Committee

(Welfare Officer role – Vacant).

Harry Matthews – Chairman.

A member of Elswick since 1959 when he was just 12 years old, Harry is certainly one of our longest serving members. Over the years he has taken on various roles including boys, youths and veterans captain, chairman, vice chairman and president.

Harry continues to train regularly and to and compete to an excellent standard – quite an achievement. He is passionate about Elswick Harriers, which is all too evident from his 59 years of involvement with the club during which time Harry has seen many changes. Harry has commented. In my role as chairman I would like to think I could support the committee members in taking the club to the next level. We have an enormous amount of skill and talent on our committee.

Daniel Nettle – Treasurer.

Daniel has been running for just over five years and a member of Elswick Harriers for four. He has certainly achieved a lot in running terms over those five years and is a fine example that you can take up running at any time in your life and excel at it. Daniel is a stalwart of the senior training sessions and a regular competitor in all manner of races including Masters’ events. Daniel says: “Though I am not one of the fastest men, the club has helped me achieve a lot of goals that are very important to me, from the 800m to the marathon. I joined the committee as I wanted to help give something back. I am a scientist in my day job, and generally as comfortable with spreadsheets as with people, so treasurer seemed a natural choice. My role is to keep track of all the financial transactions coming in and out of the club.” Such an enthusiastic, committed runner and Elswick Harrier, Daniel is a fantastic addition to the committee.

Graham Bell – Events Co-ordinator.

Graham has been a member of the club since 2006 and joined the committee in 2012. Very soon Graham took on the role of the minute taker at all meetings and continues to undertake this task. In 2013, by popular demand, he was elected to Men’s Team Captain. Around the same time, Graham stepped into the breach when our senior coach Colin Bolton was hospitalised and became a temporary coach. Temporary turned into 3 years! Graham’s role continued to expand.  Event co-ordinator for, The Good Friday Relays, The Newburn River Run and the Norman Woodcock Memorial Race.  Graham also co-organises the Boxing Day Parlaufs, the annual presentations, event catering and is the main website administrator and contributor. Graham is certainly a blue-sky thinker……. You won’t see him on social media, so be sure to say hello at the beginning of the club sessions.

Andrew Ball – Resilience and Well Being Coach. He can be contacted by the club’s FaceBook page or have a talk with Andrew in the Sports Hall on a club training evening 🙂 

A member of Elswick Harriers since 2017 but a sportsperson his whole life, reaching a high level at Football, Athletics and Judo.  Having previously being a once a year Great North Runner Andrew decided to join a club, improve as much as he could and meet some new friends.  Andrew commented ‘I couldn’t have chosen a better club, everyone is so friendly, always helping and motivating each other, this is just what I wanted and it has helped me not only get quicker but also enjoy running much more.  My first race was the North East Counties Relay in Feb 2018 where to my surprise we won the bronze medal in the V40 category!  Even then I was overwhelmed with the support from my fellow club members. 

The role at Elswick Harriers is brand new and we hope to support our runners, young and old who may hit mental barriers at certain times of their life.  Andrew has many years experience of personal development coaching, helping people achieve their personal goals by adjusting their approach, understanding motivation, setting goals and strengthening their resilience and well being.  

Laura Clegg – Committee member.

As a relative new comer to the sport Laura joined the club in early 2017 as way to help her improve her running and she has never looked back.Since joining she has enjoyed running on a more regular basis and says, “I have definitely benefited from the support of training with like-minded people and feel proud to pull on the Elswick vest at events. As a new member of the committee I’m looking forward to playing a role in ensuring the continued success and growth of the club over the coming year.”We’re delighted that Laura has stepped up to join the committee. It is always good to have a fresh pair of eyes and ears to add to the views represented at committee meetings to ensure that all members’ needs are considered.

Michelle Coleman – social events co-ordinator.

