Coaches Gallery

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Head Coach

Ian Jones


First fond memories of running as a 6-7 yr old at primary school challenging self to how many laps of the playground could be done during break times – in shoes. Probably initiated from the relentless jogging as a toddler needed to keep up with mother during any outing to the shops. Those early training sessions developed some sort of endurance!

Secondary school confirmed I wasn’t born with fast twitch fibres, always finishing last in the 100m and I was rubbish at cricket too. But with some planned misbehaviour when the PE teacher thought a reasonable punishment was to run laps of the playing fields instead, off I went very happy. I also smashed the school cross-country records before leaving school then went on to college and made new ones there too. Did ok at cycling and got wear a GB jersey on several occasions and a few years racing in France too. Then reality kicked in and mundane life took over instead. Joined BHR in 2003 and competed in distances from 5k to marathon, although 10k to half marathon being my favourite distances. Been coaching for the last 5 years and adore watching our runners improve in all aspects of their running. Special interests are functions and dysfunctions of muscles.

Head Coach

Leigh Smith


I hated running at school, 1500 metres on sports day was not an enjoyable experience for me. I loved football and played until I was 30 years old, having to give up due to work commitments I decided to start running with my wife to keep her safe at night and we both joined BHR. My wife decided to race triathlon but I stayed with the club. It wasn’t long before I ran my first 10k and the bug took hold of me. Ive ran every distance from 5k to marathon and learnt the hard way how to train and stay fit during the long training cycles, after missing out on London marathon due to injury my passion became injury prevention.

Viv Smith


I started running in 2012 when I did a couple of 5k race for life races to see if I could run and to keep fit, but my running journey really started when I joined the BHR Tuesday group in 2014. My first week at the club was running up a hill which I said (repeatedly) I couldn’t do and after lots of encouragement I managed it! But this didn’t put me off as I came back every week to see how far I could get without stopping. Since joining I have run a few 10k’s and half marathons. After this I said I wanted to try and run a marathon, so I ran the Brighton Marathon in 2017. This was meant to be my only one, however I have now achieved 4! I love running as it makes me feel great and everyone at the club are so friendly.

I completed my LiRF course in August 2019 to help and give something back to the club for all the encouragement and support I’ve had over the years and hope to do the same to others along the way.

Stuart Condie

UK Athletics L2

First started running at school in cross country; won South London Schools and London Schools team events and did 800m to reasonable level. Then nothing much (other than beer women and football) till I joined BHR in 1993. Been a qualified coach since 2000 and am currently on the Local Coach Development Programme. Also elected as Regional Councillor for England Athletics and strong armed onto the Sussex Network.bIn competitions I’ve done most running events from 60m indoor sprint to the marathon (never again!) with both BHR and HHH for track events. I hold several M40 and M50 HHH club records for sprint events, got a UK ranking of 15 in 2007/8 for M50 sprints, and an SGP ranking of 6th over 2010-13. Am now concentrating on 5m/10k/XC type events.

Angie Bower


I joined BHR back in 2010 along with my daughters who shortly afterwards moved away and left the club. My husband declared that now I was going to the club alone, I would never keep it up! Ten years on, 3 marathons, 11 half- marathons and a few fun runs later, I am still here.

After retiring from teaching, I qualified as a coach, first as a LiRF and then more recently as a CiRF.

I love encouraging others to perform to the very best of their ability and to enjoy the many benefits that running offers: physically, mentally and socially. I am still running at 63 years old and loving it!

Liz Cooper

UK Athletics L2

I was introduced to running around sixteen years to add to my then current sporting interests of netball, tennis and cycling. I only started to take running more seriouslywhen I was challenged to compete in my first half marathon in Stroud by a friend, who is now my husband!! I then moved to Sussex and became a member of BHR and loved the support, encouragement and friendly nature of the club. I have competed in races up to marathon distance and became a coach around eight years ago and love seeing the progress people can make with a little encouragement and self belief. In 2011, I started the daytime running group for the club which continues to go from strength to strength and in 2014 became the Head Coach.

