Development Club of the Year: Birchfield Harriers
This year the winner of this award has demonstrated a clear commitment to the evolution of an effective pathway for every member. In 2012 they staged ‘come and try’ and ‘community’ days as part of the England Athletics “Are YOU Ready” campaign which saw over 500 potential members take part in activities at the club. The club recruited 5 new coaches in 2012, all now work with young athletes at main club sessions or at one of the clubs academy sessions which attract over 50 children every week. The club also deliver annual Startrack programmes which employ young coaches and current junior athletes in order to develop a long-term coaching structure at the club.
In performance terms the club has continued to see success at junior and senior level the Senior Women recently retaining their UK Women’s League and the Junior League team winning the overall title in 2011, just missing out on wins in the individual gender rankings by the odd point.
The club’s Road Running section has seen a strong upturn in numbers this year with the introduction of a weekly induction group for new members. This section worked with our young athletes and parents to stage a Relay Challenge in July, for the clubs sponsors in order to celebrate their Olympic and Paralympic selections.
The club strongly believes that every member has a role to play but that this should not only be in terms of athletic performance but also by helping out and giving back.
Athletics Network of the Year: Staffordshire Athletics Network
This network has continued to develop over the past twelve months and has now grown to 8 member clubs with the introduction of 3 new clubs that has meant the geographical reach of the group has also expanded.
The network continues to have a successful relationship with the local County Sports Partnership, who support and provide professional advice and guidance to clubs and network projects. The beginners running project that has been delivered in partnership between the 2 organisations has grown rapidly with 30+ leaders now trained and 20 groups and courses being set up in a variety of settings.
This year a Relays event was established for junior athletes from clubs across the network and a guide for running clubs and groups has been developed by the endurance sub action group.
One of the most successful events of the year was a relay event to celebrate the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The event was built into the planned Quadkids competitions for the network and delivered in partnership with Community Games. An opening ceremony took places with club flags, an Olympic torch bearer, the local Mayor and a GB athlete. This was a great introductory event for children and a number have now become members of network clubs.
Community Partner of The Year: The University of Warwick & the CSW Athletics Network
Prior to 2011 there was not a recognised athletics club promoting wheelchair racing in the Midlands. This was a combination of limited coaching knowledge, no training groups and a lack of equipment for new athletes to try the sport.
In July 2011 the CSW Athletics Network with the support from the University of Warwick added wheelchair racing as a new athletics event to develop locally. Using a collection of privately funded second-hand racing chairs, sessions were trialled on a Wednesday & Sunday basis.
With limited promotion and mostly attracting athletes by word of mouth, over 30 athletes of all ages have accessed training sessions. Many are new to the sport and now entering their first races. Links have been made to GB World Class Athletes with UKA Head Coach Peter Eriksson, plus visiting overseas athletes and teams.
Athletes from the trial period have gone onto represent the West Midlands at UK School Games, and compete internationally for various nations, including Ireland, Dubai, Switzerland, Lisbon and Tunisia. Four athletes have accessed UKA Talent ID Squad Days, and one World Class athlete was on the ‘Paralympic Long List’ for 2012.
UK Athletics have recently endorsed the University of Warwick Wheelchair Academy as a ‘UK Wheelchair Racing Hub’ for athlete and coach development, alongside London, Manchester & Glasgow.
Run England Project of the Year: Staffordshire Athletics Network and Partners
The award is recognising a partnership of organisations that have worked to deliver opportunities for community running in East Staffordshire.
Running routes using the Run England 321 format were designed and installed locally, with the Mayor, local runners and families attended a launch day which opened up the routes to the local community. The routes start right in the town centre which allows optimum exposure to potential runners, and recently a Run England beginner group was planned, promoted and delivered by the local club.
Following this initial development the partners have continued to work together and create beginner running groups in the area. A lunchtime session using the local athletics track has taken place and further opportunities are being highlighted including village beginner groups and groups based in the private fitness sector.
