Our Coaches

Andy Howse

As an “athlete”, my forte has always been endurance (my heroes are Paula, Seb, and Mo).  I’m
most competitive, apparently, at marathon distance (PB 2.37) and really enjoy cross country, the
fells and other off-road racing. However, the legs don’t turn over as fast as they used to, and
whilst I still run a lot, coaching is the natural next step as it allows me to encourage others to
work hard, improve and hit goals.  I’m a big believer in varying your training – if you always run
the same distance at the same pace on the same terrain, you will struggle to fulfill your potential.
So shake it up when you are out there!
Recently qualified as a Coaching Assistant, I can be found on Tuesdays and Thursdays helping
out the middle distance and endurance athletes.

Andy Sorton

I restarted running when I heard about parkrun in 2013.
I knew that my sister’s best friend had been a member of Poole Runners for many
years and my fiancée Jo and I joined as social members in 2017.
I enjoy the many social and training runs with other club runners. In 2018, I entered
most of the races in the club championships and earlier this year I attended a 1 day
Leadership in Running Fitness course to give me the skills, knowledge and
confidence to take joint responsibility (with Jo) for the Monday evening ‘Plod’.

Carol Wakeley

In 2016 I did the C25K course with PR having never done any running before or even imagining
that running could be something I would enjoy. But, there began a new hobby. I now run
regularly and have entered several local races and one national one in London. I love the social
side of running and have met many new friends. I have recently gained a LiRF certificate and
hope that through helping in the C25K programme I can encourage and support others to begin
their running journey and believe in themselves too.

Claudia Howse

I joined Poole Runners in 2014.
I am a LiRF and a level 2 qualified field official.
I currently run 4/5 times a week. I enjoy the social side of running with club mates and the
competition of racing on and off road from mile to half marathon distances both on road and cross
As a junior athlete I won the Dorset high jump in 1980 and my pb was 1.54m. I was a then a
reluctant runner but raced a few 200m’s and the Wessex League cross country each winter. I got
into coaching because I enjoyed helping at after school athletics/cross country clubs and events.
Now our children our older I have more time to help others enjoy and improve their athletic skills. I
loved my teenage years at athletics events and training track. I can now be found coaching jumps on
a Thursday evening.

Dave Cartwright

Dave has been a runner for many, many, years – joined Poole Runners in
the mid 1990s when he moved down from the Midlands. A Stoke City
supporter, he has always been well up the age-group national rankings,
and recently ran the 3 rd fastest marathon run by a British over 70 man
that has ever been run.
A qualified Coaching Assistant and Leader in Running Fitness, he can be
found on Tuesday evenings helping out at Lockyers’ sessions.

Dave Ozanne

Long time coach Dave Ozanne has been taking our Tuesday night
endurance group for many years, initially alongside Rupert, then since he
stepped down, taking them on pretty much independently. Trained both as
a Coach in Running Fitness and a Track Coach, Dave has a great breadth
of experience, having also been a Team Manager for our track teams and
prodigious racer.

Esther Downes

I joined Poole Runners start of 2015 as a new runner and soon after was given the opportunity to oversee
a new Couch to 5k programme. I have since completed my Lirf, assistant coach and Cirf and so proud
of how many runners have succeeded in the programme. I love to support, motivate and encourage
people, so have been drawn to beginner and intermediate runners, but can coach all abilities. I like to
make running fun but tough! I love setting my own goals to push me forward in training, inc marathon
distances. I hold nutrition and wellness qualifications and have experience of pre and postnatal
running, working with mental health and people with varying support needs. Any questions, please

Gavin Newbury

I joined Poole Runners back in 2002 and Track and Field has always been where my
loyalties have laid – particularly in the long and triple jump. In 2011 I
came 4th in English Schools Championshipsin Triple Jump, a particularly
proud achievement to go along with numerous other appearances and
medals at regional, county and club level. In 2016 I took a step back from
the club to focus on longer distance running and triathlons but watched
from a distance as the club grew. I did my first coaching course in 2011
and another in 2013. I was honoured to be asked to coach horizontal
jumps in March 2019 and now do that most Thursdays at Ashdown. I will
be completing my Club Coaching badgeover the winter of 2019. The club
currently boasts a fine selection of very talented jumpers with drive and
ambition and I look forward to what the future may hold.

