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baRUNNER - a website for the British Airways Athletics Club

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British Airways Athletics Club 2019/2020 Committee Members

Post Holder (click for details) eMail Address


John Williams  


Roderick Hoffman (acting)

Deputy Chair / Honorary Secretary

Steve Hillier (also Track & Field Veterans)

Honorary Treasurer

Chris Kelly 

Communications Officer

Roderick Hoffman

Ladies Captain

Clara Halket

Menís Captain

Gary Rushmer

Membership Secretary

Alan Friar

Statistics Secretary

Paul Brandon  

Events Secretary

Neil Frediani (also Track & Field Rosenheim)

Committee Members (without portfolio)

Steve Taylor

Trish McCabe

Co-opted or "jolly-useful" members

Steve Newell (Event Director/parkrun)

Paul Knecthl (Club kit)

Simon Turton (London Marathon coordination)

Joe Nolan (Coach)

Club Event Champions

The British Airways Athletics Club is made by its members, not its committee.  The events that we organise and the events that we take part in are championed by club members called Club Event Champions.  The role of the champion will vary depending on the event but is likely to include pre-event publicity, some organisation on the day and a post event write-up.

Committee members and other key club members {all written in 2016}

Brian ForresterrBrian Forrester - Chairman {2016}

Brian is one of the founding members of the club which, for those who have forgotten or never knew, means that he has been involved since 1981. Or perhaps earlier. My "Round the Block" newsletter records go back to Sept 1988 and in that issue John Williams congratulates Brian for being elected Chairman again. I don't think that he has been Chairman every year since, John took a turn at least one year, but it has been Brian just about all of the way apart from that.

His main duties are to keep the more active members of the committee in order. And he constantly reminds us of the need to communicate to members of the club who don't have smart phones and 24x7 internet access.

He also manages the club equipment, Heston Venue bookings and the Starts and Finishes for many club events.  He also uses his Tesco vouchers to ensure that we never run short of energy on a Wednesday evening.

Whilst Brian's best running days are behind him he could yet surprise us with a parkrun appearance.

Roderick Hoffman obo Brian Forrester

Brian died in June 2018 following a long illness. He is sadly missed.


Steve Hillier photographSteve Hillier - Honorary Secretary

I've been a member of BAAC since the late eighties, although I joined some of the club founders to run the Frankfurt Marathon as far back as 1981.  I'll have a go at most club events, but I've drawn the line at Pole Vault - too scary.  I enjoy Cross Country in the Winter and Track & Field year round.  My running times aren't legendary, but I'm happy to chat to anyone about Hammer throwing.  I've previously held the posts of Track & Field Captain and Membership Secretary.  My current role is Hon Secretary.

The committee works very much as a team, so many tasks are shared between committee members. The primary tasks of the Hon Secretary include:

  • Acting as a link to England Athletics, corresponding with them about rules, coaches, venues etc.
  • The Club scribe:  Minutes of meetings, letters to official bodies.
  • Contact to emergency organisations / local authorities for club managed events.
  • Sorting out entries for club members to The London Marathon: those gained through membership of England Athletics, and those awarded as a result of our marshaling efforts throughout the year.
  • Alongside the Team Captains, the link to ASCA and BA Clubs.
  • Organising the annual awards

...and outside of the Secretary role, I get involved in......

  • The annual quiz
  • Prudential Ride London marshaling
  • London Marathon Sector Management
  • First Aid at club events

I look forward to seeing you at a club event.


Clara Halket photographClara Halket - Ladies Captain

I started running in my late teens and became a road runner associated with Singapore Amateur Athletics Association. Some years later I switched sport to karate, got into the national team and competed internationally and accumulated some medals and trophies. I continued running to maintain stamina. When I moved to the UK in my late 20s, I discovered the beautiful trails and started to run more on the trails than road and loving it. Now in my 50s, my pace is slower and I enjoy plodding the longer distances. I can't remember when I joined the running club, but I do remember that the then ladies captain, Helen Smith, arranged to meet up with me and introduced me to some of the other lady runners. She also introduced me to the cross country events which I thoroughly enjoyed. Despite the sometimes harsh weather conditions, the cross country runs were great fun.

