Management Board 

Main Officer Bearers

President: Gerry Carson
Chairman: David Abrahams
Vice- Chair: Paul Lawther
Honorary Treasurer: Tony Wall

Vice-Presidents: Trevor Alderdice & John Glover


Mr David Abrahams, Mr Paul Lawther, Mr Michael Cooke, Mr Bernie O'Callaghan,  Mrs Barbara Scott, Dr Ian Taylor, Ms Kathryn Walls, Mr Tony Wall, Mr David Seaton, Ms Valerie McDonough, Mr David Marrs.

Management Board Meeting Summaries

Please see below the summary documents of the recent Management Board Meetings:

2nd December 2020

27th January 2021

18th February 2021

10th March 2021

28th April 2021

16th June 2021


Introducing the Athletics NI Management Board

Chair: David Abrahams



David is the Charity & Commercial Manager for Marsh Ltd Belfast - providing Insurance and Risk Management Advice to many commercial organisations in Northern Ireland and Great Britain. He is currently a member of Glens Runners. Previously he competed for Gloucester AC, Essex Beagles AC and finally Ballymena and Antrim AC.

Back in the early 80's David competed for Great Britain and Northern Ireland in a number of international meetings. The highlights of his career were a 4th place at the 1982 Brisbane Commonwealth Games representing England and breaking the British Indoor High Jump record in 1983. One of the most satisfying and unlikely medals won along the way was a silver medal in the Midland Counties AAA Decathlon.

In his working life David was previously a partner in a local Insurance Brokerage where he learnt the skills required to run a business and is now working for a multinational organisation in a management role which in itself requires a different set of skills. In addition to his people and budget management role David specialises in providing Insurance and Risk Management advice to Charities and Not for profit organisations.

David brings to the board wide management experience, an athlete’s perspective, and diverse background that he believes will help him guide the organisation forward through the many challenges that present themselves. He wants to see Athletics NI deliver a vibrant and inclusive sport that we can all be proud of.

Vice-Chair: Paul Lawther


Paul has been a Board member since August 2020 and Vice-Chair from November 2020. He was a teacher for twenty years before moving to Belfast Education and Library Board where he held a senior position in education with responsibility for a wide range of educational initiatives relating to school improvement, governance, and teacher education

Paul is a founder member of Annadale Striders (established 1973) and has held a number of positions within the committee since then. As a competitive athlete he represented Great Britain both at Junior and Senior levels in events from the European Junior Championships to the World Student Games and represented Northern Ireland at two Commonwealth Games and Northern Ireland in the World Cross-country. He has run a number of Sub 4 minute miles.

Paul has been involved in athletics for fifty plus years and he hopes that this experience along with work in education can bring a positive and supportive role to Athletics Northern Ireland as it enters a new phase.

Treasurer: Tony Wall


Tony is currently the Treasurer of Athletics NI. He is also the Treasurer of the Northern Ireland Club League and a former Secretary of the Cross Country and Road Running Committee.

Tony works as a lecturer in accounting and business at Ulster University. He is a member of North Down Athletic Club (NDAC) where he is currently the Chair, having held the post of Treasurer prior to this. He also coaches middle distance athletes between the ages of 10 and 14.

Tony competed for NDAC at cross country, road and relay events before injuries caught up with him. He now only takes part in park runs. He represented Northern Ireland in the Masters’ Home Nations Championships in 2008.

Tony enjoys being a board member due to the holistic view it gives him of athletics in both Northern Ireland and further afield. He brings both financial and governance skills to the board.

Track & Field Committee Representative: Barbara Scott

officials-barbararobin.jpgBarbara is the representative for the Track & Field Committee, since taking on the role in 2014. Barbara works as a special needs classroom assistant, a post she loves dearly.

Many years ago, Barbara dipped her toe into the world of athletics when she volunteered to help officiate at a local club meeting in which her children were competing. She was hooked and has never looked back, even though her children have moved on. Over the years Barbara progressed through the UKA Officiating Pathway and is now a Level 4 Field Official and an Assistant Track Official.

Barbara has officiated at many competitions for UK Athletics including; British Universities (BUCS), Inter-counties (CAU), European Indoor Championships and most memorably 2017 World Championships and World Para Championships at the Olympic Stadium. She has gained many experiences from these competitions and strives to bring that knowledge and experience to her Athletics NI officiating duties.

Now, as a Board Member, she feels it is a privilege working alongside a group of individuals who all have the same commitment. The Board is the backbone of the organisation and members work towards making Athletics NI an example of best practice, providing all necessary support to allow our athletes to enjoy the sport and perform to the best of their ability.

Cross Country & Road Running Committee Representative: David Seaton MBE


David previously worked for Commercial Union, now Aviva, and retired in 1999 as Trading Manager. He joined Sports Council for NI in 2000 where he was involved in assessing Lottery Grants for Elite Sportspeople and retired again in 2006.

Between 1962 and 1987, David was a member of North Belfast Harriers, before moving to North Down Athletic Club where he has remained a member ever since.

David has competed for Northern Ireland as a Marathon runner and Track athlete (3000 metres steeplechase) as well as being Team Manager on several occasions at the World Cross Country Championships. After that he became more involved in the administration side of things.

