This month’s meet a Harrier is in fact Meet The Harriers  as we have a
a husband and wife team Rob and Suzanne Harbourne,  having got bored
of racing each other to lamposts round their streets, Rob took the
plunge and joined The Harriers quickly followed by Sue.
Both of the Harbournes are very much part of the Harriers family , Rob
is a face to pace leader and Suzanne recently won the coveted new
Runner of the Year award which has been won previously by some
excellent runners (cough cough).
Both have a friendly rivalry between each other especially at Park
runs for the coveted who has to make the tea in the household award,
over to Rob and Suzanne.

1,How long have you been running with the club?

Rob : 2 years 8 months, joined just before handicap race in 2016

Sue: In typical blondness I can’t pinpoint exactly when but I think it was
the end of May/ beginning of June 2017.

2.What made you start running?

Rob: Lost about 3.5 stone together with Suzanne at Slimming World, and
thought running was probably a good way to keep it off. A work
colleague persuaded me to go along to parkrun and I was soon hooked.

Sue: Along with Rob, I’d lost 3.5 stone so getting fit was the natural
next step. I’d done a few parkruns, Abbey Dash and Vale of York 10
(though Rob neglected to mention it was 10 miles and not 10km!). I
wasn’t very fast and wanted to improve so came along and ran with
Angie’s group. At that time it was off-road and I struggled with that
initially but then I grew to love it.

3.Biggest running achievement:

Sue: My turning point was winning the Handicap race in 2018. I have
never won a race (probably never will again) so to come first was the
best feeling. My mindset changed that day and I found a bit more
self-belief that keeps me motivated to keep challenging myself.

Rob: I had a mad 5 weeks in 2017 when I completed the Macmillan Leeds
Sprint Triathlon, Great North Run and finally Chester Marathon. The
last one was 35 years after my previous marathon and nearly an hour
quicker.

4.Favourite Race :

Sue: Sheffield Half Marathon- simply awesome atmosphere. The 5 miles
uphill at the start was made bearable, enjoyable even, by the many
crowds that lined the streets. I’m really hoping Manchester Marathon
on Sunday will be similar. (Minus the 5 mile hill).

Rob: Ooh tough one. I absolutely loved the Harriers hosting a race in
the West Yorkshire Winter League, It wasn’t as hilly as some , but was
fast and having so many great marshals cheering all the way round made
it even more fun. I was so proud of the club that day from car parking
all the way to refreshments afterwards. It even beat Leeds Country Way
which was brilliant.

5.Any running tips?

Sue: Listen to people. I often have little gems of inspiration going
round my head from fellow runners – including you Andy. Also, having
injured myself quite early on, I’ve realised that sometimes you have
to play the long game and, as Sue C says, listen to your body.

Rob: We have a great club with lots of friendly members who are only
too happy to share their experiences and tips, so my advice would be
to run and chat with some of the wiser and more experienced runners. I
have learned to start races a bit slower and pace better.

6.Best thing being part of Crossgates Harriers?

Sue: The friends you make and the support you receive from everyone.
I’ve never known a bunch of more lovely folk.

Rob: The support and friendship, which extends from the fast cats all
the way to more steadier runners. I am genuinely surprised by how much
the club means to me and everyone in it.

So one final question for Sue, you recently won new runner of the year
award what was that like ?

Sue: I think there are many Harriers who deserve the award so I felt
very surprised and honoured to receive it. Running means a lot to me –
more than I ever thought possible. When I was plodding around the Vale
of York 10 race in 2017, I was wondering what on earth all the fuss
was about since I didn’t particularly enjoy that race! Since then,
I’ve grown to love it so to receive recognition for how far I’ve come
was the ‘icing on the cake’. Talking of cake……