Helen Pratt


2010 ... The 1st Brighton marathon . I entered it with no intention of running it . I did it and managed to run some of it. This was enough to get the bug ! That September I joined Burgess Hill runners . A wonderful, friendly , encouraging running club, who cheer on and encourage all abilities ..from the fastest to the slowest . I have since run 4 marathons and several halves , 10k etc . I dont find it easy but love the sense of achievement and challenge. I have been a LiRF for 2 years helping with the Tuesday group and now the Wednesday groups . It Is great to see how people develop their running . It is lovely to see those who , when the start say " I can't do it " after a while get up that big hill . Or even cross the finishing line at the end of an event .

Kim Gow


I joined BHR when it was a very small club, there were about 20 of us having been running previously with a couple of friends. I have since seen it grow to the huge welcoming, inspirational, diverse and friendly group we are today.

I was asked to become a coach when I went part time as a teacher in 2015. More recently I took a further qualification to become a CIRF. I have run two marathons, London and Beachy Head but find that shorter and hopefully faster courses are more my thing. I have run countless 10K’s, park runs 5K round the Olympic park and the mile on the track at K2.

I enjoy running and the benefits it gives me both physically, mentally, emotionally and socially. It’s a great feeling to coach others encouraging them to push themselves to things they never thought possible.

Di Delderfield


I’d watched many London Marathons on TV and felt inspired by the achievements of the runners. My first race was the Burgess Hill ¼ Marathon, in 1995 at the age of 39. A work friend was a Burgess Hill Runner and he told me to run with people from the club. I couldn’t keep up with them but they cheered me on as the course looped around. Because of how good that made me feel, I thought I would go along to a club night. They made me feel like a valued member of the club from Day 1. I’m proud to say that our club has the same principles today. As for marathons, I did my first one in the Year 2000, not as soon as I’d hoped, but to date I have done 34. I think every runner has a marathon in them, only you can decide whether you want to achieve that goal. It does change your life and I know it changed mine. BHR also changed my life, I have many wonderful friends and I met my husband there. I wanted to give something back to the club, so I trained to be a LiRF and with Jan Lavis started the Beginners Group. One of the best things I have ever done. It is very satisfying to see people grow through running. Our beginners have become good friends too. Life is sweet.

Neil Dawson


I ran my first marathon, the Skegness to Boston sea bank event, at the age of 11. However, my early sporting focus was on football and I only started to take running seriously again when injury ended my footballing days.I joined Burgess Hill Runners in 2011 and running has now become a huge focus in my life. I have completed the Dark Star Ultra, 3 Forts Ultra, the Brighton Marathon, and the Steyning Stinger Marathon since joining the club, as well as countless half marathons and all of the West Sussex Fun Run League races. In July 2013 I helped to launch our local parkrun, which takes place each Saturday morning in Haywards Heath and I am the Event Director. I believe firmly in the physical and mental health benefits of running and I decided to take the LiRF qualification in order to help and encourage others to discover and enjoy exercise. I run to keep fit and to socialise. The running community Is a very supportive one and I love how we all encourage each other to improve.

Keith Delderfield


I originally used running as a way to keep fit for other sports such as Rugby and Football, but once injury forced retirement from contact sports I was introduced to running as another outlet for my energies. I was lucky that I worked with the then coach of BHR who invited me along to join in with a few session and I found a group of fun loving runners. That was way back in 1997, I soon found myself immersed within the club, eventually ending up as Chairman for 4 years. The running and coaching inspired me to attempt a marathon and that was it, I got the bug and have now completed 31 marathons. The club has allowed me to meet not only a group of like-minded people but some lifelong friends and I even met my wife here. From assisting over the years in leading various groups I have now stepped up to formally give back something to a club that has given so much to me.

Jean Leak


I started running in 2012 just it improve fitness, but soon the running bug took over and I entered my first half marathon. After successfully completing this race I decided I needed to learn more about running and eventually plucked up the courage to join BHRs in 2013. With my knowledge as a swimming teacher and coach I know how important good training and technique is and therefore deciding to take my running further to help and encourage others. I recently took my LIRF and have started leading groups of all abilities during Tuesday and Wednesday sessions.

