Run Wales

We are pleased to introduce our Run Leader Champions!

Our Run Leader Champions will promote social running and run leader opportunities within their area, whilst mentoring and helping new and novice leaders.

They will:


• Advocate the LIRF programme and leader support systems
• Support, encourage and mentor new and novice Run leaders
• Share your knowledge and experience
• Be a point of contact for questions and queries
• Inspire and motivate leaders to join the Run Wales LiRF network
• Promote interactions and answer queries within the Run Wales LiRF network
• Identify local runners to become Run Leaders (undertake LiRF training).

Drew Edwards – Dragons Running Club – Aberdare 


“I’ve been running since August 2018. My first run was the Aberdare parkrun and it was such a struggle. I couldn’t believe how difficult it was to run 5km. Since then I’ve done some amazing things considering that I am only just on my third year of running. I’ve completed my LiRF and CiRF training and become certified to level one and two standard by the Lydiard Foundation. I’ve run up to half marathon distance and completed numerous 10kms.

My favourite race is the Cardiff Half. I love chatting when I’m running and it feels like you are running with thousands of your closest friends. You just can’t beat the atmosphere. It is like the whole of Wales has turned out to support you. Just an amazing feeling and I was able to share that with the 100 Club in 2018 as a run leader.

I just love being a run leader and I get so excited when the people that you support do things that they never thought possible.”

Twitter: Drew_Running | Instagram: Dual_Running | YouTube: DualRunning

David Sinclair – Moti Albany Road Run Club & CDF Runners – Cardiff

“Hi my name is Dave, I’m a qualified Coach and Leader in Running Fitness and I live in the metropolis that is Cardiff.

I started running about 11 years ago, doing couch to 5K in my local field just running in circles on my own. I started because I was overweight and had high blood pressure. Running soon became my absolute passion and still is.

I help out on the committee at CDF runners and before Covid used to help out Hannah at the local LIRF meetings. I started coaching Moti run club a few years ago now and it is my absolute passion and it gives me a huge sense of fulfilment. I was lucky enough to be awarded Run Wales Group Leader of the Year 2019.

Along with Lucy Maryland and a few other friends I started the Big Social Run Cardiff and I can’t wait until we can start these events again, hopefully in the not too distant future.

I love anything from 5k to ultra, my home is on the trails and in the hills, and I’m passionate about showing that runners of all abilities can enjoy trail running and exploring the hills and trails and having fun. 

Twitter/Instagram: @cardiff_dave

Leanne Lane – Getin2Running – Wrexham

“Hi I’m Leanne. I live in Wrexham and have a running group called ‘Getin2Running’. We have Beginners programs which gets absolute beginners from 0-30 minutes of running in 9 weeks and we now also have a regular group run of approx 5k every Monday evening in Wrexham.

I started running in 2005 and completed a couch to 5k on my own running up and down the Leeds-Liverpool canal. I then completed a Race For Life and never looked back. I became a LiRF in 2017 and have a particular passion for helping beginners get started on their running journey as well as encouraging established runners to progress and grow.

I love running (of course!) baking and then eating all of the cakes 🙂

I enjoy running shorter distances (5-10k) and head off-road whenever I can.”

Facebook: @getin2running |Instagram: @Getin2Running |Twitter: @Getin2Running

Julie Broughton – Beyond Running Fitness – Barry

“I am 54 years old and have run 1 ultra, 10+ marathons and numerous 10k and 5k’s and a couple of triathlons. I just love running!

I started running in my late 30’s. In the last few years I have completed my LIRF and then my CIRF, the Vale disability course and I have Qualified as a Personal Trainer and set up my own Business. Off the back of this I started a running club called Beyond Running Fitness. I lead regular runs each week which incorporate out and backs, hill fartlek, speed and tempos to add variety . There are also regular technique sessions. These session are adapted for beginners to seasoned runners. I find we tend to have a lot of runners with anxiety, depression and some with Post Natal Depression so the more support we can offer with adequate run leaders and coaches the better. I have just had two new LiRFS complete their Training and 3 more in progress and 1 now due to start the CiRF course .

At present I have been leading a couch to 5k course via ZOOM and this has worked really well. I love running and I get so much out of supporting others on their journey.

Twitter: @run_fitness |Instagram: Beyondrunningfitness|Facebook: Beyond Running Fitness | Email: Beyondrunningfitness@gmail.com

Claire Louise Thorne – Seriously Mad RunnersBarry

“My name is Claire Louise and I am one of the founding members of Seriously Mad Runners. 

