Third Anniversary, Wednesday 6 September, 2017.

On Wednesday, Northowram Pumas celebrated their third anniversary of the formation of the club. Yes, it was in September 2014 that a team of four hardy leaders turned up and awaited the arrival of other willing participating runners. Around seventy turned up via word-of-mouth that first evening, and the club has never looked back. Today, we have a membership of over 150, and hold regular training runs three, sometimes four, days a week.

The first training run, September 2014. The little acorns are, from left; Ian Marshall, Liz McDonnell, Katie Phillips and Andy Haslam.

The four willing run leaders three years ago were Ian Marshall, Andy Haslam, Liz McDonnell and Katie Phillips. They were all in attendance on Wednesday, with Katie Phillips, who now runs for Bingley Harriers, making a welcome guest appearance. Invited to join us, as they were twelve months ago, were our friends form Sowerby Bridge Snails, with a nice array of distances from which they had to choose.

Laura Hattersley and Paul Hopkinson with the run/walking group.

Leading the run/walking group were Laura Hattersley and Paul Hopkinson. For those wanted to run a little further, Julie Bowman, Wendy Hewitt and Laura Fairbank worked in tandem with the 3½ mile group, whilst Ian Marshall, Liz McDonnell (making a welcome return to the fold after several weeks away) and Katie Phillips reunited to lead the four-mile group. There were two groups running 4½ miles; Neil Coupe led his group down to Shibden, whilst Ally Canning took a scenic route through Coley and Norwood Green. Luke Cranfield and Peter Reason led out their group for a 5.7 miler which typically threw in a fair bit of off-road, whilst Adam Standeven plotted a nice loop of a route taking in Coley, Norwood Green, Lightcliffe and Hipperholme for those turbo-type runners.

Who’s the thorn among the roses in the popular 3.5 mile group?
Liz McDonnell, Ian Marshall and Katie Phillips re-unite before setting out with their four-mile group.
The 4.5 milers, before splitting into caveman or roadrunner groups.
Things are getting more serious now as runners join up with Andy Haslam and Peter Reason for a scheduled 5.5 miler.
Charged up and ready to burn, Adam Standeven with his turbo 6.5 mile group.

Around thirty Snails joined us for the evening, and depending on capabilities, chose a running group to suit, though none were, it seemed, keen on Ally’s off-road route across fields and through woods (it was a pity because it was a nice night for such a stroll). Each group set off at 6.45pm, and everyone was back within the hour.

Katie Phillips may run for Bingley Harriers but she still knows how to take a Puma-style group selfie.

Afterwards, Pumas and Snails mixed in the bar, and many enjoyed the chilli rice/chips combo served up by Jacky Midgley and her small team of helpers. Later, we watched a short slide-show, the montage put together by Matt Newton, that showed how the Pumas have grown.

A pleasant evening all round; here’s what some of our guests said about it;

Jodie Smith: “Thank you Pumas for inviting us to celebrate your 3rd birthday! You’re a running club we look up to and we congratulate you on your success! We’ve had a lovely evening and the chilli was spot on.”

Laura Armstrong: “Thanks for a lovely run Pumas, really enjoyed it!”

Abi Clark: “I really enjoyed running through the fields and the chilli was a nice bonus.”

Nelle Page: “I enjoyed running thru fields and dodging cow pat strangely!”

Joanne Pollard: “Fantastic evening helping the Pumas celebrate their birthday. Worked my socks off tonight, although just over 6k it wasn’t the distance, just the pace, and the running through fields and woods, that’s hard work – and uphill for the last 1k. Loved talking to the horse and chatting with the Pumas, they made us all feel welcome. Thanks everyone. PS good delicious food.”

With thanks as always to Lisa Aspinall for use of most of the photos on here.

Name: Neil Coupe.

Age: 46.

Occupation: Managing Director.

Neil not in Lycra

Group you frequently run with? Run leader so any group.

