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Our Committee

A bit about us ...

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Steve Morris

Late Club Life President

Sadly the co-Founder and Life President of Desford Striders passed away on February 10th 2023. Steve will always be remembered - he was loved by everyone that knew him and leaves behind a wonderful legacy.

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Andy Ball

Club Chairman

How long have you been a Strider?

I joined the club in 1998.

How long have you been running and why did you start? 

Think it was 1997 when I started running, and Steve Morris got me to enter the Desford 1/4 marathon. I think I got to 2 miles before I started to walk and it was a big struggle to finish. I got there and the rest is history, as they say!

What's your favourite pre-race snack? 

Usually have a bowl of porridge.

Tell us a non-running related fact about you?

I went to my mates wedding in Scotland, way back in the 90s and his wife-to-be used to go school with the members of Wet Wet Wet. So they were at the wedding and they suddenly got up, to start singing some of their songs. We ended up drinking with them until 5am on the Sunday, then joined them again Sunday lunchtime for another session. We ended up missing our train home, and work the next day. But boy was it worth it!

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Sarah Ball

Club Vice President

How long have you been a Strider?

I joined in 2012.

How long have you been running and why did you start?

Since 2011, I started as I'd worked hard to lose 4 stone and I hoped it would be a good way to keep that weight off!

What's your favourite pre-race snack?

I get nervous before a race so I avoid food, but I always more than make up for it when I've finished!

Tell us a non-running fact about you? 

My Aunt is a Dame, so her birthday is printed in The Times every year!

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Ian Birnie

Vice Chair

How long have you been a Strider?

I joined the Striders mid-September 2021 after speaking to a couple I met running around Thornton Reservoir. I had been thinking of joining a Club but never thought I was good enough...

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ow long have you been running and why did you start?

I've been running about 8 years, and did my first BPR in Feb 2015. I started for health reasons and feel all the better for it.


What's your favourite pre-race snack?

I try not to eat too much before a race, maybe just a banana, but increase my intake a few days before a big race.


Tell us a non-running related fact about you?

I retired in December 2019 and wanted to give something back so, in 2018 prior to retiring, I applied to be a volunteer Blood Biker with the Leicestershire and Rutland Blood Bikers. It's a really rewarding role, I like covering night shifts, 12hrs on a bike, what's not to like? Last year we won The Queens Award for Charity.

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Chris Churcher

Club Secretary

How long have you been a Strider? 

I joined in June 2022.

How long have you been running and why did you start? 

I have run for a few years on and off, but always used to run on my own. I ran my first half marathon in 2014 at the Leicester Half.

What's your favourite pre-race snack? 

Nothing too out there, maybe just a bowl of porridge with a banana in it and a coffee.

Tell us a non-running related fact about you?   

I Used to work for a ghost hunting company a few years ago, where we took members of the public round old scary buildings. I have seen a lot of strange things that I can't explain!

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Vicky Keenan

Club Treasurer

How long have you been a Strider?

Since 2017.

How long have you been running and why did you start?

From when I became a Strider in 2017.

What's your favourite pre-race snack?

Porridge and berries.

Tell us a non-running fact about you?

My dog weighs more than I do!

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Graham Hobbs

Club Membership Secretary and Men's Captain

How long have you been a Strider?  

Joined June 1999.

How long have you been running and why did you start? 

First race was the South Wigston 7 (from the Fire Station) in June 1984.

What's your favourite pre-race/run snack? 

Nothing in particular, would depend on distance - porridge (marathon) and banana (anything shorter).

Tell us a non-running related fact about you?   

Would say that I've just become a self-employed decorator but that would be shameless advertising! Failing that I can't think of anything, other than being desperate to play the guitar, piano or drums. A very frustrated musician inside me!

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Cheryl Tonks

Captain & Run Leader

How long have you been a Strider?

About 8 years, I think.

How long have you been running and why did you start?

8 years - I did a couple of ParkRuns then decided, with my brother, I wanted to do a ‘before we’re 40’ challenge so booked the Milton Keynes Marathon. I crossed the finish line and swore I was never going to run ever again, then joined Striders about 2 weeks later!

What's your favourite pre-race snack?

Marie Hobbs’ ‘fairy dust’ cake, or chocolate flapjacks.

Tell us a non-running fact about you?

The actress Jenny Agutter presented me with a ‘bravest fundraiser’ award after I’d abseiled off the Brian Clough Stand at Nottingham Forest Football Club. I hate heights!

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Amy Miller

Vice-Captain and Run Leader

How long have you been a Strider?

I joined Striders in 2016 after doing Couch to 5K.

How long have you been running and why did you start?

I’ve probably been running since about 2011 on and off. I was too scared to join a club as I thought everyone would be super speedy, so I did Couch to 5K as a way to get into the club and haven’t looked back since!

What's your favourite pre race snack?

Normally porridge and banana before a race.

Tell us a non running fact about you?

I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie at heart. I’ve done skydiving, bungee jumping, white-water rafting, an aerobic stunt flight, walked over Sydney Harbour Bridge and done the zip wire down the old strip in Vegas. I’ve calmed down a bit since having kids, so just get my kicks from running now!

