BC Athletics

National Endurance Centre Report to BC Athletics AGM

The National Athletics Centre has made tremendous advances this year. It began with Head Coach Wynn Gmitroski being made time. Now the Centre has 6-7 carded athletes fulltime in January 2004. The Centre program has set wonderful precedents in terms of both National Training Centres and Training Centres for Athletics. Two Centre athletes made the Olympic Team, Gary Reed and Dianne Cummins, with Dianne making the final in the 800m. Both hold National records and ranked in the top 16 and 5 in the world respectively. Part of this success formula is the tremendous partnership between BC Athletics, Athletics Canada, PacificSport and the Victoria International Running Society. Athletics Canada greatly increased its funding to the Centre this year through COC funding.

Through this partnership a successful Centre has been created, but also a successful map for the hosting of National and International Events. The Pacific Northwest Series has seen an incredible rise in support and recognition. The 2004 National Championships was a tremendous success. The Center and its athletes are also involved in the Times Colonist 10K through a new program called the 100K Klub where schools sign up to run 99K with their last kilometer at the TC10K kids race. Bronze athletes attended the school clinics, gave motivational speeches, helped with training, and ran the TC10K with the kids. The program was a tremendous success and the marathon is using it as a format to start their own similar program.

The other part of this success equation is the leadership from Brent Fougner and Wynn Gmitroski and the way they lead and blend the entire Training Group (from Bronze to Gold). There are monthly educational sessions with sport science and sport medicine experts who don't just lecture the athletes and coaches, but create a round table workshop in which everyone can learn. Istvan Balyi works regularly with the Coaches to develop training plans. The Centre athletes incorporate unique training opportunities like weekly power yoga sessions. The Centre shared and built upon this wonderful direction with Canada and BC's Endurance Coaches by hosting a special camp and learning opportunity in November 2004. The Coaches also have lead the way in Team Building by developing an Athlete Agreement form, and Wynn Gmitroski has developed an amazing training log for athletes that serves as a model across the country.

At this point in time, The Centre's partners are meeting and putting together a strategic plan that will align with that of Athletics Canada's new direction and with BC Athletics'. The focus will be more narrow and focused, but this should only add to the success. Wynn is increasing his duties to include directing a development program so that we have a continued source of high performance athletics. Further to this, a scholarship was created for the top high school endurance athlete to train at U Vic and be part of the Centre. Plans for this year include hiring an assistant coach.

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