Meet the committee

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 – Mason Fellows



Welfare Officer and Social Secretary – Ellie Bartram

Hi, I’m Ellie, the Welfare Officer and Social Secretary for Cobra.
I’d say I’ve always been pretty sporty! During my childhood, I did artistic gymnastics at Earls in Halesowen and I also swam for Haden Hill. As for running, I enjoyed sprinting and even dabbled in a bit of long jump.
But when high school came around, I prioritised making new friends and to be frank – homework! So, sports took a back seat.
I picked running back up after my first year of university. I was out walking with my Mum when we realised our favourite cafe (The Fig and Favour) closed an hour earlier than we thought… So we had to run! I ran an entire mile without stopping, thanks to the magical thoughts of coffee and cake.
After that, my mum, Suzanne, who’s a really strong runner (and won’t let me forget her 39 minute 10k!), managed to convince me to run over Clent.  Clent’s never easy but it’s bloomin beautiful.
I run every other day now and I’ve completed half marathons and competed in Man Vs Horse, an amazingly unique race in Wales. I’m also partial to a Parkrun, so I hope they come back soon! My next goal is to smash a 10k race.
I’d be lost without running! And Cobra have truly made it extra special. This may sound cheesy but I feel so alive on Cobra runs. The people are some of the friendliest you’ll ever meet and we’re always exploring new routes.

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.