Podcast #51: Rio Mitcham's runner-rapper life & UK Coaching Week

European champion athlete and musician Rio Mitcham joins host Alex Seftel to talk about his running and rapping talents.

In the same month that Rio was performing on the global stage, helping Great Britain and Northern Ireland to win the 4x400m title at Munich 2022, he released a dedicated song called "Euro Champs".

But he and brother Alex - who form the duo Smokiecoco - were also preparing to be contestants on reality TV show The Voice UK. Rio says:

"Both things were happening at the same time and I was also so excited to go on The Voice and I'd just won the medal. It was just a really weird time for me - none of that had really happened before."

Rio, 23, won the England under-20 indoor 200m title in 2017 with Telford Athletic Club - but after a few years of injury issues, he has emerged as a real talent over the full outdoor lap - with his latest personal best stopping the clock at 45.99.

"I was struggling to balance sport with A Levels - I did not do it as well as I should have - but we live and we learn! I came to Loughborough, joined Leon Baptiste as a coach. After a few injuries and years learning about my body, I just pushed to the 400m mid-Covid time."

Also in this episode, England Athletics' Chris Mallender and Sarah Benson talk about UK Coaching Week including what can be done to support and attract recognition for coaches and what the modern coaching needs are in 2023.

England Athletics Head of Talent Development Sarah Benson says:

"Coaching looks very different, even just since lockdown. People don't necessarily have as much time to give. They value their family-time a lot more as well. As a sport we need to recognise what a volunteer can give realistically.

"From a recognition point of view, traditionally we recognise coaches because of the performances that their athletes have achieved, but that's not necessarily everything about a successful coach. (It's) how coaches make people feel, the value they bring to people's lives, recognising that and rewarding that." 

Chris also explains the details of changes expected to happen later this year involving coaches and officials.

England Athletics Workforce Development Manager Chris Mallender says:

"Our intention is to transfer the responsibility for coach and officials education away from UK Athletics and bring that across to each of the four Home Country Athletics Federations (HCAFs).

"You would be an England Athletics-licensed coach or official at Levels 1-3. That's the intention from 1st October 2023. People will start to hear about this formally through external and direct communication later this month and through the summer.

"As HCAFs, we work a lot closer with the clubs and probably spend much more time with the grassroots coaches that are working with big groups and recreationally and with kids so it should be more straightforward when there is that one point of contact."


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