Michelle joined the club around five years ago. She particularly enjoys long weekend runs especially if they involve mud. Truly a hardy soul, cross country is her absolute favourite and when not running, she is also partial to a bit of open water swimming. Michelle is a committee member and the Elswick Harriers Social Event Co-ordinator, and organises the Presentation Evening, the Boxing Day Paarlaufs and the Christmas do. As well as sorting out our social calendar, Michelle is part of the Women’s captaincy group which organises the women’s teams and generally promotes and supports the women of Elswick. Michelle can be contacted via Info@elswickharriers.org.uk regarding any general committee issues.

Richard Houghton – Men’s Captain 

Richard found himself seeking a new form of fitness training when numerous injuries prevented him from continuing to play football. The confirmation of his wife’s pregnancy in 2011 inspired him to get back to fitness, to allow him to be an active Dad and a positive role model to his child. On a tight budget due to nursery and baby costs Richard decided to try running. Richard got started on his running journey by training alone adopting the method of running and walking to alternate lampposts and increasing the run distances around his rural Lincolnshire home.  To be closer to his wife’s family, Richard and his wife decided to move to the North East. His first priority on arriving in Newcastle was to find a running club where he felt at home. “I sampled many clubs however Elswick Harriers stood out due to its friendliness and I joined this historic club in July 2015.” “I love running and everything that comes with it, I will compete in any distance on any terrain but I do favour the marathon distance strangely enough. I have been lucky enough to complete the Abbott World Marathon Majors in March 2019 in which incorporates 6 marathons across the world, Berlin, London, New York, Chicago, Boston and Tokyo. I received a silver platter from the club stating that I was the first Elswick Harriers to complete the set, this was a thoughtful touch from the club. The men’s captain role had become vacant and that would I be interested in taking this on. It’s a huge honour to represent such a fantastic club.

Andrea Banner – Women’s Team Captain.

Andrea joined the club in 1999 having run in road races including marathons for five years as an “unattached”. She made huge improvements within months of training with the senior section of the club, taking off over 30 minutes in her marathon time. She was lucky enough to enjoy lots of team success with other females in the club like Jude Nutt, Susanne Stephenson, Yvonne Swinhoe and Kim Matthews. Andrea took around 5 years away from the club after the birth of her second child but returned in 2013 and took to training once again. She competes whenever she can when family commitments permit and continues to enjoy everything from cross country to marathon. She joined the committee in 2017. Andrea says, “The number of women joining Elswick increases year on year, and we have lots more females entering races.  I’m delighted to be giving something back to the club, by doing whatever I can to help the other committee members to ensure the club continues to thrive.”

Derek Nelson – Committee member.

Derek is currently the Membership Secretary keeping our membership with England Athletics up to date with new members and resignations. He joined Elswick Harriers in 1987 after completing two GNRs as a way of keeping fit. In 1993 Derek was “coerced /invited” on to the Committee where he has engaged in a number of roles. He took over the writing of the newsletter which was in a paper form, back in the day….. Derek was recognised for the variety of tasks he carried out when he was awarded the Quantum Services trophy in 1994 for services rendered to the club. Of his committee involvement, Derek comments, “Once you get elected onto the Committee then you get a lot of jobs to carry out, so since 1994, I have been the Head  Marshal for organising our races, setting up the events on the day, putting out signage, cones and barrier tape so that the events can be run safely.  Without stalwarts like Derek, Elswick would not be the club it is today. 

 Rob Emson – Junior Coach.

On joining Elswick Harriers, Rob trained with the Seniors group.  He was lucky enough to win one of our ballot places for the 2016 London Marathon, a race that he had long set his sights on, and so he embarked on training for his first ever marathon.  His experience that day was eventful to say the least.  Rob recollects, “Although I stumbled and fell flat on my face at mile 20 (another take on “hitting the wall”), I jumped back up to finish, had a fantastic day and have always felt indebted to the Club for giving me the chance. Since then, I have done more marathons and like to think I can give some good words of advice on stamina training.” A few years ago, Rob sacrificed his training sessions with the Seniors group to join the Junior coaching team, so that he could give something back to the Club.  He is now one of our newest committee members, having joined in November 2018.

