making a run for it
Project 500 – Making a Run for it!

Project 500 – Making a Run for it!

“It’s never too late to start Coaching”

A successful programme of support being offered through Oxfordshire Sports Partnership (OSP), England Athletics and Project 500 is underway to aim to increase the number of coaches progressing from the Leadership In Running Fitness (LiRF) to Coach In Running Fitness qualification (CiRF).

Project 500, is a collaborative Coach Development campaign across the South East region to address the imbalance in the number of male to female coaches. The aim is to recruit, train and deploy 500 female coaches (all sports), across the seven counties by March 2015, thus creating a more diverse workforce to drive the growth of female participation in sport.

Working in Partnership with OSP, Run England identified five Run Leaders who wished to upskill their Coaching qualifications. OSP committed to providing bursaries for five current Leaders in Running Fitness to go on to complete the Coaching in Running Fitness qualification to help further the provision within local running groups.

The leaders initially attended a workshop delivered by England Athletics Local Club and Coach Support Officer to provide information on progressing from LiRF to CiRF. The session was designed to provide detail of the course content & requirements, the support available and provided an opportunity for attendees to ask questions about the course. In addition, those that went on to attend the course were also offered support from the England Athletics Local Coach Development Programme.

A bursary of £1000 has contributed towards the cost of the Level 2 “Coaching in Running Fitness”. The course began in November and the ladies will be progressing on to their assessments in May

Run Leader and course candidate Sharon Pyner said “The course has been challenging, but very useful. It has transformed a lot of my thinking and has already made me a much better coach.
Definitely worth doing but there is a lot of work involved

Rita Hollington’s Coaching Journey – Didcot Joggers.

“I always enjoyed helping friends and club members to train for races (especially helping them with long runs). I took the Leader in Running Fitness qualification initially to help train people at a local running club, then continued organising beginners’ running groups locally as part of the Go Active initiative to encourage people to get/keep fit. This was really rewarding – seeing lots of them going on to be regular runners who really enjoy the sport and seeing people who had never run before going on to run 10K and half marathon races – something many of them never thought they would be able to do.

Having done this, with great enjoyment, for the last few years, many new runners were asking to ‘do more’ and wanted to take their running more seriously and improve, some being steered towards joining running clubs, but some who didn’t feel ready for joining an athletics club. We continued to run as an informal group and I have been happy to share my experience and knowledge with this group. When the opportunity arose with Oxfordshire Sports Partnership & Project 500 to attend the Coach in Running Fitness Course, it seemed like a really good idea to gain more knowledge and be able to coach people on a proper footing both with the informal, group and the athletic club I belong to. It was a good opportunity to give something back to a sport I have personally enjoyed for so long.

I’m probably a little ‘long in the tooth’ to be doing this, but hopefully a lot of younger female runners will be inspired to become coaches – I wish I had got involved years ago! Quite a high percentage of new runners in the amateur side of the sport are women, so I think more women coaches as role models would be fantastic encouragement!

My personal running ‘history’ if it’s at all relevant – mostly ancient history now! I have been a runner more years than I care to remember – but didn’t start doing anything much competitive until my late 40’s – then joined Abingdon AC and got into racing. I was Oxfordshire County Cross Country Champ for my age group twice, held County road champs in my age group various times at 5 miles and marathon distances and won the Oxford Mail Cross Country League in my age group for two consecutive years. I have also won the age group category for FV55 in various races over the years, (these were mostly the ‘old peoples’ category – Female Vet 55!) I still running at 68 but not winning much these days! Cross country and muddy races continue to be my favourite events. Probably FAR too much information!

I currently have 18 people on my Wednesday group list. I also work with two individual athletes, one training for her first half marathon, one training for better 10K times and I am supporting another athlete training for the London Marathon. In addition, I help out at my club (Abingdon AC) with sessions when the track coach is not available.”

Thank you to Oxfordshire Sports Partnership for allowing us to use this case study.