Running Clubs In West Yorkshire




runABC North catches up with Michael Murphy from Crossgates Harriers. We find out why the club’s membership has increased dramatically in the last three years and why their motto is ‘no run, no bun’…

Who are Crossgates Harriers?
We were formed in 1986 by a few friends who enjoyed running. There are five or six members who have been with the club for most of those 30 years. Up to two or three years ago we were only a small club with 20+ members but since then our membership has increased and we now have around 70 members. This is mainly due to our local parkrun at Temple Newsam, which has had a big impact on local running. Last year we were given a grant from England Athletics to help fund two coaches to introduce a beginners course. We held our first beginners and improvers courses in September last year and this too increased our membership.

Where and when do you meet up?
We meet on a Wednesday evening at John Smeaton Sports Centre at 7:15pm and have three or four groups to accommodate the different abilities of our members. We also hold a boot camp style training session on a Saturday morning before the parkrun at Temple Newsam. These sessions are taken by LIRF (Leadership in Running Fitness) coaches and focus on strength and agility.

What sort of ages and abilities are the members?
Ages range from 16-76. Members run in parkruns right through to marathons. We even had one member, Marc Lenaghan, complete the Iron Man triathlon in Lanzarote last year.

It’s your 30th anniversary this year. Any big celebrations planned?
We have had commemorative running T-shirts and vests produced celebrating our 30th year. We are having a parkrun takeover in August, which will see us dress up in ‘80s style clothing. We are also planning a meal out and will have a handicap race in August with a special trophy for the winner.

What sort of distances do your sessions cover?
On a club night we usually run around 10k but often the faster group will do extra loops to increase their mileage. We also have a shorter distance to help any new runners.

Do you organise any events or are there any races your members regularly take part in?
We have two handicap events each year for members. These are the individual and team race. We also take over our local parkrun twice a year where we provide all the volunteers for the race and give the runners lots of support and encouragement

Any notable members?
Moira Lenaghan is 76-years-old and can be seen running races almost every week, she is an amazing lady and has won awards in all age categories from 50 upwards and very regularly beats much younger runners. She has run races both in the UK and abroad, including a number of different marathons.

We also have Melvyn Burton who has an incredible statistic to his name that cannot be far off some kind of record. He has run in 303 parkruns at 115 different venues, and this will have increased by the time this goes out to press!

Our female runner of the year for 2015/16 was awarded to Louise Clarke who only started running two years ago and she has gone from zero miles to recently completing London Marathon.

Is there a strong social element to the club?
Many of the members see each other at club night, parkrun and races so we do not get much time to socialise but we do have a Christmas meal and quiz night and of course we are famous for going to the pub after club night and enjoying a drink and cakes which our members bake. In fact our motto is ‘no run, no bun’.

For more information, visit or contact Michael on 07939 074222.Crossgate Harriers



Content first appeared in runABC North magazine August/September 2016