I started out doing all the admin side of the group and progressed to plodding along at run sessions, completing 5kms and two 10km events. 

SMR have run two C25k groups in partnership with the Vale Sports Development team and we were about to start a third but unfortunately Covid has stopped this. 

The C25K groups were predominantly aimed at those with disabilities and I have undertaken various courses in disability inclusions in sport, Mental Health Awareness in sport as well as Safeguarding courses. 

Two years ago I took the LiRF course. I wanted to show others that it doesn’t matter what size, shape and ability you are, you can still take part and everyone is welcome to join our sessions. 

This year I will be studying towards the CiRF qualification which unfortunately has been delayed, again due to Covid.”

Instagram: Claire_louise1980 |Facebook: Claire Louise Thorne | Email – seriouslymadrunners@outlook.com

Stephne Puddy – Just Run Penybont – Penybont

“My name is Stephne Puddy and I am one the co-founders of #JustRunPenybont.

I started running after a health scare, spending 8 days in hospital made me realise changes had to happen. Worklife balance was a huge factor, but so was a poor diet and exercise. After completing a 0-5k groiup with Emma Marshall, from there I didn’t look back.

We established #JustRunPenybont in September 2018 with the aim to encourage people to get active. We don’t care how far or how fast, it’s about getting up and out the door. Seeing peoples journey and the transformation it makes to their lives is a huge motivation for us. On top of that the firendships that form, they are like the icing on the cake!

I hate running up hill, however for some reason chose Snowdon Marathon to be my first – and I loved it, a favourite run for sure. The views made some of the hills worthwhile! More locally to home I love any adventure run through lanes, along the coast, in forestry – exploring new areas – usually on a Sunday and usually involve getting lost.”

Twitter: @ladypuddy | Email: justrunpenybont@gmail.com

Emma Marshall – Just Run Penybont – Penybont

“My name is Emma Marshall. I have been a run leader for 4 years. My running journey started in 2013 when I was going through a really tough time. I had a new baby and I had lost my mum to cancer and was really struggling day to day. I found that running really helped me with my mental health and with the grieving process.

In 2015 I took part in ‘Run 4 Wales’s 100 Club’ and met loads of amazing people. All of them had such inspiring stories. It was then that I decided I wanted to help others with their running and in 2016 I became a Run Champion for Run Wales and became a Run Leader. Since then I have helped 100‘s of people complete 0-5k, been a run leader for Cardiff Half training sessions and Alfie’s Army.

In 2018 I co-founded ‘Just Run Penybont’ with Stephne Puddy, a social running group focused on using running to help people’s mental health & wellbeing. Just Run Penybont has been my biggest running achievement to date. Helping them reach their goals and seeing how running changes their lives and wellbeing, is absolutely amazing.”

Twitter: @EmsyLouBear | Email: justrunpenybont@gmail.com

Melanie SandersonBangor

“I am a mother of 6.

I have recently passed my sports massage qualification and have just set up my own business.

I work as home carer.

I enjoy trail running the most.

I love walking the mountains.

I actively encourage everyone I come into contact with to get up/out to move, within work and within my family and friends.

Looking to study level 3 Exercise Referral – Waiting to complete level 2 gym instructor course (post covid).”

Sarah Powell – Llantwit Fardre Ladies – Llantwit

“Hi I’m Sarah, I started running about six years, and with help and support from Hannah I set up the Llantwit Fardre ladies running group in 2018. I’m really keen to help groups set up and grow, and I believe there are so many benefits to social running, I love running anywhere with anyone as long we can chat.”

Anthony Warden Ammanford

“My name is Anthony Warden, I started running in 2015 when I was 44. My youngest son wanted to get fit and asked if I would help him. As I was 18 stone and very unfit it was just the motivation I needed.

We started running together, totally clueless, going about it all wrong, mainly running flat out for shorts distances and finding it a very painful experience. However somehow we both lost weight, improved our fitness and endurance and the following year ran the Swansea Half and Cardiff half together, a great experience to have shared as a father and son.

Since then I have continued running, got actively involved with my local running club, completed a LIRF and CIRF course and found out the proper way of getting people up and running without the pain my son and I went through.

Running has made such a difference to my life, I have taken part in quite a few races, running against trains, horses and even Pikachu. I got involved with RunWales and with their support set up a workplace Couch to 5k group and have run several Couch to 5k groups in the area, getting people running the proper way and have seen some amazing successes from participants. It’s a great feeling to be part of someone’s journey and achievements and as such was extremely pleased to be able to get involved the Run Campion programme.”

