Crystal Sawatzky, Rupert Runners vice-president, with Lynn Kanuka, Olympic Bronze medalist. (Cyrstal Sawatzky photo)

Olympic running coach trains Rupert coaches

Rupert Runners’ Learn To Run program will have BC Athletics trained leaders for the first time

Canadian Olympian and former elite runner, Lynn Kanuka, is now a high performance trainer, and over the weekend she worked with volunteer running coaches in Prince Rupert to impart her knowledge on how to coach.

The 13-week Learn To Run clinic put on by Rupert Runners is approaching Feb. 13, and nine coaches took the Road Running Coach Instructor Course. This is the first time the couch to 10km program will have fully trained coaches, now a requirement by BC Athletics.

But having the 1984 bronze medalist, who placed third in the women’s 3,000-metre race at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, was a huge benefit to the Rupert running coaches.

Before Kanuka started coaching in 1990, she held the Canadian women’s records for the 3,000-metre, 5,000-metre, 10-kilometre distance. She won a bronze at the World Championship in Norway in 1989, and a gold at the Commonwealth Games in Scotland in 1986. Currently, she’s coaching Natasha Wodak, Canada’s top 10,000-metre runner, who is heading to the world half-marathon championship and the Commonwealth Games.

“It’s a real treat and a privilege to work with highly motivated people,” Kanuka said.

Over the weekend, Jan. 19-21, Kanuka taught practical sessions, from warm-up ideas to cool-down exercises. She gave tips on how participants can strengthen their core and improve their strength training to support the run/walk program.

Kanuka also stressed understanding the importance of working and resting and “staying in tune with the participants so they too will love the sport and that they’re not doing too much for themselves,” she said.

“People are innately competitive and they do too much, too fast, too soon. If that’s the take away, listen to your body, talk to your participants, find out how they’re feeling and doing and you can’t help but be successful.”

Key elements to being a coach: “enthusiasm and passion, which abounds here in Prince Rupert.”

“I’m told there could be as many as 120 people that you could be working with for the Learn To Run program.”

Dates for information sessions on the walk/run clinic by Rupert Runners have yet to be released, but two dates will be set prior to the Feb. 13 start of the program.

“Folks if you’re even halfway thinking you wouldn’t mind getting off couch then come and join this group because their leadership will be second to none,” Kanuka said. 

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