There is no finish line
17 November 2021
We are all elephants. There, ponder that mental imagery for one second.
And while you do, think of your running knowledge compared to that of a newbie – a mouse who is looking up to you, wondering what it needs to do to survive,” explains Liz Purbrick, England Athletics Inclusion Manager - as she demonstrates the position of power one individual can have compared to another.
It’s true if you think about. In all areas of life - including running - there are endless instances of elephants meeting mice; a teacher meeting their class for the first time, even the Queen awarding you an MBE. As that mouse we’ll hang on the elephant’s every wise word and draw a conclusion. You are after all, the expert running leader or a seasoned runner - an elephant - who knows all about what it takes to run your first 5km, while the mouse - someone new to running on their first-ever visit to your RunTogether group - looks up to you awe and doesn’t know a thing.
"So, take this opportunity as an elephant to step up and help," says Liz, explaining the importance not just being a running leader / mentor but taking part in England Athletics’ courses in general.
Furthering your running knowledge.
It’s a fabulous comparison, easy to understand but more importantly hugely important when it comes to furthering your running knowledge. This - and of course, some more basic information - is what embarking on a course to help you as Mentors, Runners and Leaders is all about.
For instance, a group of Run Leader Mentors got together recently to explore this and a variety of other subjects as they continue their never-ending path of excellence when it comes to helping everyday day, normal runners get the most from their RunTogether experience.
"It’s almost simple really," says Paul, a mentor excited to be on this course to renew and refresh his undoubted expertise. "Listen and learn. You can’t know everything, and we should all understand our limitations," he says chatting about what he gets from get-togethers like the Run Leader Mentor Development Day.
Rather like running in a group, which sees people sharing information and being generally positive, bouncing ideas off each other, putting the world to rights on your 5km loop with RunTogether friends, so learning what it takes to be a leader or mentor can be hugely beneficial both physically and mentally.
"And I love these courses," adds Sharon "because as a Run Leader you often think of yourself out there on your own and groups like this [the development day] help you understand there are plenty of runners out there ready to help. You only need ask!"
Equip yourself with self confidence
Interestingly, that’s an element of learning we as runners should recognise. To some degree we all suffer a bit from something called the Imposter Syndrome that as the name suggests, says we often don’t feel confident in what we’re doing. ‘But I’m just little old me. What do I know?’ England Athletics’ course will tell you otherwise! You’re not little old me; attend something like a Run Leader Development course and you’ll equip yourself with self confidence that works well in every aspect of life.
"Actually, every day can be a school day," laughs Tracey Francis, England Athletics Participation Programmes Manager.
Current courses include:
- Leadership in Running Fitness (LiRF) for runners wanting to become Run Leaders
- Coaching in Running Fitness (CiRF) for Run Leaders to take their leadership into coaching. The LiRF to CiRF workshop is a course to help ready a Run Leader for the course
- Virtual Run Leader Development workshops
- Mental Wellbeing in Sport and Physical Activity
- Sight Loss Awareness and Guide Running workshops
- Movement Skills / Physical Preparation Development workshops
- Equality and Diversity in Sport
- Disability Inclusion Training
Diversity and inclusion courses
It’s the diversity and inclusion courses which attracts a lot of interest as the importance of diversity is recognised by more and more runners. At its core, it is about creating a sense of belonging, something Run Leaders are well versed in, but moving on from that it’s about understanding what sometimes can be a sensitive and an emotive subject that’s about creating a comfortable atmosphere for anyone who wants to take up running. “Definitely, people often feel like they don’t belong,” says Serena, a course attendee.
Run Leader Development workshop series
The virtual Run Leader Development workshop series currently promoted Run Leader but for those who feel they want ‘refresh’ their skills and re-connect with other Leaders after reduced or no activity since the first Covid-19 Lockdown, the webinars could be invaluable. The virtual webinar series provided a platform not just for our leaders to learn from experienced tutors but also from one another. The interaction, sharing of ideas, collective problem solving and discussions with one another were big reasons behind leaders attending past sessions this year.
Enrol in a course!
As a grassroots membership and development body, England Athletics and its recreational running programme – RunTogether is wholly committed to providing a range of relevant training courses and learning opportunities.
But for the RunTogether community, we recognise that as recreational runners who are highly motivated by supporting others; you are especially keen to keep learning and developing and sharing your love of running and the amazing ability it has to develop us physically and mentally. With this in mind, why not enrol in a course today?