Helen Brooker ( Club Treasurer/Membership Secretary/UKA Liaison )
Helen has run for as long as she can remember, with a family who encouraged her to join them on the track as soon as she could walk. Throughout her childhood and until her late 20’s she was a keen sprinter for Newbury AC and then Basingstoke and Mid Hants AC. After her first child was born in 2003 she decided to try her hand at longer runs and started out, as many women do, with a 5k Race for Life.
Helen has now completed various race distances from 5k to numerous half marathons as well as a marathon or two! She is one of our Leaders in Running Fitness (LiRF) and her background means she specialises in improving running technique, developing training plans, as well as organising our ‘Sunday Loopers’ group who are big fans of cake and, of course, running.
Helen says “Running has brought me so much throughout my life, great friends and fitness. Above all running is the best therapy anyone could have; it’s definitely the best cure for stress I have found. HWR has given me the chance to not only improve my own running, have fun but also share the enthusiasm I have for running”
; it’s definitely the best cure for stress I have found. HWR has given me the chance to not only improve my own running, have fun but also share the enthusiasm I have for running”
Graham Collins ( Club Social Secretary )
Graham started running in 2012 after being inspired by friends running the first Basingstoke Half Marathon in 2011. He then reached a point where he didn’t know how to improve his training and race times. There would be times where he would spend longer researching interesting training sessions on the web than he actually spent running!
That was when decided to join Hatch Warren Runners 2013, within the first year of the club being formed and was charmed by the friendliness of everyone he met. He says it was simply one of the best decisions he has made and with the support of HWR, his race times have exceeded his expectations. It has taken him on to new levels in completing 6 marathons and taking part great events such as Endure 24.
The support of an HWR club run, especially on cold, rainy winter nights, is what gets him out and keeps Graham running.
Graham joins the committee as our new Social Secretary in 2017 and says he is looking forward to helping the club grow.
Andy Meek ( Male Welfare Officer )
Andy watched his wife Caroline run the Fleet Half Marathon in 2009 and began to wonder if he could ever do the same! So, in 2010 he signed up for his first half marathon and armed himself with a 12 week training programme courtesy of the World Wide Web! Andy progressed from being able to run for no more than a minute to completing his first half marathon without stopping!
He then got the ‘bug’ and joined Hatch Warren Runners a couple of months after it was founded, in the summer of 2013, after spotting an article in the local news magazine ‘The Rabbiter’. Andy has watched HWR develop and grow over the years into the all-inclusive club it is today and has made great friends and had some great laughs!
Since then he’s run around a dozen half marathons and completed his first marathon in Brighton in 2017. He has also taken up trail running, and is participating in Endure 24 for the 4th time this summer.
Andy hopes that by being part of the committee he can help support the club to continue to grow and evolve, but most importantly maintain the togetherness culture that has been formed where no matter what your pace is, everyone is welcome.
Nik Bryan ( Running Advisor/Coaching Support )
In 1997 Nik watched a marathon on TV and decided to see what all the fuss was about. He started training and dieting hard and ran in a marathon the following year. Training went reasonably well, but not as good as it could have been, so he subsequently qualified as a Personal Trainer and Sports Therapist in order to learn how to do it properly. More importantly, it also enabled him to share his knowledge and avoid the issues he had encountered in his own training. Since then he has led and coached running groups and training sessions for a well-established running club on the south coast and is now a valuable member of the club coaching team. Nik is also a long-standing UKA Leader in Running Fitness coach (LiRF).
Nik joined Hatch Warren Runners over 4 years ago having tried other clubs in the area. The overwhelming and infectious enthusiasm and boundless energy displayed by all the members (and the fact that their meeting place was a pub!) made HWR the best club for him. And it still is!
Sharon Bryan ( Club Chair/Race Director/PR & Communications )
Sharon began running in her mid-forties, having never previously been sporty at all. Within a year she had completed her first half marathon and has since completed 5 marathons (including two trail) and dozens of other events, both on and off- road.
Having had about 8 months off from regular running in 2013 and moving house twice, Sharon discovered Hatch Warren Runners about 6 months after its inception and has never looked back. Her own enthusiasm for running was totally rekindled by the friendly and welcoming attitude of all the members she encountered and many of whom have become close and wonderful friends. Sharon especially loved the fact that the club is so community focused and inclusive, and offers support to all runners, no matter what their pace or goal.
Sharon has also benefitted from gaining the Leader in Running Fitness qualification (LiRF) funded by HWR.
She has recently taken over the role of Chair and was also responsible for the launch of HWR’s inaugural club race, The Farleigh Wallop Trail Race in September 2016. The 2017 event was another HWR team success having had 100% positive feedback reviews by participants. She also looks after the club’s PR and communications with the help of the club’s strong and enthusiastic committee ‘team’.
