New Zealand

Our Board

Trust Board

Kevin Grimwood

Board Chair

Kevin brings a wealth of experience holding Board positions and working with government agencies and not for profits.

An accomplished trail and ultra runner, Kevin has been a volunteer coach with our genesis group supporting Speed Freaks in multiple events.

Raelene Rees

Board Member

Chartered Accountant and part-time runner, more enthusiasm than ability!

Sitting at a desk all day means that it’s a necessity to extend myself on the w/end, out there in all weathers doing stuff with others – running, biking, multisport, I’ll give most things a go…. In my day job I’m helping clients with their IRD responsibilities, and caring for their business so that they can do what they do best, and leave all the numbers stuff to me.

Our main office is at Riccarton, and we have a small office in Rangiora, I am also the South Island Regional Manager for Venus Women’s Business Group.

I don’t have a lot of down time lol, but when I do it would involve a book and a seat outside.

Raelene Rees

Associate Professor

Andy Towers

Board Member

Andy is an Associate Professor in Health Sciences and the Co-Director of the Mental Health and Addiction Programme at Massey University (Manawatu). His teaching and research focus particularly on understanding the social determinants of addiction in Aotearoa New Zealand and the changing nature of alcohol and other drug use across the lifespan. Andy also works with a number of government and non-government organisations on projects related to enhancing the mental health and addiction workforce. Outside of work Andy spends a lot of time with his wife and daughters, but when he can he runs for fun, loves chopping wood and does a lot of DIY on their run-down old farm house.

Anna Christophorou

Programme Director

Anna is our Programme Director and Charity Founder.

A registered social worker with 25 years experience in the addiction and mental health sector Anna brings a wealth of experience, from needle exchange to service development, leadership and management positions.

A drive for better out comes for those with addiction and complex needs has led Anna to champion innovative startups in the sector both in the UK and here. In 2021, after seeing the impact of the genesis running group at Odyssey House, Anna made the bold move to leave her job and establish the Speed Freaks Trust with a $20k bank loan, the support of volunteer coaches and a whole lot of determination the charity began.

Staff Team and Representatives

Eden Carson

Project Coordinator Tāmaki Makaurau

1 year ago I began as a Peer Support Worker and 1 year on I am super excited my new role as Project Coordinator. Speed Freaks gives me an opportunity to combine a few of my passions in life: running, the running community, forming bonds and connections, being outdoors in nature and my passion for supporting people in their recovery journey to wellness. Speed Freaks is cutting edge and progressive program. I am very blessed to be a part of the great team: volunteers, coaches and employees who have a vision to change lives. I believe in #speedfreaksmagic.

Kimberly Gibbons

Project Coordinator Ōtautahi

Kia ora koutou, my names Kimberley and I’m proud to be a peer volunteer with the Speed Freaks in Ōtautahi. I have lived experience with meth addiction and am on a recovery journey of my own. I joined the Speed Freaks whanau in January 2022, and since then I have gone from strength to strength with my running. As well as being great for my physical and mental health I love the connection that comes with the Speed Freaks, I’m happy to say I have gained some life long friends. I am excited to see the Speed Freaks grow, let’s spread the Speed Freaks magic.

Wendy Bettjeman

Peer Support Worker Ōtautahi

I’m excited to share in everyone’s journey as a Peer Support Worker here at Speed Freaks. I have a background in community mental health support, sport and recreation. As well as my own personal mental health journey. 

I have a genuine passion for helping others. Especially connecting, motivating and helping people lead vibrant and fulfilling lives. Speed Freaks is the perfect combination of my passions – exercise, connection, people, outdoors and wellbeing. I am here to cheer you on every step of the way! 

Simone Winter

Peer Support /Navigator Tāmaki Makaurau

I am in my 5th year of recovery and in March 2022 I decided to join Speed Freaks for an extra layer in my recovery, since joining Speed Freaks I have gone from strength to strength, made some great connections and encountered at bit of mud.

Excited to beginning my employment with Speed Freaks From February 2024.

Stephanie Schnoor

Volunteer Trainer

I hail from the vibrant rainbow nation of South Africa and have called New Zealand home since 2016. I have a background in Clinical Social work with over 17 years of experience working and managing programmes within specialist areas of mental health and addiction. Running has been my own avenue to support my mental wellbeing and the platform in which I have made lifelong friends and connections. Running and people – Two of my favourite things and what better opportunity to combine these passions in the work with the Speed Freaks.

Kaley Crawford-Flett

Coach Representative

Kaley is a part of the Speed Freaks community in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland. With a background spanning a wide range of socio-economic, professional, sporting, and educational environments, Kaley views running (and walking) as a common ‘language’ that unites people and grows social connections in times of need. While her day job focuses on civil engineering resilience, Kaley views the Speed Freaks as a much-needed vehicle to help build social and community resilience.

Ben Fraser

Coach Representative

I’m very proud to be a volunteer Speed Freaks coach here in Tāmaki Makaurau. The Speed Freaks Kaupapa of building connection, health and wellbeing through the vehicle of group runs is in-line with my values and in my personal experience it works. It’s brings me so much joy to watch men and woman grow and build pro social relationships through the #speedfreaksmagic Most of all, being involved with the Speed Freaks is fun and I genuinely look forward to my Speed Freaks runs each week. Ben Fraser

Hadani Woodruff

Coach Representative – Ōtautahi

Hello my name is Hadani, I love being a part of the Speed Freak family encouraging and supporting others in their recovery journey.

I loooove running and I have a keen interest in how running and exercise effects our mental and physical wellbeing.

Running is so much more than just healthy exercise. It can be used as a grounding tool, to create structure and routine in ones life, to set manageable goals, to meet fabulous people and to build ones self-esteem. Let’s go!

Braeden Thompson

Coach Representative

“Kia Ora, my names Braeden and I’ve been involved with the speed freaks since the first community run in Ōtautahi and started coaching in January 2022. I love the whānau vibes of supporting each other seeing the participants in the programme accomplish their goals, it is rewarding to be alongside them and experience the hype from the finish line at events.

The tāutoko and mana I have for our speed freaks makes me proud to be part of it. I don’t come from a background of recovery personally but I have a passion for running and seeing positive changes in community organisations that are advocates for people”.

Gareth Edwards

Peer Representative

Hi, my name is Gareth I’m 46 years old, I met the Speed Freaks whilst at Odyssey House in 2021. Fresh out of jail and looking to change my life, I first met our wonderful coaches on our Thursday afternoon park runs, these fine people give up their own lunch time to support the residents. I’ve now been running over 2 years and have completed many running events. More than anything I’m also 2 years clean, have made some wonderful friends and have smashed some personal goals, running and otherwise. I am now proud to say I’m a peer volunteer with the Speed Freaks.

Darg Martin

Peer Representative

I have been running with the Speed Freaks since they first set up in Auckland over a year ago. I make sure I get along to runs and events as much as I can, rain or shine as it’s so good for my wellbeing and gives me a chance to give back to the recovery community.