Haydn Morris

I joined the club in its infancy, ran track, road and cross-country, so did my girls. Older age, work
pressure and injuries forced a stop. I never took a conscious decision to coach or officiate, but
enjoyed participating and took courses. Little equates to the reward of an athlete progressing and
really enjoying sport; whether in terms of self-confidence, success at events or friendships. My aim: to
help each young athlete achieve their best, improve technically, be confident in what they do and with
others, and encourage taking confidence, respect and friendship forward into adult life.
I now enjoy coaching our under 15 middle distance runners plus helping out with the Quad Kids and
am at Ashdown on most Thursdays and at Lockyers on Saturdays (QuadKids) and often on Tuesdays
at Lockyers (middle-distance).

Jo Coney-Lax

I completed the couch to 5k program with Esther in 2016 before becoming a regular at the
plod. I joined Poole Runners in 2017 and in 2019 took over the running of the plod with my
partner Andy. I have also recently completed the Lirf course.

Joe Astley

Joe joined Poole Runners aged 6, before we had our minimum age of 8.
Immediately he showed immense promise. Over the years as a junior he
was a very talented 400m runner, running under 49 seconds and High
Jumper, 1.95m officially although he did clear 2.00m in training (so he
says). After a few years out, he got asked to take a High Jump session
once at the start of 2019 and since then we haven’t been able to get rid
of him!

Jon Boyle

Jon was one of the club’s most versatile members when an active athlete,
and famously would compete non-stop in club matches as a senior
because he wanted to, in everything from jumps, throws, sprints and both
relays. He was part of the Dorset Schools team that came 2nd at the
English Schools Multi-Event Championships, all the team being Poole
Runners and holds the club record in all sorts of events. He has a PB in
the Decathlon in excess of 6000 points.
Jon is now coaching our throwers.

Josie Harris

I have been running since 2014 after completing the couch to 5k app. I gained my LiRF qualification in March 2019 and hope to get more involved in leading runs and sessions with Poole Runners in the future.

I am a middle distance runner who prefers running slowly on trails than fast on road! I am also keen to try Cani-cross running with my 6 year old Labradoodle, Freddy.

I am mum to Lily (11) and Eva (9) and you can usually find us at Ashdown track on Thursday evenings!

Kirsty Cooper

I first became involved in coaching in April 2016 when Poole Runners launched our first Couch to 5km course, and I completed the LiRF qualification in April 2017. To date, my focus within the club has been on helping beginner adult runners, having been a Leader on all of our Couch to 5km courses to date plus our follow-on Progression Groups (5km to 10km). Following my daughter joining the Under 18 section however, I am now also starting to get more involved with the junior section and will be completing my Coaching Assistant course in June 2019.

Lea Short

There are no bounds to Lea’s talents. Not only does she help coach wherever we need some help – High Jump last week as I write this, middle distance the week before, Long Jump the week before that, but she is a Qualified Official and also is a mean photographer, having taken virtually every photo in this section! Lea can be found trackside on a Thursday and a Monday – holding a stopwatch or measuring tape as appropriate. Lea has recently taken up the Hammer throw, and competed in her first event representing Poole Runners at the 2019 Ashdown Open Track & Field Meeting.

Lee Pidgley

I started running 3 years ago but struggled with motivation and structure. Then a friend introduced me to the Poole runners C25k group, I successfully completed the 10 week course and ran my first ever 5k race which was great fun, I’ve even gone on to run the Bournemouth half marathon last year, and this year completed my LiRF training and currently helping where it all started for me the c25k course, I have met some amazing people and made new friends in the last 3 years and look forward to continuing helping and encouraging others achieve something they never thought possible

Les Turner

I joined Poole Runners 25+ years ago and am now the club’s Sprints Lead Coach. I took my son to Juniors then as we spread the word and grew I became a coach. I took on the sprinters, as at 39 found i could sprint reasonably well. I have finished 6 marathons (London x 4, NY and the first Gloucester) and most distances below. Running is now restricted by Parkinson’s and Diabetes. Sprinting is controlled, explosive, relaxed running, which demands a smooth style of running. It’s nice to be the nasty man and suggest doing 400m from time to time. I am at Ashdown on Mondays and Thursdays training our sprinters from age 11 upwards, including a British international veteran.

Lita Short

Lita is a long time member, keen road runner, cross country runner and track athlete but is also often found at the track on Mondays and Thursdays helping our youngest members in their sessions. Lita is a very talented steeplechaser, ranked in the UK top 20 in her age group.