Helen handed over the captain baton to me some years ago. She is a hard act to follow and even now, after 4 years as ladies captain, I still look to Helen for advice and support in managing the cross country league matches and the Ladies Speedbird 5K event that we host every year at the Harmondsworth parklands. Apart from assisting with club events whenever I can, my current aim is to encourage more lady runners from across the BA business to join us.


Roderick Hoffman - Communications Secretary/Deputy Chair & Chairman since 2017

Now 56 I've been running since the year I joined BA back in 1982 having been attracted by the 1983 World Airline Road Race in Orlando and that year's New York Marathon just one week later - run within my first ever flying trip.  My best running achievements since include being recognised by David Bedford and others in the London Marathon management team for retiring after operating one of our crossing points for twenty years, being Project Manager for the BAAC WARR event in London in 2010, for being the first person to run fifty different parkruns as their first fifty parkruns oh and have I ever mentioned that I once won the club's annual round-the-block race?

My official role for the club is in the communication of club matters to its membership and for that firstly I setup this club website and then focused on creating and maintaining this digest - produced weekly since 13th August 2012.  I'm also Race Director for the Concorde Five and BA Fun Run events and I'm team captain for our WARR team.

My unofficial role is as a troublemaker. I strongly believe that if something is good, like the BA Athletics Club is, then it should be kept going but that in this ever changing world that must mean change.  I agree with Darwin that anything that doesn't evolve must inevitably die. For that reason I have been pushing the club towards the adoption of new ideas and new technologies such as the use of Google Maps to show club events.

Roderick Hoffman

Neil FredianiNeil Frediani - Events Secretary

I first joined the BAAC in 1984/5 and ran for 2 or 3 years (my best performance was a 1:29 half marathon in Leighton Buzzard in 1985), I also attended 3 WARRs London, Atlanta and Washington before retiring hurt after too many niggles which were probably brought about by playing squash, badminton, hockey, cricket etc. During the next fifteen years I cycled and swam and was active in the raising of 2 children and had 4 back seizures so started to do yoga to try and improve things. A job move to Waterside in 2002/3 gave me easy access to a gym which enabled me to build some core strength and start running again indoors and then the BA Fun Run. A few years later I rejoined the club and eventually ran a couple of half marathons in well over 2 hours, discovered parkrun in 2008 and cross country in 2009. I am still no good at cross country but love it. Last year I knocked 40mins off my previous half marathon time running 1:51 and this year ran my first Marathon.

My role on the committee is to compile the new diary of events. Sometimes this is just by adjusting dates from previous years, sometimes researching new events to add, liaising with others re dates of league events, committee mtgs. AGMs etc., finding links to websites for events. Sometimes organisers keep you guessing until very late regarding the dates of their events especially where they are club team events rather than public races.  I also attend committee meetings and marshal at club events and marshal for the club at London Marathon related events.

Neil Frediani

Paul BrandonPaul Brandon - Statistics

I am no longer an active runner due to left knee problems.

My involvement with the BA athletics section includes :-

  • Organising and reporting results for the Winter 5M handicap series.
  • Leading the marshals on the Spur road crossing point for the London marathon.
  • Marshalling the Ride London 100 (cycling event) crossing point in Whitehall, 2 out of 3 years and I rode the event the other year.
  • Time keeping for a lot of the CIE events.
  • Helping with other club events such as cross country, Speedbirds 5k, and Concorde 5M whenever possible. 

Other than that I am a member of a cycling club (Woking), and the BA GYM where I take part in organised spinning and circuits classes. Low/No impact activities.