How did you get involved with the Pumas? I was there in the early days when there were approximately 20 members. I got involved by searching the Internet at that time under local running clubs.

I run because… It makes me feel alive when a run is completed. I also run to socialise.

By joining the Pumas, what were/are you hoping to get out of it? I joined the Pumas to improve my fitness and lose some of my belly, but I mainly joined the Pumas for the social aspect as I’m originally from the other side of Bradford and all my friends live over there. I love to socialise and I think I’m pretty good at it but that’s my opinion, probably no one else’s.

Do you have any personal goals and running aims for 2017? I’ve already achieved my personal goal which was to run a sub 45 minute 10k, which I did in the Bradford 10k (this year) in 43:38 and I just want maintain my decent level of fitness.

Do you remember your first session? Yes, there were 5 runners in my group, 2 women and 3 guys, only 3 are still members.

Did you run before you joined the club, or is it totally new to you? Do you or did you do any other sports? I’m a Senior County football referee and I used to be more into cycling than running but I find that running is an aerobic exercise and for me nothing comes close.

What’s your favourite part of being involved with the Pumas? I love now that I’m leading groups and seeing people on their personal journeys. And, of course, the social side, as there’s always something going on.

Have you got any favourite routes? Anything on the road. I hate caveman running (off-roading) but my favourite is the route from the end of Green Lane to Brow Lane.

What do you find the biggest drag in running? The dark nights, wearing LED lights and the unpredictable English weather.

Neil in action

How do you feel you have benefitted from joining the Pumas? For me, the the social side has brought me so many new people into my life who I now consider friends as well as running buddies.

Have you taken part in any organised events? Several events, probably too many to mention, but my first ever event was cycling from London to Paris, which I have to say no other event has come close.

If so, what was your most memorable run? My best running event was the Leeds Half Marathon in 2016 in which I didn’t time myself and just enjoyed it, high-fiving several people en route.

What most people don’t know about you is… That I used to be quite introvert and shy and used to weigh 18 stone.

If you were stuck on a desert island what would your luxury item be? My iPhone, of course, so I could banter on the Pumas group.

If you were stuck on a desert island who would you like to be there with? Apart from the obvious family members I would like to spend time with David Jason (Del Boy) as I’d hope he would keep me entertained over and over again just like when I watch Open All Hours and Only Fools and Horses on TV over and over again.

If you were stuck on a desert island name your three favourite songs (at least one should be your favourite song to run to)? Celine Dion – ‘I’m Alive’, Take That – ‘Never Forget’, and Queen – ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ (fave running song).


January is the most boring month of the year, so on Saturday 28th January 2017 to help get through this long, cold and miserable month Northowram Pumas Running Club held their 2nd Comedy Night!

The event was held at the home of NPRC, the Northowram Community Sports and Activity Club. The doors opened at 7pm and the DJ was already in position. The room was full of Pumas and friends by 8pm eagerly awaiting the annual comedy performance.

The comedian and his captive audience

The comedian providing the entertainment this year was Barry York, a local and very experienced comedian. His jokes and banter with the audience kept everyone amused throughout the whole performance.

Then it was time for food, a change to the usual unhealthy pie and peas… this year it was hot dogs and nachos!

Elite runners fuel

Neil hosted our very own Pie Face Showdown Competition for those that were brave enough to take part.

Sarah taking the competition very seriously

Following on from the food and games it was then disco time, and time for the serious fun to begin. The club lights were dimmed and the DJ turned on the disco lights and turned up the music.

Dancing the night away

The evening continued into the early hours as the group that were not yet ready to go home moved on to the new 22 Bar and Smoke House for cocktails, Gin and more fun and banter.

Thank you to everyone that came to the Comedy Night and helped out to make it another successful Pumas social event.

Contact details for Mark, the amazing DJ are:

MG Entertainments
4 Hazel Mount Shipley BD18 2LH 07891081920

Northowram Pumas Running Club held their 2016 Christmas party at the Halifax Bierkeller on Friday 11th November. This was the Club’s 2nd visit to the Bierkeller as it is such a fun packed evening and the Arches, Dean Clough Mills is a great venue for a large group. There were 34 Pumas on the party list and this year everybody looked amazing in their fancy dress costumes including Bongossi trade dresses, Bavarian shorts and one very large sausage!

