West Midlands region volunteer awards announced
23 November 2020
We kick off the second week of our virtual awards nights by heading to the West Midlands. Broadcast live online, we were delighted to be able to recognise the outstanding work, passion and dedication of volunteers across the West Midlands region who have had such a positive impact on Athletics and Running during such a unique and challenging year.
Our England Athletics Regional Volunteer Awards winners and runners-up for the West Midlands are…
Run Leader of the Year – West Midlands
Winner: Graham Lamb (Burton AC)
Graham Lamb of Burton Athletics Club is the winner of the England Athletics Leader of the Year Regional Volunteer Award for the West Midlands. He is passionate about athletics and wants people of all ages to get the same pleasure he does from the sport. At Burton AC he fills many leadership roles – where there is a gap he helps fill it: he is vice chairman, club coach, chief timekeeper, he writes the press reports, runs the cross country team and the masters team. Graham has built up a young distance running group from scratch and last season, five girls were selected to represent their county at either the English Schools Championships or the Inter Counties. Graham builds good relationships with parents who recognise the amount of time he gives to their children’s coaching and supporting them at events. Each member of the group gets the same level of attention and support. During lockdown he ran Zoom coaching sessions and encouraged the group to create a virtual relay video and got them to create Strava art, running an NHS tribute. He facilited one-to-one training and smaller group training when permitted during the pandemic, with up to 10 sessions per day, and he has also started coaching a master dual blade runner who had never run on the track before and just got his blades.
Runner-up: Martin Swan (Nuneaton Harriers AC)
RunTogether Group of the Year – West Midlands
Winner: Penkridge Runners
Members of RunTogether group Penkridge Runners become friends because of the safe and welcoming environment created by Martin Leek and the other run leaders. Winner of the RunTogether Group of the Year for the West Midlands, the group is known for the welcome, encouragement and support the members receive regardless of their experience. Martin and the other run leaders are always on hand to give advice and nothing is ever too much trouble which keeps the feeling of camaraderie going even when the groups can’t meet up. During the pandemic, the group was given weekly running and fitness challenges to complete as well as fun challenges so that no one was left out. Sessions are adapted for those with physical or mental health struggles so that everyone can achieve their goals for everyone to celebrate with them. Martin is incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about Penkridge Runners and makes all the sessions different every week – working on different aspects of fitness and helping the group to become the best they can be at running. He inspires them all to believe they can, cheers them loudly when they do and picks them up if they don’t and encourages them to try again.