North Belfast Harriers have just become only one of two athletics clubs in Northern Ireland to receive Sport NI’s “Club Mark”.
“Club Mark” is the national junior sports club accreditation programme which aims to identify, develop, accredit and recognise high quality junior sports clubs and the contribution that they make to the development of sport in Northern Ireland.
Speaking about the award of this prestigious accreditation, NBH Chairman Matt Shields commented:
“We owe a big thanks to junior coach Claire McCorry who prepared the Club Mark application through Belfast City Council. The Council and Armetus, the community schools charity, have been key partners in the creation of our current ongoing development plans and this is one further step in that plan.”
North Belfast Harriers is a club which is going from strength at the moment. The recent “running boom” has led to an increase in club membership over the last few months. Runners, of all age groups and abilities, from first time 10 year olds to established local runners, are showing up at weekly training sessions and looking to get involved.
Stephen Scullion, one of the UK’s top distance runners and North Belfast Harrier is also brimming about the club’s current growth and development:
“There’s no doubt the club is on the up. Having been based in London for a while, I was very impressed when I saw first hand, how hard our club has been working to improve their runners and continue to offer help for people of all ages and ability. I am looking forward to helping the club out further – and hopefully, other clubs in Northern Ireland can follow our example and our results as a country will improve.”
Matt is also encouraged by the attitude of everyone in the club to get involved but also feels the recent successes are due, in no small part, to the fact that the harriers have their own clubhouse (with changing, showering, meeting facilities), are actively involved in community work (they organise Park Run) and have state of the art track facilities at their disposal in North Belfast.
Matt says: “Training nights are now seeing anywhere between 10 and 30 athletes, of all ages, training together. Together, with the award of Sport NI’s Club Mark, the development of our website, a new facebook page, twitter and club facilities, the future of one of North Belfast Harriers has never looked brighter. However, we aren’t resting on our laurels and I would still encourage anyone, who is interested in running, regardless of their age or where they live, to contact us by email, facebook or phone.”
If you are interested in finding out more about joining North Belfast Harriers, then email us directly on firstname.lastname@example.org, visit our facebook page or look us up on twitter: @northbelfasthar
For more information on the Sport NI Club Mark initiative: http://www.sportni.net/