Paul's Bavarian Sausage
Paul’s Bavarian Sausage
Some bavarian looking the Puma ladies
Some bavarian looking the Puma ladies

The Pumas met up at the Northowram Community Sports and Activity Club for a few drinks and some ‘before’ photos, before heading down to The Arches to meet the rest of the group at the bar. Steins were collected and beer goggles fitted before taking seats at two of the best tables available… right next to the dance floor.

Steins in hand
Steins in hand

The best Oompah band in Britain, The Amazing Bavarian Stompers provided the entertainment for the evening. This year with some assistance from Kirsty and Nicola:

Nicola on stage oompahhing away
Nicola on stage oompahhing away
Kirsty helping with the horn
Kirsty helping with the horn

Everyone had a brilliant evening dancing on chairs with steins in hand, linking arms and singing to traditional Bavarian drinking songs – I saw a mouse! where? there on the stair…


Pumas taking over the dance floor

A disco with lots of energetic dancing followed the Oompah band, and we discovered that not only do we have some very talented runners among us, we also have some amazing dancers.

If you couldn’t make it to this year’s Bierkeller, don’t worry as I am sure that we will be doing it all again next year!

Northowram Pumas were founded in 2014, and each ensuing year will bring its own anniversary. This week, the club celebrated its second ‘birthday’ and on Wednesday 14 September, we hosted our Second Anniversary Run. Lots and lots of Pumas turned up and everyone seemed really excited.

Thanks to Johnny Meynell for his awesome account of the evening! Even if he looks slightly less impressed in the last photo (keep reading to check it out!!) – maybe he’s just reminiscing about his old university days.

Inviting some friends round

And of course, with it being a special occasion, what better than to invite a few friends round? Happy to take up our invitation were the fledgling Sowerby Bridge Snails, who arrived en masse.

Snails and Pumas - an unusual but winning combination
Snails and Pumas – an unusual but winning combination

Mm, Snails. It rather gives the impression that these are folk who move perhaps just a tad faster than walking pace, but don’t be fooled, they are Snails in name only. I have it on good authority that one attendee last night has run six parkruns, each time a personal best, with his last outing recording a time of 20:37. And he has a friend, another Snail, who’s even faster than him!
The Sowerby Bridge Snails can’t have failed but to be impressed at how organised we were pre-run time. With so many extra runners, it was decided it’d be best to assemble on the cricket field with poles to indicate the different groups. What a splendid idea.

An ingenious cone and pole system to sort out running groups
An ingenious cone and pole system to sort out running groups

The plan worked, and how simple it must have been for Simon Wilkinson to take the customary group photos when everyone was ready at their stations.

Customary Group Photos

The plan was to set off prompt at 6.45, so right on cue the respective leaders Luke Cranfield and Adam Standeven (Group One)

Group one - with Adam and Luke
Group one – with Adam and Luke

Andy Haslam (group two)

Andy's group two
Andy’s group two

Phil Turner and Nicola Pennington (group three)

Phil and Nicola taking the reigns with group 3
Phil and Nicola taking the reigns with group 3

Ian Marshall and Paul Hopkinson (group four)

Group 4 with Ian and Paul
Group 4 with Ian and Paul

and Ally Canning, Wendy Hewitt and Sarah Rushforth (group five)

Group five with Ally, Wendy and Sarah - Ally has also forbidden Simon from taking any more photos
Group five with Ally, Wendy and Sarah (Ally has also forbidden Simon from taking any more photos after the worlds worst pose was captured)

led off their troops.

The Running

I went in Group Two, which was a cosy run up through Coley, Shelf, all the way up Giles Hill Lane to Brighouse/Denholmegate Road, down Syke Lane to Green Lane, then home via Blake Hill End and Upper Lane.

