New Interim Chairman
Mel Christodoulou after running the London Marathon

Following Gemma Jeffrey’s decision to step down, Mel Christodoulou has taken over as Interim Chairman. Here is a letter from her to the club membership:

Dear Members,

Thank you for accepting me as your interim Chairman until the AGM later this year. By way of background, I originally started the Harriers as a social member in 2013 and then as a full member from 2014. I was elected onto the Committee in 2015 as a Runners Rep and then in 2016, I became the Press Officer and editor of the Harriers Newsletter. I stepped down from editing the newsletter in 2020, when Thomas Hooley kindly took over.

From a young age, I always grabbed my Asics Gel Kayano (which embarrassingly lasted me 8 years) and went out for a short run (hence the longevity of the trainer!).  Back then, running 2 miles twice a week was a big thing to me – little did I know that distance was merely the warm-up at the Harriers training evening!  My first run at the club was a Tuesday Rheims Way session – arriving out of breath at Rheims Way, I remember saying to Yiannis (my husband) “is that it now, do we run back?” laughing away, Yiannis informed me that was the warm-up and we still had the session to do!  But that session didn’t put me off from running – in fact running with other Harriers actually put my mind off the run and I had managed to run 4 reps.  The friendly and personal nature of the Harriers, including the speedy lot who would lap me but still say “keep going, well done!” made me want to come back, as it felt welcoming. 

Fast forward to today, where I have managed to run the London Marathon (best race ever) and countless Park Runs, 5Ks, 10Ks and Half Marathon’s, I am proud with how far I have come with running, as I wasn’t fast to begin with (nor am I now) and I must admit, I am a fair-weather runner.  But with Covid, the pandemic has made me realise how much I really relied upon the Harriers and my pre-Covid weekly routine of Tuesday and Thursday sessions; the ability to catch-up with fellow Harriers whilst keeping fit.  

Having had the time to reflect on the positive impact the club has had on my wellbeing over lockdown, I had decided to run for Chairman at the 2021 AGM when Gemma mentioned she would be stepping-down.  All the past Chairmen/women have managed to make improvements to the club with the members’ best interests at heart – I hope I can do the same for you with my ambitions for the club.

With that in mind, the main aims I have are as follows:

  1. To get us all back running as a club as the lessening of lockdown allows;
  2. To support a successful Whitstable 10K race and to report back to members afterwards;
  3. Chairman’s fortnightly email to club members;
  4. To encourage more social events – be it virtual or face-to-face; and
  5. Update club documentation – forms, policies and committee roles

Thank you for your support and I look forward to seeing you at training!

Kind regards

Mel Christodoulou 

Interim Chairman