Our Team

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 Chair / Club Kit Manager )

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.

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.

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!”

Nicola Lawrence ( Social Secretary )

Nicola joined the club in June 2013 and previous to this had done the odd 5K, Grim challenge and a Great South. She would definitely describe herself as not a natural runner and was usually much more at home running round a netball court! Since joining the club she has done around 10 half marathons, a couple more Great South’s, 2 Marathons and the 24 hour relay Endure 24 5 years in a row. Vowing after each one that she will never do it again……. I guess they’re like childbirth……….

“Through the club I’ve met many amazing inspirational people who are now lifelong friends. I would never have believed I could do half the stuff I’ve done without the support of the club, I certainly wouldn’t be getting up in the wind and rain to go for a run on my own, being part of the club makes you go even when you don’t feel like it!”

Nicola joined the committee in 2018 as Social Secretary due to her love of gin.

Verena Hutcheson ( PR and New Member Support )

Verena (Vee) joined Hatch Warren Runners in autumn 2017 after having run for a few months over the spring/summer and realising that, as the nights got darker, evening running was much safer in numbers! Plus realising that running in numbers is far, far more motivating and rewarding than going out alone!

Since joining HWR she has completed 10k, 10 mile races and half marathons and is looking to progress and train towards further distances in the near future.

Vee says “For me, being part of the club is all about having company on runs, training to be fitter and stronger and looking for that next ‘mini goal’ whether that’s an additional run a week; a regular morning track session; a faster parkrun time or striving for a distance that I’ve never achieved before. The club has enabled me to achieve running goals I’d never have thought were possible and I am so thankful that I signed up to be part of it. Now I’m hoping to support with moving the club forward as part of the HWR Committee team.”

Vee writes The Rabbiter article for HWR each month, does the mini Hatchie parkrun report each week and is looking forward to new PR projects and supporting new club members when they on-board with clublife at HWR.

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