My athletics journey started later in life after retiring from competitive team sports. I was a non-runner who suffered through preseason fitness training. However, I was converted after discovering the power of jogging and self-coached my way to the half and full marathons improving my finishing times by about 20 minutes in each event over the space of 5 years or so.
Having coached football at senior and junior level it was a natural progression to start helping young athletes in my new sport. My initial motivation was to keep young people involved in sport and to help those with great potential reach the top. These days part of my coaching philosophy is to “help athletes become the best they want to be” catering for a wide range of ages and abilities.
I completed an Athletics NZ level one coaching certificate in 2008 and after having success with my training squad was selected by Athletics NZ to undertake a 12 month Performance Coach Advance programme with Sport NZ which I completed in 2015.
I meet with a squad of predominantly tween and teenaged athletes four times each week all year round focussing on cross country during the winter and track during the summer. I also support senior and master athletes with training programmes and advice.
Many of the athletes I’ve helped over the last 10 years have medalled at NZ championship level, broken records, and been selected to represent NZ at age group level. Several of the high school athletes have gone onto university athletic scholarships both in NZ and the USA.
I started in children’s athletics when I was about 8 and have been involved in the sport since then as an athlete, coach and administrator. Initially inspired by my running uncle who has been a member of this club and was like a big brother to me, I started seriously training when I was 14. This was the period of John Walker, Rod Dixon and Dick Quax. I dreamed of running for NZ, even though I never won any events, but the main driver was to see how good I could be, and each year try to make the A team for the club’s national road relay team. I had a bit of speed but enjoyed the longer track events. I represented Auckland, Canterbury and New Zealand with my career best effort being my first marathon in Invercargill for 4th NZ champs in 2.22.15 in 1993. My favourite event is the 400m, while I have sub 2.00/800m, sub 4.00/1500 and sub 15.00/5000m.
While competing at my career best period I was the Summer Club Captain. I also started up the Winter Junior section of the club and coached a number of the teenage athletes we had at the time, attended a number of coaching courses. To provide better competition opportunities for our athletes I initiated and chaired Garden City Athletic – a club involving Christchurch Avon, Old Boys and University clubs. I was an executive member from 1990 to 2000.
In 2002 while living in Arrowtown with Remarkable Runners. restarted the children’s section of the club and over 6 years grew the numbers to 120 children making it the largest Southland club at the time. Marilyn Morrison was a great resource for me and during this time I attended all coaching courses available. I particularly enjoyed preparing our athletes for the Inter-provincials. During this time, I kept a basic fitness but after a period got back to the basics of just enjoying running in nature.
In 2009 moved to Hobart, Tasmania, joined a club and competed in the winter races at Masters level. I enjoyed the competitive aspect and the combined races were a great chance to race against any age – male or female.
In 2012 returned to Christchurch and re-joined Christchurch Avon. I run for health now but generally have been able to make the clubs over 50 team for national relay events. While I have other commitments these days, my passion for helping young people is still strong as I head towards 50 years involvement in the sport and I am again enjoying passing on skills to our children and looking at bringing them through into senior athletics.
Courses Attended: I have attended many Coaching Course over the years including Sprints, Throws Hurdles, Jumps, Distance and Get Set Go.
Athlete Achievements: Several of my Athletes have achieved national and international success in events from 800m to marathon.
I am an older runner who believes that you don’t have to accept that older is slower. I offer specific training for mid-older runners wanting to improve balance, coordination and cadence of their running. I practice what I preach, achieving second place, of 68 participants in my age group, in the 2018 5th Avenue Mile Race in New York.