Podcast #50: Five key people in athletics including inside look at Night of 10,000m PBs

In this episode, you can hear from five people who play key roles in athletics from volunteering and coaching to officiating, team managing and event organising.

You can listen to the full interview with Ben Pochee, the race director of Highgate Harriers’ Night of the 10,000m PBs. He talks to host Alex Seftel about how his event has become one of the nation’s most popular track meetings, dubbed the ‘Glastonbury of Athletics’.

“We had the goal of: What could we do as an event to improve the British standards of 10,000m racing? I knew that my performances were always, without doubt, improved when there was an atmosphere.”

Alongside this, Lorna Boothe, Matthew Dalton, Janice Kaufman and Clive Poyner – who all serve on the England Athletics Board – come together as a panel to discuss what they enjoy most about their involvement in the sport and where they think change is needed.

Double Olympian and former British 100m hurdles record holder Lorna Boothe is now a coach and Elected Director on the England Athletics Board:

“I’ve always been passionate about athletics since I was knee-high. With the experiences I have and the ability I have, I’m able to put back into the sport to help. But also, through my son I came into coaching and I feel there is so much to offer young people. Whether it be inside the sport or outside, I think it’s the way to teach kids about time management and commitment.”

The panel also discuss moments in athletics that have made them feel proud or inspired.

Clive Poyner has been an athlete, coach, official, Chair of Athletics Norfolk and Sportshall in Norfolk is the Elected Director:

“I had the pleasure of being in Cosford when Sebastian Coe broke the 800m world indoor record. The cacophony of people stomping on the boards and clapping was unbelievable so that was extremely inspirational.”

They go on to talk about how they fit what they do in athletics around everything else in their schedules.

Coach and official Janice Kaufman is the Chair of the North East Regional Council:

“My family are very supportive, my husband in particular ‘puts up’ with my athletics! I put up with his 50-year collection of football programmes and magazines so we’ve come to an arrangement there. I’m retired so I can give a little bit more to athletics but previously I worked in logistics, facilities and security – fairly long hours – but I’d go straight from work to the track.”

The panel concludes by bringing up areas in the sport where they would like to see change happen. Lorna advocates for a clearer pathway for coaches, while Clive is pushing for more focus on entry points into the sport for volunteers. Janice also wants better opportunities for coaches and wants to see competition for young athletes more geared towards their long-term development.

Masters athlete, coach and official Matthew Dalton is the Chair of the England Council and East Regional Council:

“It is important that we get the education of officials right. The principle of mentoring is critical. My greatest interest in the sport is the progression of officials – not necessarily the numbers coming in at the very bottom, but how they progress through the pathway, and in many cases hopefully end up at Level 4 and officiating at a national level.”


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