Session Leaders and Coaches

Coaches & Run Leaders

Ponteland Runners/Tri club have two qualified British Cycling Level 2 and British Triathlon Level 2 Qualified Coaches and one CiRF ( Coach in Running Fitness ) who organise and write the sessions delivered by the Club. The club also has 13 active LiRF (Leader in Running Fitness) qualified leaders who deliver these run sessions.  The LiRF is a qualification that ensures our leaders can provide runs in a safe environment for all members of the club.  As members of England Athletics with a LiRF qualification the leaders are insured to lead these runs.


Sue Heppell LiRF, L2CCC, L2CCTRI

Sue started running over 25 years ago to assist fitness for playing squash.  The squash has stopped but the running still continues.  A keen swimmer, cyclist, runner and Triathlete Sue has completed Cycle Sportives, triathlons, & Running races.  Sue has played both squash and tennis for local teams in the past.  Sue is a Level 2 British Cycling Coach, a Level 2 British Cycling Ride Leader and Route Planner, a Level 2 British Triathlon coach and a ASA L2 Swim Teacher in addition to being a England Athletics Run Leader.



Peter Bartholomew (Bart) LiRF, CiRF

Bart is a local resident and enjoys running at all distances but specialises in marathon training, where he has used his scientific training in an evidence based approach to leading groups of friends and colleagues to success in recent marathons. Bart is a CiRF ( Coach in Running Fitness ) He would be delighted to help anyone wishing to try distances beyond half-marathon. Currently he is leading the “B” group on Wednesday evenings.

Chris Heppell LiRF, L2CCC, L2CCTRI

Chris has been running regularly for nearly 30 years and started  leading runs for the club in 2008.  A keen Road Cyclist Chris enjoys Duathlons and Triathlons. He has enjoyed 5-a-side football, squash and Mountain Biking in the past but now concentrates on Running, Cycling, and swimming. In addition to LiRF Chris is a Level 2 British Cycling Coach ( Road and Time Trial Qualified ), L2 British Cycling Ride Leader & Route Planner and a Level 2 British Triathlon Coach.  Chris is keen to promote the club in the community and participation in sporting events to maintain fitness.

Run Leaders

David Buffham LiRF

Local resident, club Chairman and keen runner David assists in Leading Runs for Ponteland Runners on Mondays and Wednesdays. David is a keen racer and also the organiser of the Club Championship at Ponteland Runners.  If you want to know who’s running in which races and when they are then David is the man to contact within the club.

Chris Kenyon LiRF

A keen Park runner and regular at Ponteland Runners, Chris assists in leading runs on Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Sunday club sessions.


Matty Bell LiRF

Matty has been running since 2010 and has now completed events all the way to Marathon. He is also very keen on Triathlon although the Marathon training seems to take over and he doesn’t get as much “Tri” in as he would like. Matty lead runs on a Monday, Wednesday, & Fridays. He also leads the Sunday long run sessions which are ideal for anyone taking on the longer distances.

Nikki Renton LiRF

I got into running after joining the beginners group offered by Ponteland Runners in 2013. I had never been a runner but always fancied giving it a go. I found the group very friendly and supportive and in no time I was able to run for 30 minutes without gasping for breath! Since February 2015, I have attended the two Club sessions on a weekly basis and felt that I could start challenging myself to partcipate in some of the local races. I have now done several of these and even had a go at the Go Tri’s that the Club puts on. They have even convinced me to give Cross Country a go over the winter months. I have thoroughly enjoyed my journey through the Club, making new friends and the support that I have been given. I am now keen to support and encourage any new runners to ensure they enjoy their journey through the Club as much as I have.

Abby Dorani LiRF

I began running in 2014 to train for the Great North Run. Immediately after the event, I put my running shoes in the cupboard and they went untouched until March 2015 when training began again for the Great North Run. After the run, my trainers were hidden away again under a pile of junk until February 2016 when I built up the courage to  join Ponteland Runners. I now attend the sessions every Wednesday and try to join other club members on Friday and Sunday runs too. I’ve taken part in a number of races, started training for triathlons, enjoyed getting slathered in mud at Cross Country and managed to take 47 minutes of my half marathon time, all thanks to the support of the club. I had never realised how much fun exercise could be and I hope to help others enjoy the experience as much as I have!

David Levison LiRF

I took up running again in 2011 after a break of about 25 years and completed my first triathlon in 2013 before joining the club in 2014. Since then I’ve taken part in numerous triathlons (including my first Ironman race in 2016), road races, cross country events and have definitely got “the bug”. I love being part of the club and the supportive, friendly environment it provides. I’m usually at club sessions on Wednesdays and Sundays.



Caroline Bavin LiRF

I began walking to get fit in 2005, my goal was to lose a stone by Christmas. Walking turned into running and I ultimately lost 3 stone. 2016 was amazing for me, I completed my first ever competitive 10k race early in the year. I was unsure where running would take me, with a little trepidation I came along to Ponteland Runners not sure what to expect. I found the group friendly and supportive.  I went on to run in my first half marathon and competed in the winter cross country fixtures with the club. I hope I can pass on my enthusiasm for running to new or less experienced runners.

Colin Coultard LiRF

Colin leads the C group runners on a Wednesday and also hosts the beginners sessions that run on occasion to attract new runners to the sport and to the club.

Susanne Nicholson LiRF

Susanne leads the C group runners on a Wednesday and also hosts the beginners sessions that run on occasion to attract new runners to the sport and to the club.

Tina Kelly LiRF

After a break of several years, Tina has returned to running and triathlons after participating in the Ponteland Triathlon in 2014. Tina says of the Club “Ponteland Runners is such a friendly and accepting club that I have felt confident enough to try my hand at cross country and thoroughly enjoyed the various events, team spirit and mud! I’ve definitely become addicted and got the race bug, attending lots of local races in my goal to achieve a sub 1hr 10K goal! Everyone in the club has been really supportive and encouraging and I hope that I can also convey this to the beginners and intermediate runners that I lead on Monday and Wednesdays.”

James Leiper LiRF

Until my late thirties I played a lot of football but was finding that I was getting injured every time I took to the field so I had to find another sport.

At this time (2015) I was introduced to Ponteland runners through a friend and have never looked back.

I enjoy all of the club sessions from a fitness aspect and just as much the social aspect. Running is thought of as a lonely sport and I thought I would never get the camaraderie that football gave me, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. As a club we compete in numerous team events with my favourite being the cross country season.


Paul Doney – LiRF

In 2013, I set myself a challenge. I wanted to beat my Great North Run time from 26 years previous.

The buzz I got from the challenge and the obvious health benefits to running, spurred me on to my first marathon. I joined Ponteland runners in 2014 because I felt there was a serious under representation of tall, middle aged balding blokes. I was also looking for support and company, especially when running distances, as I like to talk, almost as much as I like to run. I have continued to push myself, completing The Wall in 2015 and The Jurassic Coast Challenge in 2017. I find the varied training sessions of real benefit as they improve my times and my confidence to run further. I also enjoy the social aspect of running at events and the chance to get my tall balding head in more team photos!