Stars of the Future Enjoy Squad Day


The best of the best young athletes are brought together for the first time.

Sunday 20th December 2016

The Leicestershire primary schools league is the biggest in the UK and over the weekend the Leicestershire Network, the organisers of the events, took the progression a further step by inviting the top 30 in each year 5/6 age group to a squad day where, for the first time, they could be given a chance to meet and train with each other. With around 80 taking up the opportunity, the morning was certainly a very vibrant and enjoyable one. Topics covered were the importance of preparing for running by doing drills and the importance of doing these correctly; something that many had not been exposed to before. With storm Angus forecast to be hitting the area during the planned session there was some concern about how running could be fitted in. However, the storm took a turn west and despite a bitter wind a really interesting training session took place on the local Ratcliffe College track with drills and a track session led by coaches from three different clubs across the county. Coaches were aided by a number of “Elite leaders” who were all previously outstanding athletes at primary level , demonstrating the collaborative work being done under the Network banner.i-am-track-cropped

With conditions deteriorating, the warm down and stretches were completed indoors and were followed by a talk on preparation for racing and nutrition. The highlight for many of those attending were the appearance of European silver medalist Kate Avery, GB 1500m runner Cameron Boyeck and England International Sam Stabler who had all travelled over from the Loughborough High performance Centre to share their experiences and to highlight the commitment needed to be the best; not just as a runner, but in any sport.i-am-internationals

John Skevington, who coordinated the event commented “ Bringing the best runners from our league together has long been an ambition as it will not only help to raise standards further but will also, probably most importantly, give us the opportunity to track progress and keep parents informed of opportunities. The drop off when these talented young athletes move to secondary school level is quite marked and there are plans to channel much of our energies during the summer months of 2017 to prepare those due to move up.” He continued “ The investment both in time and  financial terms has been quite substantial for the Network, however we are determined that this will be the first of regular sessions where we can guide the young athletes unearthed at the schools league to truly become the FUTURE OF THE SPORT!

The next session is pencilled in for early spring for those who will be taking part in the County and National final year 5/6/7 which will be staged in March 2017.


Some comments from attendees:

“…my son really enjoyed it and learnt a lot.  I think the importance of warming up properly and also the nutritional elements, really hit home – he was checking the nutritional information on the cereal box this morning!”

 “…had a fantastic time, in spite of initially being nervous about attending. When I asked him what the best bits were he said, “All of it – especially the running!”, so I think that is great feedback. I found the experiences shared by the young athletes to be very inspirational.”

“Just a short note to say how much Oliver enjoyed the squad training day today.  Thank you to you and your team for putting on such a fun day, giving the youngsters such an amazing experience.”

LRRL 2017 Fixtures

The LRRL race programme for 2017 has now been decided:

Winter League

Barrow 6: January 29th
Kibworth 6: February 12th
Stilton 7: February 26th
Markfield 10K: March 12th
Desford 5: March 26th

Summer League

West End 8: May 7th
Gaddesby 7: May 21st
Swithland 6: June 4th
Hungarton 7: July 5th
Joy Cann 5: August 2nd
Carl Rutt 10K: August 13th
John Fraser 10: September 3rd

The following races failed to make the cut this year but are very worthy of your support:

Bosworth HM: May 14th
Prestwold 10K: June 18th

Virgin Money Giving London Mini Marathon Trials 2017

LRAN organise the Virgin London Mini Marathon trials on behalf of the England Athletics East Midlands Regional Council.

img_6663cSix runners will be selected to compete for the East Midlands region in each age group team (plus two reserves) and this will normally be the first six finishers in each trial race, plus the next two who will be nominated as reserves. Members of selected teams will travel to London by coach from a central point on Saturday 22nd April 2017 and will return in the afternoon of the 23rd after the race. Running T shirt, overnight accommodation, evening meal and breakfast plus return travel, if required, will all be provided. Team members must travel to London together on the team coach; however they may choose to return with parents/guardians after the race. No parents will be allowed on the team coach or at the overnight accommodation. There are no team races for this event; everyone must enter as an individual. The England Athletics regional council reserve the right to pre-select an athlete or athletes only in exceptional circumstances (International athletics duty on the day of the trials for example).

Under 13 girls and boys must be 11 or over on 26th April 2015

East Midlands qualification is by residence, attending school, or birth in the region.

Entry Form

East Midlands Elite Squad Day

Two-time Olympian Nick McCormick and World Junior Amy Griffiths pose with some of the group

Leicestershire Running and Athletics Network collaborate with member club coaches to host the first in a series of workshops aimed at raising standards of the younger age groups as well as providing an opportunity for practical coach education.

