Alastair Aitken reports on .......
|JIM McNAMARA an IRISH LEGEND (May 2013)|
|Mike Gratton Looks Back (April 2013)|
|Aldershot Champions Again (April 2013)|
|NATIONAL 12 STAGE ROAD RELAY (April 2013)|
|VICTORIA PARK WOMEN'S RACE (April 2013)|
|VICTORIA PARK 5 WITH MARTIN & HICKEY (April 2013)|
|World Trial and Inter-Counties Part Three (March 2013)|
|World Trial and Inter-Counties Part Two (March 2013)|
|World Trial and Inter-Counties Part One (March 2013)|
|Southern Cross Country Champs - Part Three (February 2013)|
|Southern Cross Country Champs - Part Two (February 2013)|
|Southern Cross Country Champs - Part One (February 2013)|
|MIDDLESEX CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS (January 2013)|
|HARRY TEMPAN RETIRES AT 87 (December 2012)|
|Running Still - 133 years of Highgate Harriers (August 2012)|
|FRANK SANDO (14/3/31 - 13/10/12)|
|GREG RICHARDS (October 2012)|
|THE MIDDLESEX & OPEN 10K (September 2012)|
|NINA ANDERSON (September 2012)|
|MO FARAH - HIS BREAKTHROUGH YEARS (August 2012)|
|WILLIAM SHARMAN (August 2012)|
|DWAIN CHAMBERS (August 2012)|
|JOB KINYOR from Kenya (JULY 2012)|
|CHRIS TOMLINSON (July 2012)|
|ARIES MERRITT (July 2012)|
|TYSON GAY in London (July 2012)|
|CHRISTIAN TAYLOR TRIPLE JUMP WORLD CHAMPION 2011 (JULY 2012)|
|DON TAYLOR (1936 TO 2012)|
|THE MAN WHO CHANGED 10,000m RUNNING HISTORY (JULY 2012)|
|THE LAST TWO BRITISH OLYMPIC WALK MEDALLISTS (July 2012)|
|JIM RYUN with MARTY LIQUORI and JOHN WHETTON (JUNE 2012)|
|TWO OF THE GREATEST OLYMPIC THROWERS - JANIS LUSIS and AL OERTER (JUNE 2012)|
|BASIL HEATLEY THE GREAT ROAD/CC/TRACK RUNNER (MAY 2012)|
|RON RODDAN COACH TO A 1992 OLYMPIC CHAMPION (MAY 2012)|
Ron Roddan of Thames Valley Harriers is one of the most respected sprint coaches in the World, despite not being a person, specially selected as a paid coach by the powers that be. You will always find him at the Middlesex Track & Field Championships in May of each year, surrounded by true athletics enthusiasts. The Championships in 2012 were on May 12th at Mile End Stadium and that was where I talked to Ron. He is listed in UKA McCain Power of 10' as coach of sixteen athletes but there are very many more he advised or advises, of that there is no doubt. Modest, 81 year old Ron, received the London Performance Coach of the Year Award on the 11th of February 2012. That shows how much he is regarded amongst the London athletic clubs.
Alastair talks to Ron
How many years have you been coaching for now
Of the athletes you have coached which one's would stand out to you over the years
" I would say Linford, Wendy Hoyte, Trevor Hoyte, Les Hoyte, Kermitt Bentham.In later years working with Linford quite well with Kathleen Merry, Darren Campbell and people like that."
As you coached Linford Christie, who was 100m Olympic Sprint Champion in Barcelona in 1992, been World Champion in 1993, several times a European and Commonwealth Champion what were his qualities?
" Once he made his mind up he was going to do it properly he was very focused. He knew what he wanted to do. He wanted to be the best in Britain, then the best in Europe,and then the best in the World. He made his mind up and just put his mind to it, that was it.'
When he was younger he was learning
" He played around a lot. He was a young man and he just enjoyed life but at about 23 to 24 he suddenly got told that if he put his mind to it he could become really good and as I say he buckled down to it.He made his mind up he was going to do it and he did it!"
He had a strong mind in competition
" That was one of the reasons he lasted so long. Because once he made his mind up at 24 he then made a breakthrough at 25/26 and that was when he started training properly. That was when he went full time and that was why he lasted so long. Olympic Champion at 32 and he still ran for another two to three years"
He inspired a lot of people around the Shepherds Bush area to take up sprinting.
