Our Coaches

Coach - Emma Geddis

Emma started running in her 30's, usually accompanied by her 2 dogs but her running progressed very quickly after joining Scrabo Striders due to the very focused training sessions and longer weekend runs.

Emma has participated in many 10k races and completed her first half marathon at Larne in March 2017 followed closely by her home town Ards half marathon in June 2017. She is currently in training for the inaugural London Landmarks Half Marathon which takes place in March 2018. This is a very special race to Emma as it will be the first half marathon she runs with her daughter Jasmine who just completed couch to 5k in March 2017.

Completing her LIRF course has enabled Emma to deliver well planned and executed training sessions whilst providing that much needed encouragement and motivation to club members. Emma has also delivered a desk to 5k programme in her work and firmly believes in the sense of well-being running provides.

Coach - Chris Stevenson

Chris started running in 2014 after a shoulder injury put an end to his love for weight training. He started off doing obstacle races competing in the Hell and Back race series before taking on the Tough Mudder race in Dublin in 2014.

After his last Hell and Back event on his 40th Birthday in 2015, he got the Parkrun bug which kicked off his interest in road running and spurred him to have a go at the Dublin Marathon. He joined Scrabo Striders in August 2016, which obviously changed his life, and encouraged him to take part in various race distances from 10k to Half Marathon. That was until...at our first christmas party Chris won the Club ballot for a place in the London Marathon! He represented the club with an outstanding performance completing the iconic 26.2 mile course in 4hours 6 mins.

This has since inspired Chris to participate in 4 Marathons during 2017 (amoungst other half marathons and 10Ks!). Not satisfied with this achievement, 2018 has saw Chris put his limits to the test by tackling the endurance challenge Last One Standing in February at Castle Ward. He completed 9 laps totalling 37.8 miles!

Coach - Lesley Semple

Whilst many members think Lesley is the coach with the military background, she’s not! It just must be her teacher voice! Forever the teacher, Lesley is only too willing to help anyone on their running journey. Just ask!

Lesley joined the Striders in October 2016 after running solo for many years. She can often be found on a Saturday morning completing a Parkrun in the local area. To date her PB for this is 23:09 in Bangor but that has been a distant memory. Her 10km PB is 48:24 run in Comber and Belfast Half Marathon in 1hr 50mins

Lesley's sessions are so informative and run like clockwork, there is no slacking when the teacher's about!

Coach - Johnny Wray

Johnny started running at an early age and was competing in cross country events by the age of 10. His passion as a teenager was football and he transferred his running skills to this sport for many years.  After hanging up his football boots he decided to take up running again and joined the Striders with a view to keeping fit. Regaining his love for running along with his fun, enthusiastic and positive attitude to help and encourage others, motivated him to take on a coaching role at the club.

Johnny completed the Larne Half marathon in 1 hour 48 minutes and has completed numerous 10k events. He enjoys Saturday Parkruns chasing hot on the heels of the front runners. Currently his PB stands at 20.22. His competitive nature drives him forward and he often encourages this to motivate at weekly training sessions.

A regular at Friday night and Sunday morning runs, Johnny encourages all abilities and encompasses the group running, supporting and motivating people to succeed with their own goals.

Since completing his Leadership in Running Fitness Qualification Johnny strives to bring fun, variety and new ideas to his sessions and even a bit of singing!!

Coach - Hannah Robinson

Hannah started running in 2014 with the first session of C25K, graduating in May 2014 running her first parkrun in a time of 40:39. Since graduating she completed her coaching qualification and continues to support 100's of people through the successful C25K progamme.

An inspiration to many, Hannah completed her first 10K race in March 2015 in 1:08:45. In April 2016 she ran Queens 5K in a time of 28:37 over 12 minutes faster than her first 5k! With the support and encouragement of many running friends and family Hannah went on to complete the Larne, Belfast and Newry Half Marathons, before she took on and completed the London Marathon in April 2016. Couch to Marathon - what an amazing achievement!

For those that don't know Hannah, she loves her whistle and regularly opens our training sessions, before helping where needed in the background (with her camera!). We are honoured that Hannah accepted the role as our club Chairperson and feel she is the best person to promote our all 'inclusive' club ethos, provide lots of inspiration and keep things interesting and fun.

Coach - Loraine McCrum

Loraine has been running since she was 18 but usually alone, however since she joined Scrabo Striders her running abilities have gone from strength to strength, this is mainly due to the extra training that she does with the club, and weekend runs on Fridays and Sundays. Loraine has completed many running events with Scrabo Striders from Park Runs, Bangor Aurora 10K, Jimmys 10K, Larne Half Marathon to name a few. Over the next few months Loraine will be taking part in Comber 10K, Lisburn and Ards half marathons, Ards 5 mile challenge, Donaghadee 5K, Bangor 10K and many more in between.

