Meet the Coaches

Suz West (Head Coach): Hi I’m Suz, I’ve been running since 2012 when I got talked into a Race For Life, so I am a pretty latecomer, I was already in the Masters age category when I started!

I was told about parkrun and from there was told about a Run England group. Once I had started on the Run England group, and a few parkruns later, I was being told about Bournville Harriers and that I should join. It sounded great so I joined and it was the best thing I did.
I continued with the Run England group and still do. This is where I first became interested in coaching as a few leaders had moved on and as I had been there the longest the other runners felt I should take the lead. I did do this and now regularly take this group with Mary Ross (parkrun).
I did my LIRF in 2015 and progressed to the CIRF in 2016. I like to coach all groups, however I like to coach newer runners and beginners and help them gain confidence. I really enjoyed watching runners I have coached go on and achieve things they really believed they weren’t capable of. I believe with encouragement and self belief as everyone is capable of their goals.

Stewart Crowton Coach ProfileStewart Crowton: I started running in June 2017 with my sister we joined the couch to 5k and ever since then I was like “Yes let’s see what I can do”. I carried on running once the course was finished I decided to join a running club.

I joined BvH in September 2017 and  I can honestly say that I LOVE IT!!! As I got more confident in my running and learnt a lot from our coaches and being asked to help out with the Beginners course, I wanted to know more about  being a coach. I have now completed my Leadership in Running Fitness in January 2019.
As a coach, I most enjoy encouraging people, it’s great to help them enjoy their running and grow in confidence just like I did… I believe with encouragement and self belief everyone is capable of reaching their own goals.

Nicola Cumley I joined Bournville Harriers in June 2007. I was waiting to get fit enough to join a running club, but then realised that the only way to get as fit as the people you want to run with them is to run with them. I did my leadership in running fitness in 2012. I really enjoy the Thursday reps sessions and had gained so much from them that I wanted to be able to give something back.


Dave EllisDave Ellis: I’m very excited to join the coaching team at BvH. I see the Club’s large number and quality of coaches as a real strength and something to celebrate. As I get older I’m learning about the ways I need to change training to get the best out of myself and other older runners – it’s not the same as being in your 20’s! I enjoy road running and cross country but my favourite place to run is in the mountains. Some of the highlights have been over 30 2 day mountain marathons all over the UK and the mountainous Montane 50 mile race in the Lake District. I am also a qualified mountain leader, orienteering coach and mountain bike leader so can help club members with their training for a wide range of endurance events.

I joined Bournville Harriers in late 2018 but have been running for over 40 years and have lots of experience both racing and coaching at distances from 800m to ultras. I have run over 50 marathons with a best of 2 hours 18 minutes and 17 times under 2 hours 30 minutes. I ran for England and GB several times at marathon distance in the mid 1980’s. I’ve also dabbled with triathlon and duathlon and went to the World Duathlon Champs in Italy as an GB age group competitor.

I was qualified as an athletics coach in the 1990’s and also have my CIRF. I look forward to joining the coaching team at Bournville and helping runners of all abilities achieve their goals and potential.

Aine GarveyAine Garvey: I have been a regular runner from the age of 13.  In the early days it was track work focusing on sprints, but since university it is all long distance.  I joined Bournville Harriers in late 2011 for some running inspiration as my training was a bit hap-hazard and unfocused.  Since then I have gone from loving half marathons and 10ks to focusing almost entirely on 5k.

I really enjoy planning and running tempo sessions, on my own but even better with the club on a Thursday.  My main area of interest is running form and how improving your core strength and making small changes to the way you run can make huge improvements.  I also love working with beginners to help build their confidence and nurture their love of the sport.

I completed my UKA Leadership in Running Fitness course in November this year and hope to carry on with my coaching qualification.