Claire Esslemont ( Female Welfare Officer/’On-Boarding’ )
Claire joined HWR in January 2014, mainly to try and improve her fitness levels and be able to keep up with her family on their annual skiing holidays. The running definitely helped and she now enjoys the whole day, catching the last chair lift back with them, instead of sneaking back to the apartment for a rest after lunch. Funnily enough, Claire always found enough energy for the ‘apres-ski’! HWR has always made her feel very, very welcome and she has never looked back.
Soon after Claire found herself attending every club run, every week, so it seemed a natural progression to step up and become a run leader. The club then funded her UKA LiRF (Leader in Running Fitness) coaching qualification.
Claire’s favourite distance is 10k, although she has achieved a few 10 milers and 2 half marathons. She particularly likes the team endurance events and cross country races and tends to choose events that have a fun element to them, rather than always aiming for a race, personal best.
Claire joined the committee for Basingstoke Junior parkrun when it launched in September 2016, which she finds very rewarding, watching the confidence grow of our younger generations, whether they be running, jogging or walking.
She also really enjoys the ‘social’ aspect of running. All ability runs are Claire’s firm favourite, as they mean that she gets to meet and run with the majority of the club members, rather than just similar paced people. This, she believes, will be invaluable in her role of Female Welfare Officer and ‘On Boarding’ on the HWR committee.
Darrel May ( Coaching Support & Race Director for 2019 )
Darrel’s running journey started way back in the 1980’s when Coe, Ovett and Cram were still dominating the middle-distance world and the UK owned every track world record from 800 metres to the mile. In those days Darrel believed he could be the next Steve Ovett! Maybe not, but he definitely puts it down to him as to why he started running in the first place! Since then running has been part of his life in all capacities, from personal to work.
His first taste of club Athletics started with Reading AC and later took him to Basingstoke & Mid Hants before finally choosing Hatch Warren Runners to continue his journey through his veteran years! He has had the privilege of working with some very knowledgeable coaches over the years which saw him spend time under the guidance of former London Marathon winner Mike Gratton as well as taking part in warm weather training camps, working with BMC founder Frank Horwill.
Darrel has competed at a relatively high level achieving multiple Berkshire County titles back in the day over distances of Cross Country, Steeplechase, 5k and the half Marathon. He finished 10th in the Reading Half Marathon back in 2004; represented the South of England for 10k in 2006 and was ranked within the top 60 cross country runners in the country through the mid part of the last decade.
Darrel says: “One thing I love about the running world is that you can cross paths with the very best, whether it be from a training perspective or lacing up your spikes and standing on a mud filled start line at the National Cross Country Champs you still get the same sense of spirit and support.”
Since joining Hatch Warren Runners in 2017 Darrel says he has seen a totally different side to running – the fun, friendly and community feel that is at the very heart of this club, and now, since joining the committee Darrel is busily passing on some of his wealth of experience, which he says, “has been an absolute joy!”
Jay Smith ( Male Welfare Officer/’On-Boarding’/Club Kit Manager )
Jay joined Hatch Warren runners in 2013 when he was just about able to run 5k. Since then he has completed numerous 5k, 10k as well as a dozen or more half marathons. Jay has a particular fondness for muddy, obstacle runs and can often be found in a bog or puddle asking fellow participants what possessed him…..
Jay also gained a UKA Leader in Running Fitness (LiRF) coaching qualification thanks to the club and this he says, has influenced his own running and allowed him to go on to help lead successful couch to 5k courses, and three 5-10k courses, totalling over 80 runners graduating the courses. Jay joined the committee in June 2015 and enjoys being involved in the overall organisation of the club and brings a dry and healthy sense of humour to the club team! He also looks after the ordering and design of all the HWR club kit, which is no small task.
Lisa Dunkerley ( Treasury support )
Lisa’s running journey began back in September 2014 with Hatch Warren Runners at the age of 46. Her husband had been a member for a few months and managed to talk her into ‘getting fit’, after not having done any form of exercise for 20 years!
In her teens Lisa was an avid sportswoman and threw the javelin for Cambridge & Coleridge Athletics Club under 16s and also played Badminton for her county. She also represented her school at hockey, netball, tennis, javelin, hurdles and 400 metres. Lisa continued to participate in these sports throughout her Royal Air Force career. Running didn’t feature in her younger days and she never felt she was built to be a runner.
Back to Sep 2014 – Lisa joined the 9 week ‘Couch to 5k’ course with Hatch Warren Runners. The first couple of weeks seemed to be okay, but as the distance increased, it was not easy. However, Lisa completed the 9 weeks and graduated in Dec 14 having run the first 5k in her life. She never imagined she would ever be able to do this, but with the support of HWR and determination she got there. Lisa swore to her husband that 5k was it! She was never going to run further. How wrong was she?
In Jan 15 she increased her distance to 4 miles and began to believe she could run further. In Oct 15 Lisa ran her first Half Marathon, followed by her second one 6 weeks later, a distance that was only ever in her dreams. Lisa says. ”None of this would have been possible without the help and support of HWR and the dedication of the members”.