“As one of the Junior coaches, I hope to help in all the good work the Committee do and to provide a link with our Junior section which is such an integral part of our great Club.  I work with a very good team of Junior coaches and helpers which is very important if we are to help all the Juniors improve in their running. As we are all volunteers, it’s essential that we work well together in session planning and in actually delivering the sessions. 

Scott Brady – Mens Vice Captain.

Ahead of his wedding in 2012. Deciding to shift a few pounds ahead of the big day he took to running by himself and really enjoyed the personal challenge and headspace that came with running. Moving to the North East in 2014 Scott became intrigued how his friend Jonny Lowes seemed to keep getting faster whilst he always ran similar times. Apparently, the secret was Elswick Harriers.

In the space of a year of training with the club Scott saw great improvements in his running and became aware of something called the World Marathon Majors via Richard Houghton: along the journey his marathon pb has improved to 2:54 which he couldn’t even comprehend when he joined the club. Scott joined the committee in 2019 to support Richard Houghton as Men’s captain. Scott says:

“I’ve learned so much since joining the club I was happy to try and help give something back and encourage others to take part in races. What I love about the club is the fantastic sense of togetherness there is and the support you get along the way. There is always someone faster than you to chase after at training, or some new training tips you can pick up from more experienced runners to help you improve and I’ve made some great friends since joining the club.”

Robyn Naylor – Womens Vice Captain.

Robyn is a relative newcomer to running having started out in the sport no more than four years ago when she began having a go at Park Runs.  She caught the running bug fairly quickly and joined Elswick Harriers in 2017.  

“My first race was the Morpeth 10k in 2017; following that was the Great North Run a month later. I then had a period of illness and when I re-joined in the summer of 2018, I came back wanting to be stronger and with a lot of ambition to succeed and progress. I thoroughly enjoy the senior sessions with our coaches and attend regularly. I also love to take part in the NEHL Cross Country season, track and field events, team relays, and of course, meeting some superb people along the way. Nothing gives me more pleasure to sign up for races, gain a new PB, and wear the Elswick vest with pride at being with a such a great club. 

Robyn’s enthusiasm has paid amazing dividends over the last 12 months, as her pace  continues to improve race on race.  It was a wonderful surprise when Robyn volunteered without any prompting to take on the position of Women’s Vice-Captain’s, a role which has not been filled for several years.  She is a welcome addition to the women’s captaincy group who share ideas for team selections and are regular attendees at races filling team places wherever required. 

As one of our few senior age female runners (age 18 – 34), Robyn is keen to recruit new joiners to the club, particularly senior age category male and female runners.  She’s already enlisted her husband Steven and her neighbours as new recruits such is her infectious enthusiasm and art of persuasion.

Leanne Hymers – Committee member.

Leanne joined the committee in November 2019.  She is yet another harrier who discovered running in quite recent years, but has thrown herself into the sport as she describes: “When I entered GNR in 2015, I could not have guessed how much I would enjoy the experience. Encouraged, I joined an online running group before being invited to join EH by a member. Despite being terrified at the prospect of being last, I loved it! Since then I’ve completed many races of varying distances and terrain. My favourite race has to be Kielder.  I run mostly trail events and I have completed a 10k, half marathon and the Dark Skies event (my all-time favourite race). I prefer longer distances rather than short. I find I can pace myself much better 

Frequently injured, I’ve realised that I enjoyed supporting and encouraging newer members who may have the same feelings of doubt about joining a running club that I did. After completing a Leader in Running Fitness (LiRF) course, I now lead a small beginners’ group.  As well as encouraging new members to improve, I’m proud to wear the Elswick vest and am looking forward to taking an active part on the Committee!  

For anyone curious about the “online running group” it was a group called Running Ninjas which organised social runs (real not virtual) which Leanne took part in.  A fellow Running Ninja was Jonny Lowes, a long-time member of Elwsick, sometimes coaching assistant and club photographer, and Iron Man triathlete.   He encouraged Leanne to come to Elswick given that it was her local club and we are so glad that she took his advice, as the club has gained a racer, a LiRF and a new committee member rolled into one.