ANSW: How did you get involved in athletics?
Ian: My daughter won her school cross country and was interested in doing some more so we approached the local club. They encouraged me to also become involved, first as a veteran competitor, and then as an official and a coach. It gradually grew from there.
I had always been interested in athletics. However, in my youth, athletics was seen as something the good kids did. i.e. you had to be good before you started participating in it.
Unfortunately, that view is still prevalent to-day.
ANSW: What do you enjoy about involvement in athletics?
Ian: The challenges, the rewards and being in touch with people, of many ages, especially when they have a love of our sport.
It is always such a delight when one of my athletes has achieves something that they really desired but maybe weren't confident about. It might be completing a marathon, or making a State team, or overcoming an injury, or just competing in a track competition. When it happens, you know you have been a positive force.
Very early in my coaching career, a 14-year-old member of our squad turned up at training one night, all excited. She had qualified for regional championships - something she had never done before.
I was quite surprised as she was quite a nice runner and I assumed she would have achieved this in the past. It was probably then, that I first realised the impact we could have on someone else's life.
It's quite a responsibility but it can be so rewarding.
As athletics is such an individual sport, you succeed or fail according to your own (and your coach's) abilities, skills and application. This is something that readily transfers to many aspects of life. I have been delighted to see some of my athletes change their approach to life, seek out a better job and be much more constructive about how they approach life in general.
ANSW: Your favourite moments in the sport?
Ian: They are many and varied but as a spectator, they would include:
- Watching Peter Snell break the World 800m record (1:44.3) in Christchurch NZ (on grass) in 1962. It was the first time I had been to an athletics meet. It is still the Oceania record today - I think we've a bit of work to do in the 800.
- Being in the stadium to see Filbert Bayi break the world record for 1500 at the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch, NZ. Filbert opened up an early led, as was his want, but with 150m to go was tiring and John Walker, from NZ, was chasing him home. The stadium announcer was overcome by the moment and started cheering for Walker. Filbert won comfortably, but John also broke the old world record. Other runners in the race ran the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th fastest 1500m times ever. A number of them also broke their national records. It was a remarkable race.
As a coach,
- Watching my daughter win the Open CHS 1500m championship twice. It is unusual for an athlete to have the opportunity to compete in this twice, let alone win it twice.
- Whenever, I see one of the athletes I coach, achieve one of their objectives,
ANSW: Away from the track what do you do?
Ian: I'm retired now and have a mixture of activities I am involved in.
- I have more time to read, research and plan my coaching - I know this has improved my training programs.
- I have been investigating our family history - identifying various convicts and 'ne'er do wells'.
- I have been trying to learn to play golf but I think it is a lost cause.
- Planning holidays and visits to parts of Australia which I have never seen.
I don't quite know how I used to fit in going to work.
ANSW: Goals in the future?
Ian: Enjoy what I am doing and contribute to our society.
One of Ian's athletes, Emma Thompson says: ''Ian has shown dedication to the principles of coaching to athletes of all abilities. He trains us for 90 minutes twice a week (rain, hail or shine) at Narrabeen and Saturday sessions for those who would like to attend. At these training sessions he conducts drills and technique specific. He spends a lot of time working on this and finely tunning it to get the most efficient stride out of everyone with the outcome of improving running times. I could show you a photo of my running technique in my first half marathon in 2006 and my most recent marathon in October last year and you would not believe it was the same person.
''He provides me (and other athletes) with an intense program to follow and updates this periodically. He also sends countless emails in regards to training, nutrition, strength work and exercises.
''Ian coaches a wide variety of distances ranging from sprints and hurdles to middle distance right up to marathons.
''He creates a positive environment where he always puts his athletes needs' first. He will push us hard, but if he believes we are over-doing it he will often drop us back for a session to allow us to recover and come back stronger. Ian's feedback is always constructive and positive.
''Since I have been training with Ian my improvement and success has been amazing. And the more I train the more I love running. I feel Ian brings the best out of his athletes by allowing them to believe that with hard work and dedication anything is possible.''