Consideration and work is currently being done to strengthen exit routes for beginners with local clubs being extremely supportive and pro-active. 9 new leaders have been trained and provided linked with clubs and existing groups, and 3 leaders have progressed onto the next level of qualification to offer more support and guidance to the project.
Staffordshire Athletics Network, East Staffordshire Borough Council, Washland Women Runners, Burton Atheltic Club and Sport Across Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent.
Development Coach: Derek Aston
This coach has served as a multi discipline coach to Kidderminster & Stourport A.C. for over 25 years. He shows a willingness to change and challenge old coaching habits with the athletes interests at heart. Over the last year he has mentored 2 other coaches whilst working with a group of fifteen 12-16 year olds who all now regularly compete for the club.
His commitment also extends far beyond training nights - he organises fixtures and transport for his junior members ensuring that they have the best opportunities to compete and achieve personal bests.
He also has a great record of turning junior competitors into senior competitors and this year has proved no exception. Many of the older members of the group or those approaching the age where they will be moving groups have competed for the senior team in the Midlands League. The junior athletes have also performed very well in junior competition, county schools and English Schools inter county competitions with many achieving new personal bests throughout the season.
As well as this he has been instrumental in developing a coaching infrastructure at the club which will have a lasting legacy on every athlete moving through the junior ranks. He encourages coaches to work alongside each other successfully as well as attracting older members of the junior section to take an interest in coaching themselves.
Run England Leader of the Year: Sally Ellis
This award goes to a semi-retired athlete who started leading and wanting others to get that same buzz from running as she did.
She is the driving force behind the success of her group which has grown significantly over the years. It currently caters for over 500 runners and has 30 leaders who deliver walking and running sessions to those completely new to exercise through to those seasoned runners & walkers. They use their experience and knowledge to motivate and encourage others to improve their fitness.
They offer 29 groups every week during the school term - and also offer a skeleton programme during the school holidays. Around 400 runners attend the sessions each week and groups cater for members of all ages over 16 years.
Services to Coaching: Norma Pugh
This award goes to someone who is a middle distance coach from Coventry Godiva harriers and has developed athletes for over 40 years.
The interest of her athletes always comes first which is reflected in their high achievements. She has coached a range of athletes of all ages and abilities, from county to international level, and despite being in her seventies she continues to develop her knowledge and keep up to date with new ideas and training techniques to ensure the continuing development of her athletes. Her athletes have reached high levels including performances at English Schools over the years gaining 6 gold medals, 5 silver medals and one bronze medal.
She has produced some extremely talented athletes including Rowena Cole, Lynne Robinson, Maxine Newman and Tina Brown...all competing at international level
Despite all the success she is there every session come rain or shine, sleet or snow encouraging her athletes, she also supports her athletes during personal issues and keeps in regular contact through times of injury offering advice and support. to sum this one up it would be fair to say this award is going to someone who really has influenced people’s lives for the better.
Official of the Year: Stuart Paul
This person came into officiating relatively late, but after joining Birchfield nearly 30 years ago - having helped out at events for the previous 5 years he has spent over 25 years working through the Officials' hierarchy and now works at the highest level meetings in the UK, being one of 5 Technical Officials from the club who worked in key roles at the London Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Whilst his personal commitment to that process has seen him rise through the ranks he has prioritised the work to be done locally within our Club in both event management of home fixtures – as well as the development of new officials.
He is the Club’s Vice Chair for Promotions and has been instrumental in staging officials course for the club and the athletics network. He is equally at home working a YAL fixture, mentoring officials, as he is directing the sport’s elite, and applies a positive attitude underpinned by an enthusiasm and passion for what sport can offer young people and the wider community.
He cajoles and encourages without being overly pushy and then once on board he continues to offer support to those who have qualified. This can be down to his paid role as a Teacher where the characteristics needed in developing talent are clearly transferred to his volunteer role.
He is often the first to arrive and the last to leave a fixture or training course whether he is in the lead or supporting role and is available to those that need advice and guidance in between courses as our new officials have begun their “career” in the sport.
Without doubt the Club would have been in a dire state without him leading a recruitment and retention programme that has seen less than 2 per cent of our recruits drop out since he picked up the programme.
