WRITTEN FOR ATHLETICS WEEKLY MAGAZINE
Run In England Leader of the Year – Amanda Thirsk.
In the new series profiling the winners of the England Athletics national volunteer awards handed out last October, Nicola Bamford spoke to the nominated 2010 Run In England Leader of the Year – Amanda Thirsk.
Having taken up running in the mid-2000’s with her local club Rochdale Harriers, Thirsk decided to turn to coaching after her own coach, Brenda Jackson left the training group, causing numbers to dwindle.
After completing her level-one coaching award in June 2010, Thirsk enrolled on the ‘Leadership in Running and Fitness’ (LIRF) course the following month and became a level-two coach last month.
Almost a year has passed since the mother and full-time worker came across the Run In England community and such has been her success, Thirsk was a popular winner of the national award late last year:
“I still can't believe it - I have never won anything in my life apart from the odd medal which was given out to everybody who runs,” Thirsk revealed.
“The awards night was unbelievable to say the least. Meeting some of the athletes I used to watch when I was younger like Dame Kelly Holmes and Linford Christie, oh my god!”
A keen 5km and 10km runner herself, Thirsk also enjoys half-marathons and ran 2:08 on her debut last spring.
“I have been running, or so I call it, for about six years but decided to become a coach for the juniors when my own children started going to the club about two years ago just helping out,” Thirsk explained.
“I must admit I got the bug from then on and haven't looked back since. I started leading the beginners group in February and have completed four lots of ten-week training programmes since then.”
Running the beginners group under the umbrella of Rochdale Harriers once a week, Thirsk also works alongside club-mate Julia Moore.
“We also have a group called an ‘improvers group’ and it seems to work really well,” Thirsk revealed.
“We also have a Facebook page where we can chat about runs that we have done, PB's achieved and arrange to meet up during the week for additional runs. Some of the ladies, although haven't signed up to Rochdale Harriers are doing the local Parkruns.”
Like the majority of volunteers, Thirsk leads a busy life but working in the sport which she has grown to love certainly makes life a lot more fun and her recent award is testament to the passion which she passes onto others every week through her sessions.
“I am very lucky in the fact that my family support me as I am out Monday evening with the beginners group and Tuesday and Thursday evenings with the juniors, which are under-11’s,” Thirsk explained.
“At the present time, I am out the odd weekends, too, as we have SportsCity indoor competitions and the cross country season - busy, busy, busy.”