Do you think that the Powers that be utilise enough of him these days in athletics.
" I don't think so. We have got some good coaches in this country but they are not being used. A lot of good club coaches all round the country that are doing a good job but they are not being used. It just seems to be a very limited close company and you have to be a friend of a friend of a friend to be part of it I think. That is part of the problem nowadays."
What brought you into athletics originally Ron
"I did it at school for the last two years and in my last year one of the boys at my school was a member of Thames Valley and he introduced me to Thames Valley in 1947 and I have been a member of Thames Valley ever since.'
You must get a lot of pleasure out of coaching at Thames Valley, not just internationals
" I have coached English Schools winners, Country Champions, Southern and international champions so it's all sorts. It is all part of it. If you take a young person and help them to improve, not necessarily to international level but as long as they improve, that is satisfaction but nowadays it seems to be people saying 'Oh No' I'll take you on when you are an international, if you not international calibre I am not interested!. To coach someone you have to take someone who is a roar talent and make something of them.'
Which is what you have done?
'Time and Time again'
You mention Kermit Bentham, who as a young man was running 46 odd for the 400 as an international and is still a veteran/Masters champion many years later. A nice man with a great sense of humour and a flashing gold tooth. He has lasted a tremendously long time
" He has lasted a long time. I work in West London and Kermitt comes from East London..I dread to think sometimes of the miles he has covered driving over.He has been doing that since 1980 when he first came over'
He is a Masters Champion in his age category too
.He still enjoys it. He has a foot problem which he is trying to get right but he still wants to come back and run, so you can' t stop them. IF THEY ENJOY IT THEY WILL DO IT but a lot of people these days are doing it for the wrong reasons. Trying to make a living out of it, can you make money from it? That is the wrong reason. You have got to do it because you want to do it.'
You have not really gained financially out of athletics as much as gained satisfaction out of coaching so many people over so many years.
" I have never been paid for anything that I have done. That is for the club, for the County or for the National.
I would not take money from athletes anyway.Athletes don't get that much money. Some cases now days take it from where they can but again, that is the wrong reason.'
A lot of people come to you for train. What do you require from them?
" As long as anyone comes training and comes regular I'll help them.Whether they go beyond club level or stay at club level. As long as they come down and enjoy what they are doing I'll keep working with them'
'What we do training-wise I have found generally helps them in their normal working life as well. Other people come back years after they have finished and say 'Thanks' for what you gave me' because it helps them in their normal life.
That gives you satisfaction
' It gives me a lot of satisfaction.'
Which Olympics have you been to
" First one was Wembley in 1948. I went to Rome in 1960 and watched that.The last one I went to was probably Barcelona.' (Where Linford won his Gold)
You must have noticed the change between the 1948 Olympics and now have feelings about the sport with the Olympics being in London again in 2012
"The overall standard has vastly improved because, everything has improved anyway BUT I don't like the attitude of some people now.It's gone too far mercenary-wise. It is sad to see but frankly I am still involved club-wise so you still get club athletics which is a bit more like the old style.
However athletes who win gold medals will be no better or worse than the 'Great athletes of 1948.
It was a very good 100m Final won by Harrison Dillard on cinders. They were just as good for their day as the great one's are now for today?
" In 1948. I think for most of that week, despite the track being on ciders, it rained most of the week when there were some fantastic performances because they were virtually normal people. In this country it was the first time a lot of people had seen black athletes and good black athletes from America the Caribbean and all over the place and, the first time people had seen Eastern European distance runners. Zatopek and people like that and it was a whole new ball game the '48 Games'. Nowadays you get more and more people, loads more nations doing it now'
' I think there was more fun in those days. I think everybody seemed to have fun, everyone was smiling. Nowadays hardly anyone smiles, too serious and too much money involved as well'
You must have seen Mal Whitfield and Arthur Wint perform
'Arthur Wint I met at the Middlesex Championships and McDonald Bailey at the Middlesex Championships too. I ran against Arthur Wint in the 400 in the Middlesex Championships. It might have been at Imber Court when they used to have the Middlesex Championships on grass.Even Roger Banniser ran the 400 there as well.'
' I got down to 50.2 in the 400 which was my PB. I was quite pleased with that. I was a good club runner. The best I got was 2nd or 3rd one year in the Middlesex.That was probably my peak.
