Meet Our Team Captains


Grant Hopkins – Men’s Team Captain.

I joined Reading Roadrunners in the summer of 2016 just after I moved from South Wales. Firstly to make new friends with similar interests in the area, and also to try and finally make running a real ‘to do’. I had started running in 2015, completing my first marathon with virtually no training, and no idea of training specifically, incorporating long runs into my plan, and generally looking after my body.

I still maintained a very lackadaisical approach to my running, until I signed up to my hometown marathon to be completed in April 2018. The autumn of 2017 is when I started attending track sessions a lot more regularly, and I also joined the RR Sunday long run group, which took away most of the arduous long solo training runs. Since then, my running has gone from strength to strength. This is due to a mixture of wanting to improve, and the camaraderie in the club and the friendships I have formed, which have helped me push on even more.

Reading Roadrunners is a very inclusive club, and we would love to see more and more of you don our green vests at events, where you would become an important part of our team (and get to sample the fantastic cakes our female captain Sam bakes – they’re worth attending for alone!).

I have spent the last 18 months or so becoming more ingrained in the club, as well as boring people to tears with my endless chit chat! Please do come say hello if you see me at track or out at events or on a training run. Be prepared for your ears to bleed!

Sam Whalley – Women’s Team Captain

I have been a member of Reading Roadrunners since 2015. I had barely ever exercised before I moved to Reading from London in 2006, then found that living near a lake and so many parks made it so much easier to get out there and run!

I trained for a few 10ks, and ran my first half marathon in 2010. Then the combination of a dodgy knee and teacher training workload meant that I put running on the back burner for a while (I can’t imagine doing that now!). My interest in running was rekindled when David Walliams swam the Thames. I was so inspired that I entered my whole family into the Sport Relief Mile, and we trained together.

On race day, my husband and I realised that our children (twin girls aged 9, and a boy of 12) were actually really good at running (we could barely keep up), and it grew from there. As a family, we became regulars at Woodley parkrun, where I am now the Event Director, and were motivated to enter more and more races.

I met many people who were Reading Roadrunners, and was intrigued by the camaraderie of the green vests, and secretly envious of the support they always received in races. I joined just after my first marathon (I got a ballot place for London on my first attempt – result!), and have never looked back.

Being a Reading Roadrunner has taught me how to warm up and stretch properly, how to pace myself, that I even have different paces, how to run up and down hills, and that I can be a valuable member of a team. I never thought I would love cross country, but I do. I never thought I would run solo along an unsigned stretch of the Ridgeway, but I have. I never thought I would want to spend a whole weekend running and camping, but I can’t help but join in, every year.

As captain of the women’s team, I aim to encourage as many female members as possible to have a go at representing the club at new distances and events – mud, hills, camping and all; I look forward to running with you!

Both of our Team Captains can be contacted on