Louise Burridge

My love of running started many years ago in Junior school when I was part of the athletics squad focusing on short distance running and being part of the relay team.  Although I didn’t continue athletics during Secondary school I did re-ignite my love of fitness again later when I joined a gym and became a social runner.   To challenge myself further I decided to join a running club and having run with the friendly ‘Plod’ group on a Monday night the choice to join Poole Runners was easy.  I have been a member of Poole Runners since 2016 and have taken part in many races, from 5k to half marathons.  In 2017 I gained my LiRF qualification so I could confidently lead and support the Couch to 5k groups.  I thoroughly enjoy motivating and encouraging new runners and seeing them achieve their running dream.

Matt East

Matt oversees senior runner’s track training sessions for middle and long distance runners of all abilities, ably supported by other members of the coaching team.

He helps other coaches with their sessions throughout the week when needed and other athletes when asked to, with their wider training plans.

Mel Langer

I’ve been a part of the running community for just over fourteen years and a Poole Runner for twelve years. Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to have been supported and encouraged by runners at all stages and have benefited from the experience and guidance of those who have gone before me. I completed my Leadership in Running Fitness training in 2017 and joined the Couch to 5km team because I wanted to give back to the running community. It’s an honour to be a part of this brilliant programme and to welcome new faces to the running community.

Neil Chivers

Neil has been a member of Poole Runners since about the age of 13. He can still be found sprinting at the track very regularly. He has also joined our Coaching Assistants team of coaches and helps out Les Turner, our Sprints Lead Coach when necessary, on Monday and Thursday evenings at Ashdown.

Paul Viney

I have been running now for about 8/9 years and I have been involved in the couch programme since it started. I love seeing how, like myself, people can start from nothing to go on to do whatever they want!! The running family is so caring and welcoming , I like to help people start running so they also can meet great people and have some amazing friends and experiences. I have run short to long distances but most of  all I run to keep healthy and enjoy friendships. I completed my Lirf so I could help lead groups for Couch programme.

Rupert Pepper

I started coaching while at university way back in the 1990s, having been a (not particularly good) runner at school. When I returned from university I started the club’s junior section in 1996.

Over the years I coached runners from all events from 400m upwards, plus multi-eventers, although my favourite event is the steeplechase. I have coached national champions & British internationals in seniors and junior age groups and across all types of events.  In 2011 I was awarded the South West Performance Coach of the Year Award.

I stopped coaching when family and work commitments wouldn’t allow and I was appointed the club’s Coaching Co-ordinator at the start of 2019 to help align coaching strategy and to mentor our coaching team, which I have continued until the end of June. Now I still do a bit of online coaching and help mentor some of our endurance coaches. I enjoy coaching all abilities and ages so long as people are looking to improve themselves.

Ryan O’Hara

I have been a member of Poole Runners for 3 years and one of the most enjoyable aspects for me has been leading groups on our Couch 2 5K course. I have a leadership in running fitness (LiRF) qualification from British Athletics and alongside the ‘technical stuff’ I love to see the positive impact that running has on people’s lives. To help people to achieve goals that they previously thought out of their reach is extremely rewarding and is why I’ve been involved in the last 3 couch courses and hope to be involved with many more!

Sarah Swift

I joined Poole Runners in 2013. Over time, I have performed various club roles, including Ladies Captain, Club Secretary and now Competitions Secretary. I did my LiRF qualification so I would be confident and skilled to lead our Wednesday evening groups. I take part in races most weekends, ranging from 800m to marathon distance, on all 3 surfaces (road, cross country & a little bit of track). I am the Dorset County record holder for Masters Women 800m with 2:49:6 and my marathon PB is 3:29:02

Steve Claxton

I first joined the club about 2006 (I think), I spent a few years enjoying racing and just being part of the team. Then about 2015 I got a bit of coaching and structured training which led to me getting my marathon PB down to 2h36 and doing well in a few ultra marathons. I am moving into coaching to help others improve as I want to help others achieve their potential. Long distance is what i know and enjoy. I have recently qualified as an Assistant Coach. Steve can usually be found wearing his Norwich City FC shorts out and about somewhere.

Dean Wilkinson

My athletic background was initially in swimming and subsequently in triathlon, competing in standard distance, middle distance and Ironman distance events throughout Europe. I am a qualified circuit trainer, assistant athletics coach and LIRF. I am scheduled to complete both my full athletics coaches course and the STA Open water swimming coaches course later this year. Whilst working in London I was an assistant athletics coach with Belgrave Harriers and since returning home have, along with Kirsty, supported Haydn coaching the junior endurance team. My main interest is developing our junior athletes to help them achieve their goals.

Dean Wilkinson - Coach - Poole Runners