'In those days you had heats and semi Final and Finals in a proper County Championship.
'I think nowadays too many people are ducking and diving. Coaches say 'You don't need to race yet'
To my mind you have to get used to racing. You can train and train but that doses not simulate a race. The only way you get used to racing is race. I remember one time years ago, one year in particular, everyone was saying Linford's racing too much. I said half of his races are training. He is not racing too much and in a Championship he proved it.'
Usain Bolt you said he is enjoying his athletics'
'When ever you see him, whether he is training, warming up getting ready for big Championships he has got a smile on his face. That is a genuine smile. He is having fun. He is enjoying it. Angelo Taylor is another. A lot of those older one's you can look at them and see them having a laugh and joke when they are getting ready, enjoying it because it is a pass time. It is a full time job but they do enjoy doing it. To do it properly I think you have got to enjoy doing it otherwise why do it."
|BRONISLAW MALINOWSKI STEEPLECHASER '1960's to 81' (MAY 2012)|
|GASTON ROELANTS 'THE STEEPLECHASER OF THE 1960'S' (APRIL 2012)|
|JOHN DISLEY THE UK'S OUSTANDING STEEPLECHASER OF THE 1950'S|
|MEN'S NATIONAL 12 STAGE ROAD RELAY (April 2012)|
|Women's National 6 Stage Road Relay (April 2012)|
|THE 46th VICTORIA PARK '5' (April 2012)|
|SIX OUTSTANDING OLYMPIC MEDALLISTS- 800m to 10000m (APRIL 2012)|
|EIGHT AFRICAN OLYMPIC CHAMPIONS (March 2012)|
|McCain UK Inter Counties & UK Challenge 2012 - part 3|
|McCain UK Inter Counties & UK Challenge 2012 - part 2|
|McCain UK Inter Counties & UK Challenge 2012 - part 1|
|THE ENGLISH NATIONAL 2012 - part 2|
|THE ENGLISH NATIONAL 2012 - part 1|
|THE LATE BMC COACH FRANK HORWILL (FEBRUARY 2012)|
|SEAA Cross Country Championships - Juniors (January 2012)|
|SEAA Women's Cross Country Championships (January 2012)|
|SEAA Senior Men's Cross Country Championships (January 2012)|
|Six Olympic 110 Hurdles Champions Talking (January 2012)|
|CHRIS FINILL'S RUN ACROSS AMERICA IN 2011 (January 2012)|
|'HUSTLING HERB' ONE OF THE FIRST JAMAICAN OLYMPIANS (January 2012)|
|SEAA Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships 10/12/11|
|Dick Taylor and Allan Rushmer (60's,70's & 80's)|
|Lynn Davies (Looking back in November 2011)|
|Scott Overall (October 2011)|
|Keith Gerrard (October 2011)|
|National Six Stage Relays (October 2011)|
|National Four Stage Women's Road Relay (October 2011)|
|David Hemery (1968 & 75, Updated October 2011)|
|Tony Simmons an Underrated 'Star' Performer (September 2011)|
|Kenya's First 'Great' Sprinter - Serapheno Antao|
|The Vets Athletic Club's Championship (August 2011)|
|Mel Batty (August 2011)|
|Tiffany Townsend (August 2011)|
|Coach John Smith (August 2011)|
|Jason Richardson (August 2011)|
|Lisa Dobriskey (August 2011)|
|Mark Lewis-Francis (August 2011)|
|David Rudisha - IAAF World Athlete of the Year 2010|
|David Morwood (June 2011)|
|Rosemary Chrimes - A Star for 40 Years (June 2011)|
|Paul Dickenson Commentator and Athlete (June 2011)|
|Larry Achike (May 2011)|
|Three of Histories Greatest milers - Part 3 - SEB COE|
|Three of Histories Greatest milers - Part 2 - JOHN WALKER|
|Three of Histories Greatest milers - Part 1 - SYDNEY WOODERSON|
|Three very great curve runners of the past and their views|
|Derek Ibbotson (Interviewed Oct 1962 - updated 2011)|
|Walter Wilkinson (Interviewed Summer 2000)|
|Dave Chapman (Interview Autumn 1998)|
|'Never Say Die' Les Roberts (April 2011)|
|David Cannon (Interview April 2011)|
|Bruce Tulloh (Interviewed April 2011 and September 1962)|
