Traralgon Harriers President 2005, 2006 and 2007
My first encounter with the Traralgon Harriers [T.H.] was when I accompanied my husband (Barry) to a 5km run, as he had been rostered on to do duty. So one very cold, wet winters’ Thursday night, I did his duty and handed out the positional cards at the end of a race, near St Gabriels’ School followed by a very welcome hot cup of tea and biscuit at the Clubrooms.
Come spring, more runners participated and a few ladies were walking the courses. Margaret Salisbury invited me to accompany her and Tina Mackenzie around one of “the easier runs”. I thought I was fit enough to walk the 5km with them. We walked and chatted for about a kilometre then I realised I was holding them back from the speed they usually walked, telling them to continue on without me. I finally made it to the finish line where most of the club members were congregated and was surprised by the encouragement they offered. I became a regular walker after that. Sunday morning thirty kilometre training runs for Barry and five or six kilometre walks for Margaret and myself. There were pancake breakfasts in the clubrooms afterwards which became a highlight of the week.
I travelled around the countryside offering my encouragement and assistance, if needed, at other events and cross-country races that the T.H. members were involved in. In 2002 the club was asked to have a representative on the Latrobe City Relay for Life committee. Off I went to monthly meetings, reporting back to the membership all that was happening. We decided that the T.H. would enter a team, if we could be guaranteed the inside lane of the Joe Carmody track at Newborough. This was assured and we ended up with enough for two teams of faster runners and a third team of the slower members and walkers. With this exposure to the general public we became known as not only a club of running fanatics but one that embrace the community as a whole.
In 2005 I was voted in as president, [no-body else seemed interested in fulfilling the position, as in the words of one of the members “we are runners not administrators”]. I took on the job with the mindset that we should become less exclusive as elite runners and become a club that embrace runners and walkers of all capabilities. With this I endeavoured to embrace having runs in other townships of the Latrobe City. We chose to rotate the Community Fun Run between the main towns as it had to this time only been run in Traralgon, to take place in Moe one year, then Morwell the next year and then to Traralgon. Continuing to rotate yearly, Moe’s run was poorly attended by members from Traralgon, though the locals seemed to enjoy the event. Morwell’s event around the lake at Kernot Hall was very well attended so we continued to push this for a few more years.
After a few more years, sometimes travelling over a hundred kilometres to run /walk five or six kilometres, I let my membership lapse, though I thoroughly enjoyed being invited and helping out at the Marathon, Walhalla and other events staged by the Harriers. Returning to the Harriers in the fiftieth year of the running of the Marathon, I found the club though becoming more professional in its activities, is still fulfilling its charter of encouraging and embracing people of all ages and different abilities to enjoy the activity of running/walking.