Basildon Sports Council ‘Club of the Year’ award.
The club has also played a huge part in the formation, organisation and running of the Basildon Park Runs.