A lovely stretch of quiet backroad
A lovely stretch of quiet backroad

It was a warm evening which made the going even tougher than already expected, and we hope that the Sowerby Bridge Snails appreciate the terrain we have to negotiate on a weekly basis, the general rule being that you either start up a hill or finish on one.

We love a good hill do us Pumas
We love a good hill do us Pumas
Group 5 looking pretty happy mid run
Group 5 looking pretty happy mid run

The general feedback on the routes undertaken by our guests in the various groups seems to be that they enjoyed it. The exact figure of how many Snails were actually in attendance cannot be verified, but in the words of the late BBC news reporter Brian Hanrahan, “I counted them all out, and I counted them all back.” Later, it was put to me that there were forty orders from the Snails for meat pies, and one veggie pie, which in anyone’s book would be roughly forty-one.

And some more hills for our Snail friends
And some more hills for our Snail friends

Whilst the Snails came through largely unscathed, sadly the same cannot be said of the Northowram Pumas. If Strava is to be believed, then Group One (Luke’s!) ran a distance of anywhere between 6.3 and 7 miles.

Luke's group - before losing half this contingent.
Luke’s group – before losing half this contingent.

Not only that, but a contingent also managed to get lost! Still, nobody was hurt in this group, unlike in Group Four, where Joanne Davison’s unscheduled route took in the A&E after she fell shortly into her run. Accompanied at hospital by Jane Henley, it turned out Joanne was none too seriously injured, and escaped with bruises on her knees and legs.

Time for Pie

For the rest, it was a run to the finish back at the club, and runners sprinted/ran/ jogged/staggered* (*delete as appropriate) over the line, happy in the knowledge that the BAR was open. Yes, it is a measure of how the Northowram Pumas have grown that we now have fully trained bartenders, and happily after each run, we can now socialise with a bevvy.

Back to the club for pie and drinks
Back to the club for pie and drinks

The runners piled into the bar, where they were served by the Three Amigos, namely Simon Wilkinson, Matt Newton and Tom O’Reilly. Ally Canning was also seen serving so waiting time was kept to a minimum – great service. I’ve never been served so quickly since I ventured into the Long Chimney circa 1988 (though in their case they poured me a drink before I changed my mind). And as it was a special occasion, food was also being served; the aforementioned meat and veggie pies. I chose the Cornish slice, which evoked memories of a holiday in St Austell some twenty years ago! Here, thanks must be given to those who helped prepare and serve the food, and we are most grateful for the behind the scenes work done by Tracey (who made sure the pies arrived on time), Holly, Andrea and Ian Marshall. And let us not forget those who took time to bake cakes, etc which topped off suppertime.

Thanks to Tracey, who gave up her evening run, to make sure we ate all the pies
Thanks to Tracey, who gave up her evening run, to make sure we ate all the pies

Most of us stopped for well over an hour, giving Nicola enough time to present Jessica Edwards with her Uni Survival Kit in front of a packed house. Jess, who’s been with the Pumas since the formative days, has helped in various capacities and now leaves for University with our good wishes.

Saying a really sad farewell to our awesome committee member Jess as she goes away to get drunk - sorry to go to uni
Saying a really sad farewell to our awesome committee member Jess as she goes away to get drunk – sorry to go to uni

All-in-all, it was a pleasant evening and thanks must be given to those who made it possible, as well as to all the Pumas and Sowerby Bridge Snails who turned out in force to make the event such a success. Dare I say it, here’s to the next one….

We all know Pumas like a good party and our latest social event was no different…

When:  Saturday 10 September 2016

Where: Northowram Community Sports & Activity club

What: Awesome live music and expert BBQ-ing skills

The event was pulled together by our awesome social co-ordinator Wendy and her army of helpers. The night kicked off at 6pm (following a lot of planning and organising beforehand) and a steady stream of Pumas and music enthusiasts made their way to NCSAC to get the party started.

