As part of England Athletics’ work in developing women in coaching a number of open sessions and workshops were organised across the country for International Women’s Day.
Martin Rush – Head of Coaching and Athlete Development – commented, “England Athletics recognises that a diverse volunteer workforce is essential to the health of the sport and our mission of creating opportunities for everyone to experience athletics and running to enable them to reach their full potential. We know that women are underrepresented in the coaching workforce, especially at the higher levels of the coaching ladder. Through the work that has been done during International Women’s Day, supporting women coaches through bursary awards and networking opportunities through our Women’s Coaching Events it is our aim to reduce the disparity and ensure we close the gender gap.”
In the South six different open sessions were held with highly qualified and experienced female coaches. These included endurance running, youth development and throwing, with two workshops delivered on movement skills and developing effective warm ups.
In Peterborough, a group of female coaches and leaders joined a ‘Try the Track’ session, delivered by Rosslyn Hamlyn. The local Greater Peterborough Athletics Network run the very popular Try the Track session for members of local running clubs every other Wednesday. Rosslyn regularly coaches these sessions and was only too happy to share how she delivers these sessions to runners of all different abilities and motivations.
Rosslyn added, “It has been great to meet some more local female coaches and leaders to share session ideas and coaching practices. There are some excellent female coaches and it’s important that we share what we do with one another.”
For one coach attending, Sarah Gauvin of Fenland Running Club, the session couldn’t have been more timely as she said, “I have my assessment day for the Coach in Running Fitness course this weekend – this session has really reassured me and has offered some useful practical tips for my assessment and my coaching back at my club.”
In London, Mara Yamauchi, who ranks second on the UK all-time list for the marathon and is an Olympian, delivered a session for Ranelagh Harriers’ endurance squad and female coaches. Since her retirement from top level competition, Mara has rapidly worked her way through her coaching qualifications. She qualified as an Athletics Coach in 2014 and offered a unique insight into the all-round development of endurance runner using Run-Jump-Throw principles. Ranelagh Harriers’ comments included, “Great to have Mara. Really tough session, but everyone enjoyed it, great coaching skills on display too.”
In addition, The London Frontrunners club, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2015, organises five runs per week all over central London as well as cross country and trail runs. With a membership of nearly 500 people, they are actively looking to increase their female membership, and to bring the LGBT community closer together.
The Doncaster Pacers who are the Run England Group from Doncaster AC have been funded locally by England Athletics to train more Run Leaders up this year. They have been able to support over 200 NEW runners, and shared some great inspirational stories from women such as 50-something Dawn Hollingsworth who went from “Runners are slim, agile people. People who wear bright lycra which you probably can’t even buy in my size.” to ” The special friendships and support we share is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before, having the run together and arriving home so exhilarated is the best buzz ever. It has helped change my whole world.” Click here to read her inspirational story.
Further activities will be held in the Midlands in April.
Women in Coaching will continue to be at the forefront of England Athletics to increase the number of highly qualified coaches, the quality and effectiveness of women coaches and promote awareness and learning within our clubs and coaching environments to ensure women coaches are promoted and encouraged to get into coaching. For more details on Women in Coaching see www.englandathletics.org/women-in-coaching.