February 2017 saw Loraine complete her LIRF(Leadership in Running & Fitness) course, she believes this qualification has prepared her even more to encourage, be supportive and understand the personal development of the group she is coaching. This new found knowledge means her delivery and execution of each session is of the highest of standards incorporating health and safety followed by a well planned and beneficial session.

You can usually spot Loraine at the club, whether she is marshalling or taking a training sessions she's the one wearing the Hi Viz jacket, has red hair, and will be shouting lots or encouragement whilst having great fun in the process.

Coach - Aaron Bell

Aaron has a talent for bringing out the competitive side of our members and helping us to get the most out of our training sessions. He has worked in the fitness industry for nearly 20 years, holding qualifications in Personal Training and Swimming Coaching. He is passionate about helping people achieve their fitness goals and is excited about the opportunity to encourage local runners.

Aaron started running in 2003, completing his first marathon in Belfast in the same year. Since then he has completed marathons in Paris, Austria & Dublin where he achieved the qualifying time to enter the Boston Marathon which he completed the following year. Although, Running is not Aaron's only passion, he also enjoys competing in triathlons, aquathons and open water swims. In 2007, he undertook his biggest challenge yet, completing the Austrian Ironman, a triathlon consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 cycle followed by a marathon. Wow!

Aaron's achievements have inspiried many of his family to get involved in running and we regularly see them at training. With a young family he now prefers to run at local Parkruns and 10ks whilst continuing to inspire so many people and we are delighted to have him on our coaching team.

Coach - Megan Adams

Megan is a graduate of the initial Comber couch 25k group in 2014. Since then, she has enjoyed running parkrun and currently holds a PB of 25:45. Megan has participated in 5K and 10K races, and completed her first half marathon at Larne, in March 2017.

Having recently completed her Lirf course, Megan is keen to get involved in the club training sessions and help other runners, whatever their ability, become better! She also assists with our Junior coaching sessions and will complete her junior coaching course in September.

Coach - Phillippa Wilson

Phillippa returned to running after a (very) long hiatus in 2012. For a long time she had been one of those who had used the “not built for running” as an excuse, but soon discovered that runners come in all shapes and sizes, and that she really enjoyed it.

In 2012 she completed Bangor 10k in 59:57, and in 2013 managed to drop over 7 minutes to 52:32, and has been improving ever since. Phillippa has run Groomsport, Belfast and Larne Half Marathons, as well as completing Belfast Marathon in 2016.

Since Phillippa has completed her coaching qualification, she has run a Desk to 5k session in her work, as she firmly believes that running is the best way to clear your mind, and is very enthusiastic about encouraging people to get up and running. Phillippa also helps out at Bangor Swimming Club and Bangor Bluefins Special Olympics Aquatics Club.

Coach - Norman Mawhinney

For those who don’t know Norman he can be recognised by always wearing shorts, having a thumbs up pose in any race picture (he's not camera shy!) and shouting words of support “super, fantastic, arms swinging”. A fantastic coach who is so supportive of all the members, Norman is a massive credit to the running community and we're so honoured to have him as our coach.

Norman started running over 7 years ago and has lost an incredible 5 stone! He continues to push himself and achieve amazing results, regularly placing top of his age category. In 2015 Norman ran a sub 3 hour marathon time in Berlin Marathon in 2:59:14 and a month later he ran Dublin Marathon in 3:01:14 in which he achieved top Irish Marathon Runner in his category.

Be aware...Norman's passion and enthusiasm for running is infectious and spreading across the Ards and North Down community.  As well as starting up and growing the highly successful C25K sessions in Comber, Newtownards, Bangor, Holywood, Dundonald and Portaferry, Norman also setup and co-ordinates Comber Park Run. His current Park Run PB stands at 18:09! He was also instrumental in setting up our club and other running clubs around the peninsula.

Coach - Graeme McGowan

Graeme has been running since completing his first Ards Half Marathon in July 2008. It was a struggle to complete but he made it and that was him hooked. He continued on to complete the full pure running half marathon series in 2009 along with Dublin and Belfast marathon.

Graeme hasn't looked back and continues to participate in the pure running half marathon series, motivating many Scrabo Strider members to give it a go. A great motivator within our club, he believes anyone can run if you can find the time to train. Graeme can also be found at the square on a Sunday morning, rain, hail or shine for a long run.