Paul Brandon

Chris KellyChris Kelly - Treasurer

I joined the club when I started at BA in the late eighties, reading about Steve Newellís Ironman exertions in awe, and the club's then challenge for members to run in 100 different countries, and always wanted to do a Marathon but didnít. So when I re-joined the club in 2005, I wanted to do the London Marathon. As everyone finds out, itís difficult - increasing the distance despite the inevitable injury grumbles Ė but since then I've become a regular Londoner - and eventually Ė after 8 years - managed a very satisfying sub-3, which I'd like to repeat...

In 2008 I was ďofferedĒ the exciting position of Treasurer, so now besides the joy of paying in London Marathon Marshalling cheques, and Members Subs, I get to spend some of my time trying to add up the ins and outs of the Club accounts to ensure we have enough funds to support club social evenings and subsidise our athletic adventures Ė either round the M25 (GBR) Ė or further afield (Dubai, Oregon)Ö

Chris Kelly





Steve TaylorSteve Taylor

Iíve been working for BA since I left school at 16, originally as an engineering apprentice and I now work in BT supporting BA IT Networks. Iím married to Marion and we have two children, Marcus and Laura, the youngest, Marcus has just left home to go to university. Neither of my children have particularly taken up running, Marcus insisting that thereís no such thing as a Ďfun runí, the two words shouldnít exist in the same sentence.

Iíve been running since 2004 and started my running log in 2005 so that must have been when I started taking running a bit more seriously. Before that I had played quite a bit of basketball, no surprise there given my height, as well as tennis and badminton. I also cycle and swim a bit and did try a sprint triathlon once for the experience. My first parkrun was on New Yearís day 2011 and Iíve run occasional ones since then. Iím still not up to 50 yet so itís taken me a while to really get into it. My wife often joins me on parkruns and youíll most often find us at Northala Fields.

My first marathon was in 2008 and Iíve run seven since then, each year my time has improved and this year, 2015, was my first time under four hours. Itís always great to see the BA Marshalls on the last part of the London course. Iíve also run a few half marathons, Berkhamsted was my first so itís always nice to go back there for the event.

Iím often at Waterside and itís great to go out for a run a couple of times a week, even if itís just to hang on the back of some of the faster runners.

Iíve very recently joined the committee so I havenít picked up any major roles yet but Iím sure that theyíll find something for me to do. I enjoy marshalling events like the BUPA 10k and Ride London, especially when itís not raining.

Steve Taylor

Alan FriarAlan Friar, Membership Secretary

I have been running at British Airways since 1979 when one the BAAC founding members, David Barnard, organised a race around the Hayes running track to see how far members of our department could run in 12 minutes. After many enjoyable races and training sessions, I still manage to do the Reading Parkrun most weekends and attend the clubís training runs and in-house events on a Wednesday night. My best time out of the six New York, one Frankfurt and two London marathons in the 1980ís  was 2:58:37 in the 1982 New York Marathon.

I have been on the BAAC committee since 2005 when I did the hard working job of treasurer for 3 years and I am now the membership secretary where I keep members records up to date and try and encourage new members to join.

Alan Friar




Steve NewellSteve Newell (co-opted committee member)

In his youth Steve Newell was much better at swimming than running and joined the old Speedbird Club swimming section in the late 1960ís.  He was on the committee and was the last BOAC captain of swimming.  He also served time as chair of the BOAC subaqua section and was editor of Boaqua News an early photocopied version of a newsletter for members.  Perhaps his greatest achievement of those early years was the first ever full scale disco in the main hall at the Speedbird Club, attended by 400 ravers paying five shillings each.  Steveís interest in swimming continues to this day and he has organised swimming in the tidal Thames and enrolled the help of Brian Forrester, Paul Brandon and John Williams.