However, you did first have to get past the rigorous door staff…Nicola was taking no prisoners:

No stamp - you're not coming in
No stamp – you’re not coming in

The Music

There were two live acts playing during the evening, and they were fantastic.

First up was an acoustic performance by the very talented Tom Waterworth. He kept everyone entertained and got the party started with popular covers that sounded fantastic.

tom getting the party started
Tom getting the party started

Next up were the three piece band The Good Citizens. They brought a brilliantly unique sound and style to a variety of songs, ranging from Shaggy’s ‘It wasn’t me’ to Arctic Monkeys and everything in between.

The Good Citizens in action

The music from both acts was brilliant and got everyone in the party mood (possibly helped by a few alcoholic beverages along the way)…just take a look:

While the music played we had some dedicated chefs hard at work…


Our gourmet chefs started cooking up a treat as soon as we got underway at 6pm.

Andy took the firey BBQ reigns to start with, he departed to rest up before his early start for the GNR (great north run) and Mike took over the tongs.

And much to everyone’s surprise Matt also pitched in and turned out to be a very good sous chef!

Thanks to all out BBQ-ers for providing much need food for all our drinkers!!

All in all an excellent night was had….both by kids fuelled by Wendy’s sweet shop and adults fuelled by something a bit stronger!

A massive thank you to all of our helpers on the night:

  • Andy Haslam
  • Nicola Pennington
  • Vicky Owen
  • Mike Hartley
  • Matt Newton
  • The fabulous Jacky and the amazing bar staff

And the main lady herself Wendy Hewitt for pulling the whole event together

Also a special thank you to Tom Waterworth and The Good Citizens for providing such brilliant entertainment.

Unrecognisable as there's no lycra or sweat in sight - some of the Puma Ladies
Unrecognisable as there’s no lycra or sweat in sight – some of the Puma Ladies
The band getting people up on the dance floor
The band getting people up on the dance floor
It's not a party unless shots are involved!
It’s not a party unless shots are involved!
Pumas at the bar
Pumas at the bar
Looking a bit merry after a couple of drinks
Looking a bit merry after a couple of drinks




When the booking was made at Jeremy’s at the Boathouse for the Northowram Pumas Running Club I’m sure that the Brighouse pub were expecting a group of very fit looking, health conscious, yet quiet and reserved members…how wrong they were!

Following months of hard training, determination, marathons, half marathons and 10ks it was time for the Pumas to relax and let their hair down and that is exactly what they did.

33 Pumas attended the Club’s 3 rd social event on Friday 29 April 2016. The evening started with a sit down meal which had been pre-ordered from the tasty main menu. The Steak, Fish and Chips and Burgers were very popular with just myself opting for the sensible option of the Vegetable Picnic Loaf, which would have been a very healthy meal if Matt had not been generously sharing his very large portion of Beer Battered Onion Rings!

Drinks at the bar followed the meal, which were followed by more drinks at the bar. At 9.30pm the lights went down and the live band, The International Party Doctors came on stage. The dance floor was waiting to be filled and the Pumas were ready to dance. The next two hours quickly passed by with the group’s energy and stamina rocking the venue. The band were that impressed that they invited Lisa, Claire and Liz onto stage to provide the backing vocals for one of their favourite tracks, Bryan Adams ‘Summer of ’69’.

The band’s final track Purple Rain was dedicated to Prince. The evening came to an end for some whilst the After Party continued the night in Halifax Centre’s late night pubs.

Northowram Pumas Running Club would like to thank Jeremy’s at the Boathouse for hosting an unforgettable evening. The 33 meals were delivered promptly and were all 5 star meals. We will definitely be visiting them again!

Hope to see you all there and at our next social event, our very own Summer BBQ and Band Night on Saturday 23 July 2016.

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Literally, since I started running, every time I go on holiday I dutifully pack my running clobber and tell myself that I will, at least once, go out for a run while I’m away.

