Coaching courses organised by the governing body became the norm for those who wanted to become involved with coaching and initially the old British Amateur Athletic Board (BAAB) ran a system which had three categories of coach namely Assistant Club Coach, Club Coach and Senior Coach. The BAAB was later replaced by the British Athletics Federation (BAF), then British Athletics followed by UK Athletics each of whom had their own system for recognising coaching qualifications which the individual had to keep up to date. Coaching areas were split into regions. R&Z were on the border of two coaching regions, the northern where Carl Johnson was in charge and the Eastern with Brad McStravick in charge. Other coaches in the regional system included Peter Warden, David Lease, David Warburton, Mike Smith, Max Jones and Bruce Longden with Frank Dick in overall charge for several years. When the British Athletics Federation was declared bankrupt many if not all these individuals lost their jobs although some no doubt continued to coach. The whole coaching structure is now different, as is the structure of “British” athletics, and although individuals/clubs always had to pay a coaching course fee and keep their passbooks up to date the new system seems to be expensive to someone who went through the system in the late 70s and early 80s. Having said that it is vital for clubs to encourage individuals to attend whatever the system of the day provides in order to ensure good quality coaching of its athletes. For instance Graeme attended a week long residential course on Womens Athletics at Loughborough in 1988 which cost a £100. Prior to that in 1986 he decided to attend the senior coaching course at Gateshead which on completion led to two three hour written exams, one on coaching theory and one on event specific followed by a practical exam which in his case was on sprinting. Several members of R&Z have been on various coaching courses over the years such as Fiona Wilson, Graham Purvis, Shaun Purkiss, Ken Harker, and Christiane Adams all of whom are still coaching as well as others who are no longer involved for various reasons. Prior to Graeme’s retirement after 30 years active involvement in the sport around 15 members attended an in house introduction to coaching held over a period of weeks which was held in the Club Headquarters referred to later. Unfortunately very few if any lasted for long. Coaching can be very rewarding but it is also a commitment. It is important that in today’ s age of risk assessment/duty of care etc coaches attend a recognised coaching course and appropriate updates not only for insurance purposes but also to ensure that athletes receive good tuition. Repitition of errors perfects mistakes.
During the 80s and early 90s the North Yorkshire Schools federation organised a 2 day residential coaching workshop for athletes of County standard which was held in the Leeds area with a National coach as “leader” and staffed by club coaches from the area in their different specialisms. Many club athletes were invited to attend these worthwhile events. Unfortunately funds for these courses dried up so they are no longer held.
The R&Z teams soon made their presence felt in the NYSD cross country league at both junior and senior level, as well as at various road races such as the annual Gateshead, Scarborough and Elswick events. The Club was instrumental in initiating the NYSD road relays which for the first nine years were staged in Richmond on a popular and testing 1.5 mile loop, the trophies for each team award having been donated by local firms. Over the years a NYSD cross country fixture has been hosted by the Club at various venues such as Richmond School, Risedale School and the old racecourse in Richmond.
During the 80s the Club demonstrated its organisational skills by hosting the Yorkshire cross country championships for females as well as the Northern CC championships for females both of which in those days were staged separately to the male event.
With the influx of new members and their subsequent involvement in track and field events an annual awards system was instigated where individuals achievements could be recognised and rewarded with a trophy. Coupled with this, the Esso sponsored 5* system was used as a means of scoring athletes abilities . When possible a known athletics star was invited to the club to present the awards and amongst those were Christine Boxer(800m), Louise Stuart (sprinter), Colin Walker(steeplechase), Lynn Etherington (marathon), Julia Bennet (high jump), John Mayock (1500m), Rebecca Lynn (800), and Alison Curbishley (400m Hurdles).
With finance playing an ever increasing part in the management of the Club’s affairs three grant applications were applied for in 1987, 1988 and 2000 all of which proved to be successful. These were from Minolta Copiers (£1000), McVities (£500) and the Millenium Awards Scheme(£2917). In the late 80s the Club received a donation of money which was used to purchase a portacabin for storing club equipment at the stadium. Many were glad to see this as for example the hurdles were stored in a greenhouse at Scruton and transported each time they were needed and the high jump beds were in a shed at Shaun’s.
In 1986 Graeme was asked if he would be willing to organise the Queens Relay stage between Leeds and Northallerton which he agreed to do. This involved 32 legs of around 1.25 miles each run by an athlete from different Yorkshire clubs carrying the baton on its way to the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh and accompanied by 6-8 school children from different schools. The last two legs before arriving at Northallerton Town Hall involved around 20 club members accompanying the baton. The whole stage was accompanied by two police motor cycle escorts and two Post Office Counter riders with Graeme and Wendy following the runners in a car to ensure there were no hitches at the various take over venues which Graeme had identified beforehand. The stage started at a garage in Leeds before passing through the red light district and then on to Harrogate and Ripon before arriving in Northallerton.