Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Beagles Stuff

I thought you might like to hear what has been happening at the club. We are currently based at
two tracks – the McMillan Stadium and the London Marathon Community Track. We formally
moved into the LMCT in October 2017 but there is still a lot of work going on and there is
currently no access to the indoor training area at the LMCT. So we decided to keep the main
training groups at McMillan. There are Beagles groups training at LMCT on Monday and
Wednesday evenings and in particular Coach Natalya Hector has been running a Foundation
Group for new athletes there on Monday evenings 6-7pm and Coach George Choat has
started a middle distance group there.

We have access to the Indoor Centre at McMillan until the end of March. After that we intend
to operate only at LMCT. But we will keep you posted on the exact plans next month. It is our
current intention to have use of the Indoor Centre at McMillan over every winter Sept-March
unless the LMCT provides acceptable access to the indoor straight at the London Stadium (
this is about 100m from the LMCT but inside the main stadium).
The other big event of the winter has been the Newham Indoor sprint series. We got onto the
case here later than usual and the first meeting was slightly low on numbers – although we still
had 85 competitors on the night. Our own Ashia Phillip recorded the fastest time by a UK
woman 7.18 sec (she has since improved to 7.12). The second meeting was very well attended
with 125 competitors. CJ Ujah of Enfield & Haringey matched Ashia’s feat by recording the
fastest UK Men’s time of 6.53 in an excellent “final”.
This was the first time that the club itself has organised the series – previously it was done by
the Newham Network. I would like to thank the club volunteers who registered entrants,
provided catering and helped on the track. Club Secretary Nina Hepburn made sure it all
happened. Luke Smallwood of Justiming actually runs the timekeeping system at the meeting
and makes it very easy for everyone else and it was great to see Sharon Herbert of Woodford
helping us out as a senior official.
One feature of the last match in the 2018 series on 28th Feb will be that this is the birthday of
starter Spencer Walker. So hopefully we will get another big turn-out, more top performances
and some cake.
In the run-up to Christmas we also participated in some projects run alongside the Mayor’s
Inspiration Fund for the 2017 World and IPC Championships. The LMCT has been built using
funds provided by the London Marathon Trust. We attended the official opening of the LMCT on
18th October and were able to welcome the family of London Marathon co-founder John
We have also competed in the Metropolitan Cross-Country League again this winter.
I think it is fair to say that we should have done a lot better here. The men had a big win in
the second of five matches but it was all downhill from there. We were reasonable in the third
match at Hillingdon but let down by late cry-offs in the fourth. The last match turn-out was
pathetic and the only saving grace was that Peter Huck actually won it beating Richard
Goodman of SBH who had won the previous four races convincingly.
The Met League highlights our weaknesses. We do not really have any number of locally based
middle or long-distance runners at all. This is especially the case in the younger age groups.
In other clubs there seem to be masses of young distance runners but not at the Beagles. We
obviously need to do something about this. Our young local sprinters and hurdlers are among
the best in the country. The starting point is going to be setting up training groups and qualifying
coaches to manage them.
On coaches I am pleased to report that Jackie Simpson, Sarah Cairns, Sonia Allman and
Jonathan Bell have all recently qualified at Coaching Assistants.

Other things

I have just qualified as an Athletics Coach specialising in Endurance. I thought it might be
helpful to describe my experience just in case you are put off by the thoughts that the courses
are too hard or take up too much time. I don’t think either is now the case.
I am actually more of a Hurdles Coach. But I wanted to witness the course on Endurance as I
have long felt that This is an area where the Coach Education does not really produce good
coaches if they want to specialise in track related endurance.
UKA has now changed the format of this course as part of a longer process. So the
time-consuming production of a training diary has now gone and the course is held over three
days (two days together then one separate all at weekends) with a fourth day when you are
assessed (there is also an online knowledge test).
The idea appears to be to continue to give a wide education of most of the main events with
one day of specialisation in your chosen event.
It is pretty apparent that the course is really about how to coach more than what to coach. I
came away knowing a lot more about mechanics of various elements of movement,
conditioning and exerting power and how to observe these in athletes. But I did not really think
I knew a lot more about endurance.
I found the analysis of how to coach probably the most useful area. As a paid-up Grumpy Old
Man it was actually good to have my coaching style analysed and be given guidance on a more
collaborative way of doing things. On the cold wet nights when everyone just wants to get on
with it maybe I will end up coaching somewhere in between Full Grump and Lets Have a
Technique Discussion.
Overall I enjoyed doing the course and now I am qualified. It is so much better being a Coach
after a long period of being a Coaching Assistant and I would encourage other people to do it.
It was an effort but if you turned up and listened it was straightforward to get through. Like I
say they need to improve the content on your specialist area in my opinion but they are moving
in the right direction.
What was also good was the attitude of the tutors from England Athletics who could not have
been more supportive and the range of people who turned up to do the course. It was not just
older men.

Chairman's blog August 2018

I just wanted to mention and thank two of our most senior volunteers who are stepping down from important positions. Elyzabeth Shitta-Bey h...