North Belfast Harriers (NBH) is one of the most successful and enduring athletic clubs in Ireland. The club was formed in Belfast in 1896 and since then the old gold and chocolate club colours have competed with great distinction and success at local, national and international levels. NBH has become a renowned force in road and cross country running at all distances up to and including the marathon, and remains one of the leading clubs in Ireland at all ages, from youths through to veteran runners. The fact that NBH has continued to survive in one of the most troubled areas of Northern Ireland for many years, is proof of its commitment to the cause of community service and of amateur athletics in Northern Ireland. Location NBH has been located at Divisview Hall, Oldpark Terrace in north Belfast for over 70 years. North Belfast is one of the most socially deprived areas of Northern Ireland, if not Europe, with very high levels of unemployment. The area is renowned for violent sectarian problems and has been daubed by the media as the “murder triangle” of Belfast. NBH is proud that it has succeeded over many years, in crossing the sectarian divide and has developed a fully integrated cross community membership. It is in recognition of this policy that NBH enjoy the goodwill and support of all sections of the community.
The Harriers built a new clubhouse built on the old Divisview Hall site in 2004. The new clubhouse has state of the art equipment and facilities for all members. Recently we have also gained access to the facilities of the Boys and Girls Model schools which puts at our disposal gyms, sportshalls and running tracks.
Membership which has grown gradually over the past 10 years, is drawn from a cross section of the community and mostly from the north Belfast area. Presently membership currently stands at around 140 members. Ages of senior members range from 18 – 70 years, with about half the senior members in the veteran category (age 40 + years). it is an indication of the loyalty and commitment of club members that a significant number have been life – long members of NBH for periods of 30, 40 and even 50 years. The provision of new premises and new facilities has enabled NBH to develop its junior and female membership and secure its long term future.
Without doubt, the greatest achievement of NBH is that for just over 100 years, it has not only survived in the most difficult of circumstances, but has prospered in its efforts to provide a cross – community environment in which athletes could share friendship and comradeship in a sport which they enjoy. In doing this, NBH has been a safe haven in an area of Belfast characterised by sectarian divisions. That in itself, has been an outstanding achievement of which NBH is very proud. The athletic achievements of NBH have been remarkably high and its members have represented their country at both the Olympic and Commonwealth Games.