Meet Some of our Members…

We have over 100 members, with a wide range of ages, backgrounds and running ability. We know it can be daunting turning up for the first time to a club where you don’t know anyone, so here are a few of our members…

Allan Meek

Location: Ross on Wye

Occupation: Postman

Favourite Event: London Marathon, PB 3:11:02

About: I started running around 10 years ago when I entered the London Marathon for the ME charity which was very close to my heart. I joined the club 2 years later and soon realised what training was all about. Since then I have run every distance possible and improved over the years, although now I am 50 those days may be over…

Three years ago I started triathlons and did my first Ironman last year

Karen Barratt

Location: Wyesham, Monmouth

Occupation: Accountant

Favourite Event: Half Marathon. PB – still waiting

About: I’ve been a club member since it’s formation and have taken an active role – now club chairperson. I have made some true friends through the club. Running is now a part of my life both socially and for fitness

David Rutter

Age: 66

Location: Llandogo

Occupation: Retired maths teacher (Monmouth Comp).

Favourite event: GLCL Cross Country series (usually about 10km)
Best result: I’m usually last! (But I aim for a 6 min/km pace).

About: Married to Anne, and very proud of our son, our daughter and our four grandchildren.
Other activities: Mountain walking and skiing.

Ambition: To keep going….

Clare Ormiston

Location: Ross on Wye

Occupation: Teaching Assistant

Favourite Event: Parkrun

About: I joined Spirit of Monmouth on their new to running course ‘Couch to 5K’. Having loved my couch for far too long it was time to get active!

The best thing about running is that I can do it any time & anywhere -so it fits into busy working/family life. I run with the club, from home & a Parkrun on a Saturday.

Improvements have come slowly for me. I’ve increased my pace & stamina but I’d say the greatest improvement is in my attitude towards exercise. Friends can’t believe I’m up & out for a 9am Parkrun!

I have a few proudest achievements.  Completing Newport Parkrun with my fellow Couch to 5K colleagues, increasing my Parkrun pace by 7 minutes in 6 months, completing my first 10K within the first 5 months of running & finally running with the Club at a GLCL event.

George Smith

Location: Ross-on-Wye

Occupation: Managing Director of Walford Timber Ltd

Favourite Event: Cardiff Half Marathon (1hr 26mins)

About: I joined SoM running club in 2013 after running the London Marathon for charity. I was worried that my running would fizzle out and stop unless I joined a club, and by coincidence I was sat next to a club member on the train to London, and it was he who told me about Spirit of Monmouth. So, a couple of weeks later I wondered down to the club and gave it a go! I took up running as I could feel I was starting to get out of shape and lazy. I used to row at quite a high level including international representation and I missed the club environment and comradery that came with that, as well as being physically fit. Rowing is massively time consuming and very inflexible in terms of training times etc so it doesn’t really fit in with work and family life. The beauty of running is that you can fit it in around most other things and as long as you have your trainers with you, you can run just about anywhere / anytime. It’s also a great stress reliever and it’s amazing how much better you feel after a run. I’ve made some great friends at the club, and being in that environment has definitely pushed and encouraged me to achieve things I never thought I would. I really enjoy the social aspect of the club too, and the fact that you are meeting up with others definitely motivates you to get out and run on days when ordinarily you probably wouldn’t bother! The club is of a size that that no matter what level you run at there are always people of a similar standard to run with. My wife describes my running as an attempt to get a bit fitter that got completely out of control! Oh well, no going back now!

Emma King

Location: Overmonnow, Monmouth

Occupation: Business Manager

Favourite Event: My favourite race is The Grizzly, it is as tough as it sounds 20 miles of everything you could never want in a race but I love a challenge.

About: Joined club in late 2009 after getting a place to run the London Marathon with the Soldiers’ Charity in April 2010 and couldn’t even run round the block but have since ran 5 marathons with plans to do more.

I am a qualified Coach in Running Fitness and play netball also a Level Two Netball Coach and Umpire currently in the process of up skilling myself in sports management so watch this space.

