Belinda Issell Heafield
Traralgon Harriers President 1996
I have been involved with Traralgon Harriers since 1992, about twenty five years. I had a marriage breakup and with three young children in tow, I thought that I needed to do something for myself to keep fit and the weight down. I noticed an ad in the local paper about harrier’s regular runs and started with a 5km run on a very hot Thursday night. Despite thinking I can’t do this, two runners encouraged me all the way round and from then on I was hooked. I would drag my kids to harriers and also to many regional fun runs.
The friendly atmosphere and encouragement over the years has made Traralgon Harriers a big part of my life. I remember one of my first volunteer roles was helping out at the marathon and so for many years helped with timing which was all done by hand! My working life was as an administration and finance manager so was asked to step up and help on the executive. I had already been involved in many committees so always enjoyed being part of the working group. I was elected President in 1996 and was the first woman to do so. I also was secretary in 2008/09 and treasurer 1997/98/99 and again in 2001/02/03, also serving on the executive in other roles, sub committees and newsletter editor for a few years.
As a jogger and with help from my fellow harriers and our coach at the time, Laurie Edmondstone, I managed to run my first and only marathon in Melbourne in 1996 at age 43 with a time of 3hrs 45 mins. After that I ran many half marathons, at least they were easier to train for, including the AV yearly events. Various other PB’s of 20.18 for 5km, 25.11 for 6km, 43.33 for 10km, Mt Tassie in 2h 55m, all over 40 years of age, a slow starter! There have been many events over the years that really stand out – Coburg 24hr, Four Peaks at Bright, Great Wall of China Marathon, Sydney City to Surf, Mt Baw Baw Trail Run and many others including Melbourne Marathon and various Fun Runs all over the country. Each of these events were always exciting, tiring but so much fun with different groups of people. Ian and I also instigated the Community Fun Run in 1999, how amazing to see how big this event is now!
One of the biggest highlights has to be the many friendships formed over the years and of course meeting Ian! Traralgon Harriers caters for the better athlete but also the social runner, whatever the age, which I think makes for such a great combination of members for our club.