And I suspect like many people, I never actually do. I drag all my stuff there and it sits in the bottom of my suitcase (hidden under other things so I’m not reminded about it) completely untouched until I get home again.

Total holiday running fail!

But, I recently went to Brussels and I discovered something that will change my lack of holiday exercise forever. SIGHT JOGGING!

This is amazing.

I think the name pretty much gives it away, but basically it’s a sight-seeing tour that’s based around running.

In Brussels, we booked our tour through Brussels Sight Jogging. We booked our tour before we went. It cost us €64 for 2 people and as the tour lasted upwards for 2 hours I think this was pretty good value.

The website gave information on a number of different routes you could do, we plumped for the ‘Old Brussels’ tour as this covered the main highlights of the city centre.

Our sight jogging guide, Alexandre, met us outside our Air BNB (another awesome holiday must!) accommodation and off we went.

Alex was happy to run at a pace that was comfortable for us, which was good. And over the next 2 hours we covered about 7 miles in and around the centre of Brussels.

With one of the many sights
With one of the many sights

It sounds like quite a long time to be running, but we had a lot of stops at different places of interest where Alex would give us a bit of history or story about a particular building or monument.

By doing the sight jogging we got quite a good idea of the layout of the city centre, which made the rest of our weekend a bit easier as we weren’t spending it getting lost!

We also saw a lot of things that I don’t think we’d have ever come across or known about if we hadn’t done the guided run, as your guide is a local they know all about the interesting parts of Brussels and the history behind them. It’s much more interesting than just reading it out of a guide book.

Alex was also happy to give us recommendations about where to eat and drink and also where to avoid!

Plus, it burnt off enough calories to cancel out all the beer and waffles (ha, it totally didn’t but that’s what I’m telling myself)!

2 hours sight jogging = lots of beer
2 hours sight jogging = lots of beer

If you’re off on holiday and want:

  • To do a bit of running
  • Learn about the place your staying
  • Meet a nice like-minded local

I would whole heartedly recommended sight jogging. Most major cities seem to have companies that offer it. And it is a great way to get a different view of the place you’re staying in.

We’ve already got one booked in for our summer holiday in Slovenia! Roll on sight jogging Ljubljana






On Friday 22 January we held our 2nd social event, a comedy night.

The evening was a ticket only event, and we were inundated with requests for tickets, so much so that the event was sold out within a couple of weeks. Look how busy it was:

Everyone enjoying Pete's routine
Everyone enjoying Pete’s routine

The main event was local comedian Pete Emmett, who had everyone in stitches during his set. And thankfully most people avoided having to be involved in any ‘audience participation’!

Other highlights included Wendy’s impossibly hard quiz, which had everyone trying to find their funny bone by completing the punch line of some jokes (jokes that would have found pride of place in a Christmas cracker).

There was also a raffle with lots of fab prizes all donated by fellow Pumas.

Have a look through the gallery below at some snaps from the evening:

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A special thank you goes out to our wonderful kitchen assistants Alan, Andy and Luke. The boys did a fab job of getting the food ready and served up.

Keep your eyes peeled for our next social event, it’s sure to be fab…

Northowram Pumas Running Club held their Christmas party at the Halifax Bierkeller on Friday 13th November 2015.

The event was the Club’s first social event and thirty Pumas were on the party list. The evening started with drinks at Northowram Community Sports & Activity Club followed by a quick taxi ride to the Bierkeller venue, The Arches at Dean Clough Mills.

The best Oompah band in Britain, The Amazing Bavarian Stompers provided the entertainment for the evening. The Pumas had an amazing evening dancing on chairs with steins in hand and eating bratwurst and chips.

A disco with lots of dancing continued into the early hours and a few of the more hard core party goers made it into town for more fun and dancing.

The night was so successful that the Bierkeller will become an annual event on the Club’s social calendar.

Thank you to Wendy Hewitt and Ian Marshall for organising the event and thank you to the very generous Neil Coupe for the table wine.

If you missed out, then don’t forget to get tickets to our next social event before they sell out!