Martin Blakebrough

Location: Llanishen

Occupation: CEO, Kaleidoscope

Favourite Event: Forest of Dean Parkrun. PB – Manchester Marathon, 3 hours 28 minutes

About: I am CEO of Kaleidoscope, a drug and alcohol charity helping people across Wales and parts of England. Running helps me balance out a busy work life. I also love travelling, having recently taken part in a Parkrun in Poland.

Emma Griffiths

Location: Monmouth

Occupation: ICT Trainer

Favourite Event: Half Marathon, PB 2:11

About: I have been the club secretary. I joined the club in September 2015 after moving into the area last summer.
I am an ICT Trainer for the Forest of Dean District Council.
I’m planning on concentrating on the 10k distance this year and hoping to beat my PB of 59:22.

Iain McCallum

Location: Monmouth

Occupation: Aerospace Engineer

Favourite Event: The Grizzly or Exmoor Stagger (undecided)

About: I love the tougher and longer off-road events. My fast days are far behind me so it’s all about getting muddy whilst going long and tough! Just need to work on the DNFs!

Nicola Allan

Location: Monmouth

Occupation: Education Adviser

Favourite event: 5 miles PB: 48 mins

About: I took up running to improve my health and lose a bit of weight in 2010. I always ran alone until I moved to Monmouth in 2012, I joined the club shortly after. It helped me make lots of friends in a new town. I run and chat in the sub 11 group, the social aspect of running is the best part for me. I also enjoy doing training sessions where we are encouraged to improve our skills and technique; things I would never try alone. My goal is to be fit and healthy. I am training for the Royal Parks half marathon in October this year

Tony Hardy

Location: Monmouth

Occupation: Systems Engineer

Favourite Event: Marathon (!!!) 4:32 PB

About: I’ve been running since 2008 and a Spirit since 2013. My introduction to running was struggling through a few 5/10km runs for charity, but I’ve steadily improved since those early days and I’m currently training for my 5thmarathon (in a 5th different country). Running is my “go to” activity when life gets tough and nothing beats being out on the open road, feeling the wind in what little hair I’ve got left. The club has helped me improve my running through the coached sessions and also just by running with other like-minded souls. I’ve also made a lot of new friends through the club.

My proudest running moment was completing the 2013 Berlin Marathon in 4:32, a race in which Wilson Kipsang broke the world record (I paced him!)

Rob Nelson

Occupation: Part time Landscape Gardener and Stay at Home Dad

Location: Trellech

Favourite Event: Snowdon International Race for which my PB is 1:44:51

About: As a runner I like nothing more than hitting the trails and have completed around 20 Ultra Marathons most of which in the beautiful Brecon Beacons, the longest to date being the 56 mile 4,800m of ascent Brecon 10 Peaks. But I also enjoy shorter fell and trail races which I sometimes use as training for the ultras. I have been a member of Spirit of Monmouth for several years now, something I was reluctant to do at first as being a trail runner and couldn’t see what benefit a road running club would have to me. But after some badgering from some existing friends I joined the club. I found the club extremely friendly and welcoming with a very diverse range of members of differing ages, abilities and interests. After a while it was also apparent that they didn’t mind the odd muddy trail run/race either and to recover in a local pub over a pint or two, nothing wrong there in my opinion. Since training with the club I have increased my pace dramatically and now run in the sub 8 min/mile group. This increased cadence has improved my off-road downhill speed dramatically resulting in a few PB’s in fell races. The club is a big part my running now and through it I have met some wonderful new friends and running buddies with great spirit who inspire me to run further and faster.

Nerys Chaplin

Location: Near Tintern

Occupation: Data Analyst

Favourite Event: Can’t decide – 10km, (PB 46:20) or Cardiff Half Marathon, (1:39:55) or the Forest of Dean half marathon or Rogue Runs’ night race series or the Cotswold Way Relay??

About: I joined Spirit of Monmouth in late 2013 to meet new people, having recently moved to Monmouthshire and, to try to lose weight after having a baby. Everyone was very welcoming. I’ve met loads of brilliant people and since joining have reduced my 10km time by 11 minutes and half-marathon time by 29 minutes!