Mr Run Barns Green retires
Vernon Jennings has announced that he is standing down as chairman and race director of Run Barns Green.
Vernon has been involved with the event since it began in October 1982. Initially he was in charge of the end of race “funnel” co-ordinating the finish of the race, and as the race recorder, a key role supplying information to the runners before the advent of electronic timing.
In 1998 he took over as chairman of the organising committee and as race director. In 2015 Vernon was awarded the British Empire Medal for his work with the Barns Green Half Marathon and in the community, an award that was both very well deserved and hugely popular with all who know Vernon and have worked with him.
Vernon has been instrumental in the growth and development of Run Barns Green over the past two decades. When he took over as chairman of the then Barns Green Half Marathon in 1998, it was a critical time for the race. New competing events were starting up and several of the original committee members were retiring from their roles.
A new leader was needed and a new team had to be established to take the Barns Green Half Marathon forward as the new millennium approached.
Vernon took on the challenge and provided the momentum and leadership to enable the event to flourish and grow.
Part of that growth included the establishment of a 10k race to run in conjunction with the half marathon. There was a lot of resistance to the addition of a new race but Vernon was convinced that it was necessary and in the six years since the introduction of the 10k, it has flourished and provided competing opportunities for many new runners who do not yet feel confident enough to take on the half marathon distance.
In recent times, Vernon has suffered some ill health which has restricted his ability to oversee the event. The event had to be cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic and his deputy, Nigel Currie took over as Chairman and Race Director for the 2021 event while Vernon was recovering.
He will now continue in this role and he commented, “Vernon is a very hard act to follow. His unique style of leadership has enabled Run Barns Green to continue to thrive. He is hugely popular and has that great ability to get people to do things. The village of Barns Green is very fortunate to be able to stage such a great annual event as Run Barns Green and has been especially fortunate to have a man like Vernon Jennings who was prepared to commit so much to make it succeed."
Although he is standing down as Chairman of Run Barns Green, Vernon will still be involved. He has been appointed as Life President of the event and has expressed his desire to help create and launch a new kids race for Run Barns Green 2022 which will also be the 40th anniversary of the event.
Vernon commented, “It has been a total pleasure to look after Run Barns Green for the past 22 years. The event is a tribute to the village and the many hundreds of volunteers who have made it possible. The members of the committees that I have chaired over the years have done some great work to enable the event to take place each year despite ever increasing pressures and I am particularly proud of the extraordinary amount of money that we have raised for various charities. I would also just like to take this opportunity to thank my wife Annie and our three sons for their tremendous support both to me and the event. I genuinely couldn’t have done it without them”.
At the official Run Barns Green post race function at the end of October, Vernon was officially given the title Life President, Run Barns Green. Next year’s 40th anniversary event will take place on Sunday 25 September and early bird race entries are already open with more news of the new kids race to be announced in the new year on the website; runbarnsgreen.org.uk