Following a move to the old BEA headquarters at South Ruislip in 1975, Steve was introduced to the concept of lunchtime running by Denis Foxley and Steve Hillier and met Athletics Section founder members Guy de Bousac, Dave Blackett and David Barnard who were pioneers of a later popular annual jaunt of flying over to take part in the New York City Marathon.  Steve watched the first London Marathon with his young children in 1981, decided he wanted to be part of it and joined the newly formed BAAC soon afterwards.  There was the setback of a broken leg sustained sprinting to the finish of the Fleet and Crookham half marathon in 1983 but by 1985 Steve had joined the committee and was one of many who helped with the 1985 WARR in Hyde Park.

It was the WARR experience that triggered an interest in race organisation and during his years on the committee Steve introduced some of the events we still hold today such as the Parkway Mile, the Equinox 5km and the Watersplash 10km.  Inspired by the legendary Patrick Barnes, Steve developed an interest (later an obsession) in triathlon and from 1987 to 1993 organised the Munchman Duathlon (run-bike-run) based in Cranford Park.  This eventually had to be abandoned due to increased traffic volumes round Heathrow and the erection of more and more traffic lights (running red lights is a strictly enforced rule penalised by disqualification).  Retirement from BA came earlier than anticipated and may indeed have been prompted by possibly his greatest triumph on behalf of the Athletics Section.  This was the Millennium Mile, a 100 x one mile relay run in the Waterside grounds during working hours in July 1999.  Made possible only by the company wide introduction of email, 100 employees and pensioners fitted their run in round various shifts, flex-time core periods and days off and the team of 100 finished in just over ten hours.  Within months, the defeat of the Millennium Bug heralded the end of an era.

Now a grandfather, Steve believes in continuity rather than perpetuity and has retired to the back benches.  He continues to help the committee when required and was heavily involved with measuring the course round Royal Victoria Dock for WARR in 2010.  He has attended at least 25 WARR events and has become an enthusiastic Ďparkrunnerí, familiar with all the courses in London.

Steve Newell

Paul Knechtl (co-opted committee member)

Paul Knechtl at WARR 2015 Dubai

My not so fondest memories of running, was taking part in the school cross country, coming second to last and hating it. I always loved playing football, but my years at college and start of employment put this on the back burner. To cut a long story short I loved playing football, but found my fitness lacking, so took up running with a colleague at work to get fit.

I started running in about 1993 and my first recorded run was the Parkway Mile on the 22nd December 1993 in a time of 05:25. I canít really remember much about it, but I think I enjoyed it! The first cross country however was a different story, Lloyd park on the 8th January 1994. I can remember that one very well and want to forget it, finishing in 131st place in just over 40 minutes and last place BA runner. How things have changed!

In 1995, I attempted my first 2 marathons, London in April and Slough in September. London was a bit of a disaster as I did not train enough and struggled to get round. Slough was a bit different, training went really well and if it wasnít for the Hood to Coast race 7 days earlier I may have had a fantastic time, but calf strains in the last 6 miles put pay to that. Learning Ė donít try and do anything a week after Hood!

Soon after that I joined the Athletics committee and spent 6 years on the committee as Communications & Fixture Secretary and Treasurer. During this time I organised a few events - WARR (coordinating the 50 odd paper entries), Hood To Coast, Welsh Castles, Concorde 10K, Round the Block, Round the Park to name a few.

In 2001, we then started a family and I stepped down from the committee, maybe one day I will return. I tend to do all my training at work now, with a fantastic group of friends. I still continue to run for the Athletic club, but my appearance at events has been a bit limited. Now the boys are a bit older and if I can avoid injury, I might start turning up to a few more events.

My highlight, has to be WARR 2013 Ė Cape Town, 1st place, beating the favoured runner from United, who is faster and younger than me. It was a perfectly executed race, letting him get a way in the first 5K, but staying within touching distance. Then over the sand at 6.5K kicking and pulling away, was in dream land!

Remaining challenge, would still love to break the 3 hour barrier for a marathon. I was so close 4 years ago, but it wasnít to beÖ

Paul Knechtl

Paul is no longer on the committee and no longer works for BA but he remains heavily involved including managing club kit and frequently stores club trophies for the year.