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Arlene Heeley

Charity Officer

How long have you been a Strider?

I joined after I was signed up for the Striders' first C25k with hubby Stewart.

How long have you been running and why did you start?

About 20 years ago I used to run/jog with a neighbour around the village and we'd end up in The Lancaster pub for a glass of wine after! I also did a few 5k Race for Life runs. 

What's your favourite pre-race snack? 

Has to be a banana 🍌

Tell us a non-running related fact about you?

When I was at University, I was President of the Mature Students Society. I took part in several demonstrations and overnight library sit-ins. I was very good with a loudhailer!


One of the most unforgettable national demos I went on was in London in the late 80s. The tension was very high and we were charged at by the police on horses - very frightening!

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Stewart Heeley

Publicity Officer, Website Coordinator & Run Leader

How long have you been a Strider?

I joined in March 2016.

How long have you been running and why did you start?

I was cajoled into doing the very first Striders Couch to 5K programme back in January 2016 by my wife and stepdaughter, having not done any running since I was at school! Much to my surprise I loved it and haven't looked back since.

What's your favourite pre-race snack? 

Eating before races is difficult for me as I'm diabetic but, usually, a bowl of steaming hot porridge a couple of hours before sets me up nicely.

Tell us a non-running related fact about you?

I used to be a sports journalist and was once flatly refused an interview request by a very rude and uncooperative Sally Gunnell!

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Carla Crane 

Race Coordinator 

How long have you been a Strider?

I joined in 2013 when I moved to the area. I didn't think I was good enough but as I live in a tiny village with not many foot paths it was the only way I was going to get out running on dark winter nights.


How long have you been running and why did you start?

I think I started in about 2008 when I was very overweight and very skint so couldn't afford to join a gym.


What's your favourite pre race/run snack? 

Pre race its always weetabix, post run I love peanut butter and banana on toast.


Tell us a none running related fact about you.

After having my son in 2018 I qualified as a pre and postnatal fitness instructor.  

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Paddy Crowe

Committee Member

How long have you been a Strider?

I started running in about 1994 when I realised I was getting too old for football and squash.

How long have you been running and why did you start?    

I met Steve Morris who persuaded me to join the Striders and I have been a member ever since.


What's your favourite pre race snack? 

Weetabix with muesli and a banana.

Tell us a non running fact about you? 

Away from running, I am a volunteer for the Youth Offending Service which I find very rewarding. 

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Simon Clough

Committee member

How long have you been a Strider?

Since September 2022. I used to see Striders running around Thornton Reservoir and Desford. When my daughter started Cubs at SiD I saw Striders were based there, so I signed up! I’ve loved every minute since!


How long have you been running and why did you start?

I got back into running in 2022, when I realised I was getting any younger or fitter! Before that, I had run a lot at school, but then switched to mountain biking and cycling for the next 10 years! More recently (until I joined Striders) I’ve just done ad-hoc running, such as the odd marathon or other events for charity, and plodding solo round Thornton Reservoir. Joining Striders has made me really enjoy both the social and competitive side of running.


What’s your favourite pre-race snack?

Slice of toast with strawberry jam. Washed down with a bucket of coffee. Not my favourite, but it doesn’t make me sick in the race so I stick to it!


Tell us a non-running fact about you

I like to dive in to random challenges with little or no prep. I was in San Diego once and had a few hours to spare, so I drove out to a local skydive club, ‘learnt’ to skydive in the morning and did a solo jump! In 2010 I trained-for and ran the New York Marathon, climbed Mont Blanc and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in the space of three months, all for charity. I’ll give pretty much anything a go!

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Adam Mills

Committee member

How long have you been a Strider?

We only moved to the area in the summer of 2022 from Buckinghamshire. My wife found the Striders page on Facebook in June 2023 and encouraged me to join immediately. I think to get me out of the house and give her some peace! 


How long have you been running and why did you start? 

I am a former rugby player, so running was normally only part of gruelling fitness sessions. When I stopped playing, I slowly started to enjoy running as a way to keep fit. Then 2019 I started to run more regularly. 


What's your favourite pre-race snack? 

I don’t like to eat to close to a race, so it’s normally porridge or cereal two to three hours before. Then a turq energy gel (Cherry Bakewell is my favourite) just before the start.

Tell us a non-running fact about you

In a former life I was a dyslexic PE teacher, now I run one of the largest bookshops in the country….. how ironic! 

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Catherine Cox

Committee Member

How long have you been a Strider?

I joined Striders in 2023 after graduating with the Couch to 5K.

How long have you been running and why did you start?

Please see my answer above for how long I have been running for! I attempted a ParkRun at the end of 2022 after being persuaded by my daughter to give it a go and then saw the Striders ad in the Markfield Herald for the C25K starting January 2023. Wish I had started running years ago!

What's your favourite pre-race snack?

It used to be rice porridge (which is gluten-free) plus a banana but, unfortunately, the company that made the rice flakes has disappeared so now it's a bit random!

Tell us a non-running fact about you

I play the piano and the flute/piccolo, but not nearly as well as I used to. I'm also looking for a teacher to teach me French horn or trombone as, when the kids left home, they left them 'temporarily ' at our house!

The Committee: Meet the Team
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