James GittinsJames Gittins: This month (January 2017) I am happy to say that I have been at BvH 10 years. I joined BvH in January 2007 having decided to run the London Marathon that year, which I completed and from that moment onwards I was hooked on running. To be honest, I think I was hooked on running during my school days as I used to run for the first team cross country which I really enjoyed, so I knew that I had it in me. However, after school I took up golf and never really found time to run as well. Many years had passed without much running on the agenda, until one year whilst watching the London Marathon on the TV I thought I should give it a go, so I started training on my own for a few months, until one evening I saw a load of runners on Beech Road near to home. So I enquired where they were from and was told about BVH and the rest is history.

Since then I have run seven marathons in the UK and Europe, one Ultra, loads of halves and many shorter distance races..
I love my assistant coaching role at BvH and I am particularly proud to be a coach and supporting our runners on a Thursday night for reps and hopefully help them improve. I love having a laugh and having a chat with our runners, I think this helps to motivate. I strongly believe that if you are having fun then the outcome of your performance will be better.

Dave PownerDave Powner: I started parkruns and other 5k races in 2011, before upping the distance in 2012. I joined Bournville Harriers at the end of 2014, motivated by 2 years of my race times getting worse.
The following summer, thanks to the club I hit PBs at all distances from 5k to HM, and decided to give something back, by joining the coaching team.

I try to think outside the box for my coaching sessions, such as using music for dynamic stretching, and devising our own version of the bleep test. I’m planning to make use of audio cues to help with cadence, in the summer.

I like to heighten encouragement to our athletes towards the end of sessions, to help them keep going and avoid giving up psychologically. And hopefully leave them looking forward to the next session!

Mike Scotney

Mike Scotney: I’m Mike Scotney, a Cornishman who’s now been living and working in Birmingham for the past 20 years. I started running to regain pre-student fitness and take-up positive vices and after my first ever 10K (the Bournville Leafy 10), joined Bournville Harriers in late 2005. I’ve seen a lot of change but the club has been a happy constant, and I’m proud to be a member! I found that upping the mileage and training sensibly for marathons and shorter races was highly addictive and transformative. In making good friendships at the Club and through being on the Committee for a few years, it seemed right to start coaching, and have helped out for the past 6 years or so.

My philosophy is to aspire to work hard and train well, work out of your comfort zone, advocating quality reps with good quality recoveries. I’ve battled to improve, with a busy work and family life conspiring against me but in using schedules such as Pfitzinger’s, I’ve found that even a very average runner can run reasonable times across a diverse range of courses and distances, which has enhanced the enjoyment of participation. I’m  a big fan of applying structure to training programmes, thinking about the objectives of each run. I’m always approachable to talk through my experiences and limited knowledge, although I cannot always guarantee I give the best advice!

Nicola SykesNicola Sykes: I have been with Bournville Harriers since 2013 and absolutely love our team teal! I am a Level 2 Athletics Endurance Coach currently undertaking my level 3 group event coach qualification, which I’m sure will be put to good use! A PE teacher by trade my world is pretty one dimensional; mainly running around with or without a whistle – easy. I’ve been competing since I was 13, have done a bit of everything along the way but still retain my first love of cross country; the muddier the better. I am exceptionally fortunate to have trained under some phenomenal coaches, Alex and Rosemary Stanton at Bedford and County AC and Bud Baldaro at Birmingham University; all of whom I have learnt, and continue to learn, so much from. If I can have an impact on runners anywhere near the impact they’ve all had on me then I will have done well!

I thoroughly enjoy coaching all abilities; making sessions purposeful, enjoyable (this is open to interpretation) and letting people learn something! Whether that be something technical, physiological or something about themselves – it all counts! I specialise in training theory; so if you have any questions about anything running related then please feel free to fire away at me whenever!

Jo WhitingJo Whiting: I’ve been running on and off for ages and joined BvH about two years ago, but running only really ‘clicked’ for me about a year ago. I’m not the fastest, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that that doesn’t make me a bad runner. Slightly to my surprise, I’ve now found myself training for my first marathon. I started out in coaching last year when I helped with the beginners course, and I completed Leadership in Running Fitness in the Autumn. As a coach, I most enjoy encouraging people who, like me, perhaps aren’t lightning fast or feel like they can’t run. It’s great to help them enjoy their running and grow in confidence.