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Oliver Day


Running was something that I saw other people doing and wished that I could do. My sister was into running and it was when she ran the London Marathon that I was inspired to perhaps give it a go. My journey started slowly as a New Year’s resolution in 2007. At that time there was no ‘couch to 5k’ program and my start involved old trainers, jogging bottoms and a top. At first I struggled to run around the block, stop-starting as I made it through that 1km distance. I persevered for the first three months, slowly managing to run the 1km distance and then slowly increasing the distance. I stuck to a rigid routine, running the same three nights every week. Slowly I increased my distance up to 5km, using several routes around the town, clockwise and anti-clockwise to break up the routine. It was sometime during the fourth month of running that it slowly took hold of my life. It dawned on me that I was now a runner and it was not so much about how far I could run but just how long it would take me. I had started to really enjoy this new hobby and even started to run at weekends.

I’ve learnt a lot through my own experience and through listening to others. I get a lot of enjoyment trying out new running routes and through keeping training sessions interesting and relevant. It is through enjoyment that I try and impart my training methods. I feel we learn best when we train happy.

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Keith Brown


I joined BHR in January 2015 with the ambition of getting a bit fitter. Having been a tennis player all my life (and still coaching regularly at local clubs and schools) I wanted to get into running but didn’t know where to start. The club has been fantastic in helping me develop in to a confident runner and offering advice whenever it is needed.

In the two years that I have been a member I have now joined the Parkrun 50 club, completed many 10k runs, many of the WSFRL races for the club and 5 half marathons in 2016 in cities such as Belfast and Manchester. My times are improving constantly and I have the club to thank for my continued motivation and love of the sport.

I completed the LIRF course in October 2016 as I want to help out at the club and give something back for everyone that has helped me. I also look forward to using the coaching skills I possess from tennis and applying them to groups of runners.

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Claire Giles


I started running in 2010 that was the Sports Relief 10k never run before - well except in 2007 Race for Life and that was a walk/ little jog after knee op.

Since then I've never looked back - running is part of my life, and has helped me along the way with personal reasons etc.. it makes me feel so good, love the feeling, the friends I have met along the way, the races I have run, and the collection of bling I have :)

I am involved in Brighton & Hove parkrun I'm part of the Core Team there - again I'm addicted to that, and Saturdays aren't the same without parkrun :)

I am a Personal Trainer, Selfie extraordinaire! (Always taking running pics;) )Zumba Instructor, I work at Heights health & fitness as an Instructor & am involved in their social media!

I have run many 5ks, 10ks, Half Marathons, Three Marathons the fourth next year 2018, one Ultra, Second this year 2017, and many more to come ...

Neil Phillpot


I started running in 2006 after injury forced retirement from other sports just to keep my fitness, I very quickly found something that I loved entering my first marathon that year. After successfully completing this race I decided I needed to learn more about running and eventually plucked up the courage to join Burgess Hill Runners.

The running and coaching inspired me to attempt more and more, I've run & raced at all distances from 5k the ultra-distance although 10k to half marathon being my favourite distance.

From assisting with various groups over the years I stepped up to formally give back something to the club. I love seeing the progress that people can make with encouragement and support.

Oliver Jones


My first memory of running was when I was a young boy and in the Cubs. I did a two mile race around Stanmer Park, I managed to finish 2nd that day and for some reason I did not carry on with my running. Later in life I took up football in my late twenties, I played for a few years before I got a bad injury and did not play again. About three years ago I bumped into an old school friend Jay, and he said I should think about joining the running club after I had mentioned I was thinking about running. It took me a while to think about it and did my first 10k in a long time (Burgess Hill 10k) and managed to get round in 55 mins. In October of 2015 I plucked up the courage to go to BHR for my first session and have loved it since. I have done 5k, 10k, 10 mile, Half Marathons and Full Marathons. Beachy Head was my first marathon and very memorable, have done a few more since and more on the horizon. So pleased to be a member of this great club and I am looking for to giving something back and help runners achieve their goals.