Drilling in the sunshine

John Skevington coach and coordinator of the Leicestershire Running and Athletics Network teamed up with Rob Griffiths, lead coach at Network member club Saffron AC, to invite the best East Midlands under 13 and under 15 middle-distance runners (selected by strict time criteria at 800/1500) to experience a squad day where they could mix with their fellow “elite” from across the region.

The day opened with the distribution of the specially printed “East Midlands Elite” T-shirts which had been provided by the event sponsor New Balance and was followed with a track session where the 58 young athletes were split into ability groups. Then a timely talk by physiotherapist Brian borrows which was followed by a most interesting Q&A slot with two-time Olympian Nick McCormick and European and world junior athlete Amy Griffiths.

Strengthening those all-important feet and ankles

A brief talk by Penny Briscoe ,Team GB Chef de Mission for Paralympic sport, opened the post-lunch programme and the  afternoon session was kicked off with an insight into the importance of good biomechanics and core stability, from former international athlete Tim King, before moving on to a practical drills session which was led by coaches and club athletes with critique input from the observing coaches. The day was wrapped up with a really interesting talk by New Balance about their shoe range and was concluded with a “heads and tails” game where one very lucky young athlete won a pair of New Balance running shoes!

Nick McCormick gives an insight into the modern running shoe

Coach education – a key focus

An important part of the day was the coach education element and 12 coaches from across the region accepted the invitation to, not only observe the day’s proceedings, but also to take part and hone their coaching skills during the afternoon drill sessions. Feedback from everyone attending was that they found the day of great interest and felt they had been exposed to new ideas and initiatives which they would be incorporating into coaching regimes back at their clubs.

John Skevington commented “Rob and I had been discussing pulling an event such as this together for some time as the general feeling among coaches and athletes alike was that there would be a real benefit to everyone involved”. He went on to add “the feedback that we have had from the day was that the young athletes have gone away enthused and inspired, having been able to work with some of the Premier exponents of the sport, and were also thrilled to meet athletes who were able to give an insight into what it’s like to be a full-time athlete working at the highest level”

Young athletes learn about core strength

Suggesting that these days would become a regular part of the East Midlands programme of athlete and coach development, coach Rob Griffiths (also father of junior international Amy Griffiths) added “the day has been a real success and a special thanks must go to New Balance who have been such great support with the supply of T-shirts, goody bags and branding which all contributed to the professional atmosphere which we hoped to promote. The success of the day will inevitably be a springboard for at least a follow up session and we would love to be able to work with other partners to help progress the great start that we have made”

John Skevington concluded “we were both thrilled by the, generally, open attitude of clubs across the region who were happy to promote the day to their athletes and to send their coaches along as part of their education as well. The network is committed wholly to coach education but also firmly believe that to make coach education work properly, athletes need to be educated and enthused along the way so that we can reduce the dropout of our best young athletes”

Summer running camp August 2nd – 3rd

No sun, but lots of fun!

The need for sun cream was far from everybody’s mind during the third Leicestershire Running and Athletics Network summer running camp held at New College; however, the unseasonal weather didn’t stop the two days of running, running games, running drills and a great deal of fun being a huge success.

The group of 35 runners ranging from age 8 to 13 were admirably looked after by network coach John Skevington and assisted on day one by Will Goodbourn; a young up-and-coming coach being supported by the network through his qualifications to become a fully licensed coach. Will took the lead throughout the second day, under John’s supervision, and everyone declared him a great success. The days were also ably supported by a variety of athletes who had attended in previous years and enjoyed it so much that they wanted to continue their involvement in the event.

Everyone looked resplendent in the branded T-shirt individually printed with their name; something that made each of the young athletes feel especially important!

Highlights of the two days were definitely John Skevington’s famous games “Spring the pack”, “the 1-5 game” and “rats and rabbits” which were repeatedly requested throughout both days!

The summer camp has now become a firm fixture in the network calendar as part of its programme to develop young athletes in a fun atmosphere and will be on doubt be back again next year, hopefully in more seasonal weather!

Network coordinator and coach John Skevington explained “the days that the network host are an important part of our development of young runners, many whom will inevitably become club runners and will be competing on the track and over cross-country in just a few short years. Combine this with our initiative to progress our up-and-coming athletes through primary school to secondary competition and we believe we have created a true pathway from having fun with running to proper competition in later years” He also went on to add “the other real positives are that we were able to recruit the services of an apprentice coach to help him experience working with a large group of young people and also to be able to call on willing helpers in their teenage years who were already keen to give something back to the sport”