Club Members Bio's / Stories

Paul Mason

I started running back in 2012 when I was persuaded by a friend to run the Newport Half marathon. Since then I have run about 20 half marathons, 3 Marathons and in 2019 I completed my first ultra marathon. Running has brought so many amazing people into my life and I look forward to meeting many more :) Here's to many more years of running :) 

Keren Beard

I ran race for life and did my first ever run (never done anything in my life) in 27.5 mins and people said it was good so the next year tried again and got the same time. The next year I thought I'll do it but I'll train this time and I started park run, pushed and pushed getting better and better times and my achilies went so I couldn't do race for life but I'd got the bug. Started running more then took months to get to 10k then weeks after ran my first half what a shock that was. Not long after joined Griff as I wanted to get better and that was it, I have an amazing bunch of new friends my life has changed in so many ways and I just could not imagine it without running in it.... What on earth would I do i love it 

Lena Evans

 I started running in Feb 2015 with the first Cwmbran C25k. I just wanted to get fit and be healthy. Along the way I’ve met some incredible people who have inspired, motivated and pushed me. I did couch to marathon in 20months. To date I’ve completed 2 marathons and 6 half marathons. I’m now in training for London Marathon to show Cancer it will not beat me. I run for fun. I’m not fast but I try. #shebelievedshecouldsoshedid 💕


Marc Cross

I started Cwmbran C25K back in August 2018 having done nothing fitness wise previously. I started running for health reasons due to liver issues and hypothyroidism which some days can leave me drained. Running gives me the outlet I need to recharge and feel good. I have met some amazing and inspiring people at club that motivate me each day.  I'm a Leader in Running Fitness and live and breath the ethos that is Griffithstown Harriers.  

Nicola Allford

Nearly 4 years ago i was unwell, my GP arranged some tests. Whilst waiting for my results I started running to get fit, so that if I did have a long term illness being fitter would help. Fortunately all investigations were normal. I then got the running bug, got my husband running and have now completed 2 half marathons and 2 full marathons and lots of 10k races. For the last marathon my husband and I crossed the line together holding hands. I give my children my medals and say to them that who would of thought that I could run a marathon and that if you set your mind to it, you can achieve anything that you want to xx 

Samantha Walker

Started running at the age of 8 with cwmbran harriers, spent many years competing track and crosscountry for south east wales ect. I made the most out of my running career at the time, constantly training and racing. Then Two very special people of the club sadly passed away, lost my confidence and stopped completely at 15. Few years after that i tried to get back into it on my own and noticed a problem with my knee. I was told i could never run again! after surgery i lost my confidence even more. I was in a bad place in january put alot of weight on, if it wasn’t for Nikki and paul convincing me to join griff i wouldn't be where i am today. I will never be the athlete i used to be however griff has given me the confidence, just to get out of the house, have a laugh and meet new people 

Shaun Styles

Joined Griff in the summer of 2015 just to keep fit ready for the next football season to start. Found that I actually enjoyed running with the guys a lot more and I liked the competitive nature of competing in races and our leisure leagues. I'm not one for completing marathons but since I found trail and fell running I can't get enough of the hills and just love spending countless hours/days running up in the hills getting some fresh air and seeing some amazing scenery. 

Frances Brennan-Davies

I started running in April 2016 when I joined the Griff C25k programme. I was never particularly sporty in school & certainty not a gym bunny, so I didn't hold out much hope 😂 but to my surprise I completely the programme, met some lovely people who then spurred me on to join the club. I lost my mam in 2018 & found that running massively helped with my grief and continues to do so. I recently completed my first half marathon which I would not have done without the massive support from my running buddy, making the first step was the best decision I made! 

Mark Robins

I started running regularly in 1991 when working in Cheltenham as extra training while my main sport was rugby. When i moved back in 1995 i joined Griff to keep the running going (and the great social life which comes with it) whilst i continued playing rugby for New Panteg. For the last 24 years have just kept on enjoying running and socialising with such great friends 

Allison Hughes

It started In October 2017 with all the hype of Cardiff Half Marathon. I said to myself 'I am going to do that next year.' I subsequently joined Griffithstown Harriers. I completed quite a few 10ks in 2018, 2 half marathons (finding out I had signed up for Port Talbot the day before I did it 🤣🤣, that's another story!!!) and qualified as a run leader for C25K which I loved because I found supporting others so gratifying, and seeing others progress was amazing.

In 2019 I started running more to improve myself and I feel great. My pace has improved, my fitness too, I have lost weight and I am starting to feel more confident. I have completed many more 10ks and another 5 half marathons, a few trail runs too which I have found I love.

Signed up for my 1st marathon - ABP Newport in 2020.

I have just come back from Palma with the G Units where I did the half marathon. I had a fab time getting to know everyone better. The camaraderie was brilliant.

I cannot put into words how overwhelmed I am to see how far I have come, more importantly the wonderful 'friends for life' I have met, and to be part of this club.

Running is my therapy.

#livingmybestlife. ❤ 

Cath Edwards

I started running after the sudden death of my brother in 2015. It helped me cope mentally and helped me keep fit. I used to write forged notes from my mother to excuse me from PE in school 😂The biggest thanks go to Catherine and Andrew for c25k and for the most amazing friends I have made and they are for life. ❤️ I never thought I would get further than a parkrun but I’ve managed 3 marathons since 💪🏃‍♀️X 

Nikki Hancox

It has always been a dream of mine to run London marathon & I applied many, many times but always received a commiserations letter or e-mail.