David has been involved in local athletics since 1958 as an athlete, official, team manager, coach and race organiser. He has held the following important roles:

  • 1972 - 1976 Member Cross Country Committee
  • 1976 - 2006 Chair Cross Country Committee
  • 2006 - 2019 Chair Athletics Northern Ireland
  • 1992 - 2019 Race Director Belfast City Marathon
  • 2014 - 2019 Chair Belfast City Marathon
  • 2019 - Present Chair Cross Country Committee

In addition to business and management experience gained over many years David likes to think he brings a genuine and enthusiastic love and knowledge of athletics to the table. As someone who, over the years, has got so much out of athletics he is pleased to have the opportunity, as a Board Member, to put something back into our wonderful sport.

NI Mountain Running Representative: Dr Ian Taylor


Ian is a retired Mathematics lecturer from Ulster University and a member of the Belfast Association of Rock Climbers and Fell Runners (BARF). Ian has taken part in over 750 mountain running, road, cross-country and challenge events since 1982 over distances from 1 mile - 100 miles. He has a marathon PB of 3:06, and a half marathon PB of 1:25.

Ian has sat on a number of athletics committees and held important roles, including:

  • ANI Board 2003 - present
  • NI Mountain Running Committee 1989 - present
  • NI Ultra Committee 2019 - present
  • British Athletics Mountain Running Advisory Committee 1999 – 2006 & 2009 - present
  • Athletics NI President 2018 - 2020
  • NIMRA President 2014 - Present

Ian has financial, governance and strategic skills through membership and treasurer roles in a variety of charitable organisations and not for profit companies.

Being on the Athletics NI Board enables him to see the bigger picture of athletics, allows him to contribute to its smooth and efficient organisation, and appreciate its substantial growth and development over the last twenty years.

Athletics Ireland Representative: Bernie O'Callaghan


Bernie is a member of the Board of AAI and has been a member of the Competition, Coaching and Juvenile Committee. He is member of Killybegs AC. He is a retired EOD Officer in the Irish Army and served with the UN in the Lebanon.

A former Irish International Bernie won seven National Senior titles and six team titles. He was national race walking coach from 1977 until 2009, and Irish endurance and throws coach at the World Track championships in Edmonton in 2001 and Paris in 2003. Bernie managed or coached Ireland at over twenty European or World events, appointed an IAAF Race Walking Judge in 1994 he officiated at events all over the world including the World Championships in London, Pan Am Games in Lima and European Olympics in Baku.

Bernie enjoys being a member of the ANI Board because he feels that he is making a difference.

Independent Board Member: Valerie McDonough


Valerie has been an independent member of the Board since August 2020. Currently, she works as the Development Manager at Holywood Steiner School.

 A native of Tipperary, Valerie has been an active member of North Down AC since moving to Northern Ireland. Her interest in the promotion of the club, administration and governance led to a period of time on the committee and as Chairperson of the club from 2014-2018.

 Valerie started road running as an adult, supporting her rowing activity at University. An international career in banking and finance followed allowing her to develop skills in financial analysis, strategic planning, management and marketing.

 Valerie is pleased to be the Safeguarding Champion on the Board, ensuring the protection of children and young adults is kept to the fore across the sport.

Independent Board Member: David Marrs


As a Chartered Civil Engineer David has worked in the construction industry for over 35 years. His current positions include Technical Director of specialist geotechnical contractors Retain Solutions Ltd and Partner in the forensic engineering firm TBM Consultants.

With a lifelong love of sport, David combined representing Northern Ireland as a sprinter and playing rugby for Ulster in the 1980’s. His involvement in athletics spans over 40 years as an athlete, parent and currently as an official.

As an Independent board member David looks forward to playing his part to oversee good governance of the resources available to Athletics NI. He is committed to promoting increased participation levels by ensuring that athletes have access to coaching, modern facilities and local competitions.

Independent Board Member: Clare Duffield


Clare is an Athletics NI affiliated member of Willowfield Harriers and sport plays a big part of her family life. She is a passionate age-group athlete and enjoys competing at home and abroad in triathlon and road running events.

Clare is currently the Director of Human Resources and Legal Services at the Education Authority and is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. With over 15 years’ experience in both private and public sector service delivery organisations she brings a range of business, governance and leadership skills to the Athletics NI Board.

Independent Board Member: Kathryn Walls


A member of Willowfield AC, Kathryn took up running at the age of 34 and competes regularly for her club in road and cross-country events from 5k through to marathon distance. While she tries to combine holidays with racing where possible, she finds her pbs are always attained competing locally - nothing is as motivating as having other board members dotted around (and sometimes on) the course!

A qualified corporate solicitor with over 15 years’ experience, Kathryn is a Senior In-House Lawyer with international law firm, Allen & Overy. She advises the business on a range of risk and regulatory matters with a particular focus on technology and innovation. Kathryn brings a broad skillset to the Board, with a particular understanding of legal risk issues as well as best practice corporate governance.

Since taking up running, Kathryn has come to appreciate the huge value it can have on individuals at all levels of activity and on wider society. She joined the Board in order to support the work of Athletics NI in attracting more people to the sport and helping every individual get the most out of it. Kathryn has taken on the role of Equality Champion on the Board to support the efforts of Athletics NI in making it a truly inclusive sport.