|Geoff Harrold remembered (Born 25/5/39 died 1/4/11)|
|Nick McCormick at the Victoria Park '5' (March 2011)|
|The Victoria Park '5' A World Renown Road Race (March 2011)|
|Bernard Plain MBE (March 2011)|
|South London's Historic Mob Match (March 2011)|
|World Trials and Inter-Counties - report 3 (2011)|
|World Trials and Inter-Counties - report 2 (2011)|
|World Trials, Inter-Counties and Mike McLeod (2011)|
|North of the Thames Championships - Kingsbury (Feb 2011)|
|Memories of Peter Hildreth (1928 - February 26th 2011)|
|Jonny Hay and Richard Goodman at the English National Junior 2011|
|Louise Deman and Hatti Dean at the English National 2011|
|Steve Vernon - English National Champion 2011|
|Chris Smith and Serpentine - Outstanding in the Met League Final (2011)|
|Nielson Hall and others at the the SEAA Championships 2011)|
|Dave Clarke (The Great Runner from Hercules Wimbledon)|
|Chris Finill the Outstanding Ultra Distance Runner|
|Three New Stars at the 'PREMIER LEAGUE' Jo Smith Cup (Sept 2010)|
|Gladys Bird - Woodford Green & Essex Ladies|
|Bob Smith - Newham and Essex Beagles|
|Richard Thompson - August 2010|
|Danielle Carruthers - August 2010|
|Angelo Taylor - August 2010|
|Michael Rimmer - August 2010|
|British M45 javelin record holder Roald Bradstock|
|James Shane with his Coach Martin Brown JUNE 2010|
|Tony Jarrett JUNE 2010|
|Andy Turner Interview JUNE 2010|
|Southern Counties Track & Field Championships at Crystal Palace JUNE 2010|
|The Aldershot National Womens 4 Stage Champions 2010|
|Grenville Tuck Interview (May 2010 and in 1975)|
|The stage winners at the National 12 Stage Relay - Sutton Park - April 2010|
|Anthony Whiteman Interview - April 2010|
|Bill Adcocks Interview - 13th March 2010|
|Wendy Sly Interview - 13th March 2010|
|Peter Clark A Forgotten Hero|
|Dic Evans A Runner for Wales for 45 years interviewed in 2009|
|Douglas Alistair Gorden Pirie (Born Leeds 10th February 1931 Died 7th December 1991)|
|Peter Browne: British Milers Club and Racing Against Ovett and Coe|
|Peter Browne: Born 3rd of February 1949|
|Six of Belgrave's Winning 12 Stage Team|
|Newham & Essex Beagles 6 Stage Winners and Course Record Breakers 2009|
|Dave Moorcroft Through the Years|
|Bob Smith the Successful Newham & Essex Beagles Manager August 2009|
|Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie Interviewed in London Summer 2009|
|Martyn Rooney at Croydon July 2009|
|Felix Sanchez in London 2009|
|Kerron Clement interviwed on 24th of July 2009|
|Simeon Williamson in London (July 25th, 2009)|
|Dayron Robles interviewed in London 2009|
|Irie Hill at the British Master Championships 2009|
|Roy Fowler - The Red Fox|
|John Hall - Race Walker|
|Mara Yamauchi - Outstanding British Performer in the London Marathon 2009|
|Nick Goolab - The Revelation of the UK Cross Country Season 2008/2009|
|Joyce Smith M.B.E|
|Mike Barratt The 'Evergreen' Running Legend|
|Clare Elms A Revelation of Age Athletics|
|Harry Tempan The Rennaisance Runner|
|Kermit Bentham - A man who has run over 500 one lap races in his life!|
|Andretti Bain 2008 Olympic 4x400 relay silver|
|Bernard Lagat in London July 2008|
|Usain Bolt in London|
|Charlie Williams - Outstanding Master Sprinter|
|Where Are They Now - John Greatrex|
|The Truly Remarkable Tony Bowman|
|Gerry North - The Most Consistent cross-country runner of the 60's|
|Robert Slowe - Outstanding Clubman|
|Anthony Noel - World Masters Champion|
|Andre Bucher - 2001 World 800m Champion|
|Wallace Spearmon (2006)|
|Derek Johnson (1985)|
|James Carter - USA 400m hurdles Champion 2002 and 2004|
|Dorothy Manley - Silver medalist London Olympics 1948|