Services to Officiating: Les & Thelma Barnett
Les Barnett started as a field official in the early 1970s when he was joint founder of the Midland Police Track & Field League. His interest thrived and wife Thelma joined him a short time after. They both progressed through the grades with Les becoming a Grade 1 (Referee) and Thelma also grade 1 which allowed them to officiate local, Area and National Level for many years. Neither now officiates at the highest level but they can both regularly be found assisting their club in club and league meetings, County Championships and disability meetings.
Les was a Field Referee at the 100th AAA Championships – just one of many top level meetings he refereed, and both were at the Europa Cup Final in 2000 in Gateshead. Les has guided many field officials through the old Preliminary course and examination and both continue to advise and ‘mentor’ field officials throughout their career.
Services to Volunteering: Richard Warder
The person picking up the next award has been a long time servant to his club Kidderminster and Stourport A.C. and has contributed to the sport of athletics in various ways locally, regionally and nationally for a number of years
As an endurance coach he was involved in setting up beginners running groups, he acts as a volunteer coordinator as well as taking responsibility for completing the clubs Clubmark accreditation. He also serves as the chair for the Hereford and Worcester Athletics Network and contributes to local and regional meetings as part of his role, as well as being involved in the volunteer recruitment process for the London 2012 Games and volunteering himself.
Not only does he coach the senior endurance athletes at his own club, he also dedicates another evening of the week to coaching a group from a local running club. He is part of the National Coach Development Programme and works closely with his Mentor Geoff James to continue to develop his own ability as a coach, showing a real commitment to doing all that he can for the sake of his club and athletes.
Within his club he heads up volunteering as the clubs volunteer coordinator. This involves organising the volunteer team for club events and volunteering at numerous events throughout the year, which includes 2 club annual races, a 5k race league and various track and field fixtures.
Outside of his club responsibilities he has also taken on the role of Chair with the Hereford and Worcester Athletics Network. This voluntary role is a huge commitment when combined with the roles and responsibilities he holds within his club, but he continues to drive the group forward and ensure the Network is successful.
Services to Disability Athletics: Wolverhampton and Bilston AC
Wolverhampton And Bilston Athletics Club has recently in 2012 started to work with disability athletes. Over the past year the club has bought and provided specialised equipment to allow the disabled athletes to train properly under the supervision of coaches that have been put on disability athletics courses. To support this, the club have been training coaches up especially to coach athletes with a disability. This has been done by running 3 open sessions; two for all different events in athletics and one specializing in wheelchair racing. The coaches were overseen by Job King (England Athletics regional Disability Athletics Support Officer). Various links with schools around the area has allowed the club to promote the disability training and gain the interest in those who wish to try out disability athletics. The club now owns two chairs which are used for wheelchair racing – there is one chair in a smaller size and the other in a bigger size so all ages can use these. The disability smile event was officiated well by the members of the club.
The award was collected by Colin Thompson.
Services to Athletics: Colin Thompson
Since retiring in 2007 the winner of this award has devoted countless hours of his time not only to Wolverhampton & Bilston AC but to the sport of Athletics in the West Midlands in general. His initial motivation was to ‘sort things out’ at Wolverhampton and Bilston, and in the words of the person who made the nomination...make them better than Halesowen!
He is currently chair of the club, but along the years has held numerous other roles at the same time in order to make improvements in a wide variety of areas. He has been team manager of most of their teams, deals with Aldersley stadium to drive the best deals for his club, he coaches kids, sends athletic coaches into schools, runs schools athletics meetings, has established wheelchair racing at the club...and I could go on but I think you all get the gist....
His involvement with the BCAN has ensured that his club has benefitted from all the coaching and education programmes run by the network. Without fail Wolves & Bilston have the highest number of representatives at pretty much every event delivered by the network and this is testament to the work of........Colin.
High resolution photos at photobucket.com/WMAwards2012
Staffordshire Athletics Network
The University of Warwick & the CSW Athletics Network
Les & Thelma Barnett
Colin Thompson, Wolverhampton and Bilston AC