Chairman – Andy Swindells
Hi, I’m Andy the Club Chair
Back in 2012 I thought I’d take up running as a way to get a little fitter. I downloaded a Couch to 5 K plan from the internet and started to follow the plan. It required me to run for 1 minute and walk for 5 minutes. I couldn’t complete the whole minute, I thought how am I ever going to be able to run 5K? It wasn’t easy, but I stuck with it, made it to a minute, and eventually I could run the whole 5K.
I decided I was enjoying it, so I did a Parkrun. Fantastic events and get to meet like minded people. I knew people who had run half marathons. I thought that sounds impossible, over 13 miles, but I’ll give it a go. So, in 2013 I got round Worcester Half Marathon, it’s a long way but I did it.
So, I thought maybe I’d join a running club. I was worried everyone would be too fast, wouldn’t wait, wouldn’t be friendly. I turned up to Cobra on a Wednesday night and introduced myself and had a great evening and came back the following week.
Since then I’ve completed marathons, including London in 2016, compete in Triathlons and now I even do open water swimming, and more importantly made some great friends.
For the friendliest club with support and encouragement for all abilities Cobra really can’t be beaten.
Secretary – Catherine Smith
Hi, I’m Catherine and I am the Cobra Club Secretary.
After having my gallbladder removed at the end of 2017 I decided that I really needed to sort out my health and so I signed up for the Cobra Couch to 5K. At the first session I made a new running friend and decided that this running lark wasn’t too bad after all – especially if I could talk the whole time I was running! Since then I have done things that I never dreamed were possible….I have run in the cross country league, completed a marathon, started to cycle and finished two sprint triathlons…… but most importantly I have made lots of new running buddies (and I still talk all the way)!
The support and encouragement that I have received from everyone at the club has been totally immense and I would never have even set these goals let alone achieved them. Cobra really are the friendliest running club around – they are welcoming, supportive, encouraging and inclusive. They will answer all of your questions, point you in the right direction and gently nudge you to set yourself some goals…..apparently my next one is open water swimming!!!!
Treasurer – Guy Walton
Hi, I’m Guy, the club’s Treasurer.
I joined Cobra back in 2014. I ran with the club a few times before joining as my father-in-law was already a member and my wife had recently joined after completing Cobra’s Couch to 5km course. I have been the Treasurer since 2018, run Cobra’s Strava group and try my best to keep on top of the website too.
I started running after attending parkrun at Cannon Hill Park in 2012. Since then I haven’t looked back. Joining Cobra allowed me to run with likeminded people and share in the depth of running knowledge that the club has amongst its membership base.
Since joining Cobra I have completed many marathons including New York, Chicago and London and have enjoyed competing for the club in the Midlands Cross Country League each year.
My favourite Cobra sessions are the Summer nights running up in the Clent and Walton Hills.
Welfare Officer and Social Secretary – Ellie Bartram
Committee Member – Neil Hale
Hi, I’m Neil. I am a Club committee member and a coach as well as an active runner, cyclist and swimmer. I regularly lead the Cobra running sessions on a Tuesday and Thursday evening. Fortunately, I have now retired from full time work, although I still do some private work as well as being a trustee of a Charity.
I have been pretty active most of my life, although like many people there was a period in my twenties and thirties when sport took more of a backseat due to work and family commitments. When I was young, I was in a swimming club. Later as a teenager, I took up cycling and raced for several years until I was 21. I was also an active runner at school, winning at district level at 800 and 1500 metres. After this, I largely stopped competing until I was in my late thirties although I was an active hill walker with my wife, and took part in a number of long distance challenge events.
One day, I saw an article for Cobra which was then a relatively new club and I decided to go along. On the first night, I met John Lloyd, one of the original founders and the only one who still regularly runs with the club. Soon after that, I was competing in cross country and other events. In the following year, I joined a number of other club members running as a charity entrant in the London marathon. It was a great experience, although I did slow up in the last six miles. 23 years later, I ran again and prepared and paced myself better. My time was 2 minutes different! I have gone on to run it again since, and am hoping to add a fourth time this year.
Although many Cobra members do compete when possible, I would stress that this is not the main emphasis of Cobra as a club. We aim to be all-inclusive, whatever your level and aims. We always look after our members, and never leave anyone behind on our runs, safety being a priority. I have part organised Couch to 5k courses together with other club members to introduce people to running and develop their fitness. Last but not least, I have made many friends while I have been a member.
Committee Member – Jackie Payne
Hi I’m Jackie and I am a member of the Cobra committee.
I joined Cobra in January 2017 having signed up for the Couch 2 5K programme. I made some lovely friends during the first ten weeks training and because the Cobras are so friendly, I decided to become a fully signed up member.
Since I started running, I have achieved several half marathons and have been part of the ladies Cobra cross country team. I am a keen park runner and also volunteer on Saturday mornings.
You’ll normally see me out on the Wednesday night runs.
Committee Member – Steve Amos
Hi I’m Steve Amos. Long term Cobra member. I’m a general committee member and started running too many years ago! My favourite distance is 1/2 marathon and I have now completed 68 1/2s and 8 full marathons.