Twitter: @antw1309

Sophie TaylorPontyclun

“I started running in spring 2012 when I decided to enter Swansea Bay 10km- mainly due to huge peer pressure from colleagues! I trained all summer and by the time the race rolled around I had been firmly bitten by the running bug- so much so that I added a last minute entry to the Cardiff Half marathon to my plans.

Since then I’ve gradually built up my running mileage, and in 2017 did the first of what would be 5 (to date!) marathons. An injury towards the end of 2019 put paid to my plans for early 2020 before the pandemic came along and wrote off the remainder of the year! After some recovery and rehabilitation, I’ve gradually started working my way back to running fitness and reminding myself what I love about running- time out of my own head, the chance to spend more time out in nature seeing things I wouldn’t usually see, and that feeling of pushing myself past what I ever thought I would achieve.

I’m now really excited for the return of racing so that I can bring some structure to my training plans and feel that race day buzz again. I’m a qualified run leader and have also been a pace maker for Swansea Half marathon, which was one of the most pressured experiences of my life! I’m currently not a member of a club, but have recently found the Running Punks community, which really captures my love of both running and music!”

Berna Cantwell – Wye Valley

“My name is Berna Cantwell and I started running few years ago and I joined a local club. I have enjoyed the XC and local races. I qualified as a CIRF in 2018 and I have been involved in leading sessions with the seniors and now run the junior sessions as the junior coordinator. I am interested and excited to be a part of this venture and I am looking forward to the challenge.”

Tina Arthur – Village Joggers – Neath

“I have been running for many years along with other sporting activities. I previously run for Port Talbot Harriers but due to work commitments was finding it very difficult to fit the runs into my schedule. I felt that there was a gap in the running community for those that were not confident to attend a running club, so I funded myself to complete the LiRF course a few years ago.

The information I gained from that allowed me to set up my own social running groups within my local vicinity. I started my first group in the evening, and this developed from Couch to 5k up to Progressive group running up to 10k.

I have been doing Couch to 5k for about 3 years or more and applied for community grant which allowed me to enrol a few of those interested to complete the LiRF course so they could help on the Couch to 5K. I was also involved with Neath Port Talbot Park Lives and lead a couch to 5k in Margam Park along with some other PASS staff.

Up until Covid reared its head I was taking a morning Couch to 5K which seemed to appeal to mothers that had a free hour after taking their children to school. This was well attended, and I have had requests as to when another group will commence.

Some of the progressive group are still running and we do a social run in the evening or on the weekend following social distancing guidelines. I am hoping that in the New Year I can start another Couch to 5K.”

Michael Roderick – Tri Hard Harriers Running Club – Swansea

“Hi my name is Michael Roderick, I am one of the founders and chairman of Tri Hard Harriers Running Club and I’m also a qualified Leader in Running Fitness.

I started running 16 years ago taking part in the original Swansea Bay 5k Series and literally got the bug straight away.

Since 2011 I have been taking part in longer distance events such as Half Marathon’s & also been lucky enough to have run the famous London Marathon 3 times amongst some other special events, including running the wonderful Barcelona Half Marathon last year on my 30th Birthday!

I have always had a passion for running and love helping others achieve their goals and ambitions as well as my own, so myself along with a close group of friends decided to set up Tri Hard Harriers as a social running group in January 2020.

In just 12 months (mostly in lockdown!) we have now grown from 5 members to become a Welsh Athletics affiliated running club with over 75 members of all ages & abilities and an incredibly supportive family feel around the club!

I have always loved the rewarding sense of achievement you get from running, and even more so when you are doing it with friends or helping others to achieve things they never thought were possible.

I now love all things running whether it be short distance, long distance, racing, trails or even mountain running (and a bit of triathlon too!) I really find it helps me relax, clear the mind and improve my fitness. Now I’m more than happy to help any other runner also find their love for it too!”

Instagram: @mikerod_therunner

Joanne Popham – Paul Popham Running Club – Swansea

“My name is Joanne Popham, I run the Paul Popham Running Club, which I started with my sister, Claire Popham in February 2016. Our aim was to help people in Swansea learn to run from zero to 5k in 8 weeks. We now have just under 200 members, 3 main groups, each split into 2 levels of ability, Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced, we have 3 CiRF including myself and 14 active LiRF. Our club is based on a family feel of fun and support regardless of ability. I set the club up because I love running. I used to take groups of people to train for half marathons while working for a charity and was surprised how many of them never continued to run after completing a half marathon. I wanted to show people if they start from zero and train properly how they can enjoy the benefits it can give to your quality of life.”