I gave up on this dream in 2005 after my kidneys failed & I started dialysis. 2 years later I received a successful kidney transplant & yet, still believed I would never be strong enough to run a marathon. One day my mindset changed & I though ‘why can’t I run a marathon?’

I joined Griffithstown Harriers 2 years ago, only being able to run 5K, this year I ran Newport marathon, and next year I’m running London Marathon for Kidney Care UK charity. I’ve made some amazing friends for life by joining Griffithstown Harriers 💕💕 

Colin Wilmott

I have always enjoyed running but after leaving school only ran to keep fit for rugby which I played into my 40s.

I lost my wife to breast cancer when I was 50. This had a devastating effect on me. Also, I was overweight and out of shape and needed to do something about it. Initially I took up long distance hill trekking, doing lots of walks in the UK and Everest Base Camp, Aconcugua, Kilimanjaro and others raising money for charity. I often found myself running in the hills as I got fitter so decided in 2010 to do my first Cardiff Half Marathon. That led on to Dublin Marathon in 2011. After Dublin I joined Griff and haven't looked back since. I love the social side of the club but I am also very competitive and the chance to race in the league for the club and improve as a runner is what drives me on. I am in my 60s now but still feel I am improving as a runner which just proves it is never too late to start. And you couldn't wish for a better place than Griff to run. 

Barrie Parham

I was inspired to start running in 1981 when I watched the first London marathon on TV. I entered and completed the first Cardiff Marathon that year, see if you can spot me on the photo? I’m number 2682 with dark hair and a moustache! The following year I wanted to join a running club and I heard that there was one starting up in Griffithstown where I lived. I went along to the inaugural meeting in the Hanbury Hotel and joined the club and I’ve been a member ever since. In the early days we used to run from the green grocers shop in Griff. 

Andrew Spencer

I think I have been running since I was in primary school. I run because as the saying goes "Nothing is Impossible" and it is something everyone can achieve. I just love the sense of achievement when you finish a run or event. I joined Griff back in 1994 in order to train to do the London marathon. Thought I would do that and then retire and go to just running back around the block. Somehow got bitten by the bug and have done 28 marathons, one triathlon (Tenby LCW) and goodness knows how many other races of various distances (well into the hundreds). I love the camaraderie of other runners and have met so many wonderful people. Having qualified as a fully licensed UK Athletics coach and it's great to be able to train others and give something back and see the progression others make. 

Natalie Meyrick

 I started running at age 11 once I started high school, I was always told I was a natural at long distance running, I then stopped once I finished high school.

I then done my first run at the Cardiff kidney foundation 10k in 2013 and from there done little runs but nothing more.

In 2016 I joined Griffithstown Harriers, since joining I have run many 10k races and 3 half marathons, and looking to further my running by doing a marathon in the next year.

I also do a lot of buggy running and park runs with my little boy, and completed a 5 mile race with him this year.

Running has changed my life for the better I have made lots of lovely running friends and it helps me with mentally and physically. 

Mark Burchell

Played football on and off for years but had to stop because of a back injury that just wouldn’t go away. Then after going through a bad patch in life and then losing both parents within a few years, i was completely lost so I decided to get back out for a few runs to ‘clear my head’ and used to spend hours just wandering around the local hills and mountains. Met Nat who then persuaded me to join her @griff harriers where I’ve taken my running to the next level. Can honestly say that joining the club has been one of the best choices I’ve ever made. It’s helped me with my mental health, helped me regain my focus and direction, and I’ve met some great people along the way aswell 👍🏻🏃🏼‍♂️🏅🍺 

Elizabeth Stokes

I started running regularly when I got into the London marathon, my first race. I had no clue about running, was shocked to find I was already classed as a veteran and didn't realise it would have been sensible to start with a shorter distance. I frequently got lost on training runs (one way to up my mileage!) and only told people I was running it a fortnight before. I surprised everyone, myself included, by finishing it and by loving every step.

My running history nearly ended the following year when I dislocated my knee - a rugby rather than a running injury - I celebrated Wales beating England a little too hard! It was really hard to start again from scratch. Joining Griff helped me give my running focus. I was really nervous at first but found I loved the club ethos - no one was left behind on a run, everyone was welcome and everyone's achievements were celebrated be it in a training run or race. Griff gave my training better structure (who would do hills and sprints on their own?), and boosted my running confidence. Running with Griff means I've now completed 13 marathons, and returned to London as a good for age entrant knocking half an hour off my time. I remain geographically challenged but Griff runners do their best to make sure I don't get lost too often.

During my first year of running, I sadly lost both parents. Running gave me much needed structure when my world fell apart. Training schedules ensured I got up and got out, running camaraderie allowed me to enjoy the company of others without having to say a word (too busy breathing and staying upright!) and most importantly, running taught me that you just have to take the next step to keep going. 

Wendy Hiscocks

 I started running at the age of 47! My daughter moved out and I needed to fill the gap as I had empty nest syndrome. I couldn't even run 1 minute back then but I joined a local running group (Easy Pacers) and met some fab friends who helped me on my running journey. I then qualified as a run leader (LIRF) and challenged myself to a few 10ks! I joined Griff this year as I entered a half marathon and needed more support and advice along with more runs! I have also done over 50 parkruns. The half was a few weeks ago and tomorrow I will be representing Griff in my 1st XC race! Proud to be part of Griff and have made many more friends through it! X