Day 299: 31 December

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Day 298: 30 December

Donna Raynor: "I am elated to have been elected to the World Athletics Council and even more excited that 12 women ran for positions and 12 women were voted in. This is an historic day for women and this will be etched in my mind forever. This was scheduled to happen in 2027 at the next election but we are 4 years ahead of schedule 50/50.

"I figured I might have a good chance of getting in when Ximena had the most votes for the females and then we had 8 spots for females out of 11 women.  When we took all 11 spots I was jumping for joy. I started crying and couldn't stop. When I called my husband he was asking me if I am happy or sad as I couldn't get it out that I did it. A day to never ever forget."

Read more via the Empowering Women in Athletics group on Facebook

Day 297: 29 December

La maratonista paraguaya integra la selecta lista de las 100 personalidades reconocidas por la cadena pública británica BBC.

Entre ellas se encuentran la abogada de derechos humanos Amal Clooney, la estrella de Hollywood América Ferrera, la ícono feminista Gloria Steinem, la ex primera dama de Estados Unidos Michelle Obama, la propietaria de un negocio de belleza Huda Kattan y la futbolista ganadora del Balón de Oro Aitana Bonmatí.

En un año en el que el calor extremo, los incendios forestales, las inundaciones y otros desastres naturales han dominado los titulares, la lista también destaca a las mujeres que han estado trabajando para ayudar a sus comunidades a enfrentar el cambio climático y tomar medidas para adaptarse a sus impactos.

Conocida por su apodo de Pantera Guaraní, Pirelli posee varios récords nacionales de atletismo y es entrenadora deportiva y profesora de inglés.

Pirelli creció en una familia consciente del medio ambiente en un pequeño pueblo de Paraguay, donde ha visto de cerca los impactos del cambio climático, reseña el medio.

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Day 296: 28 December

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Day 295: 27 December

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Day 294: 26 December

"In Japan, there’s a grade of honours that goes beyond just the top three in each race. It’s called nyu-sho – a title we give to those who finish in the top eight," says Nozomi Tanaka.

"Only a few people in every event can get on the podium, after all, and nyu-sho is our way of recognising those who were among the top performers. It’s a reason to fight for every place, even in races where a medal isn’t possible.

"At the Tokyo Olympics, I finished eighth in the 1500m final and that word, nyu-sho, was splashed across the newspapers the next day. In Japan, it’s a significant honour, and it meant a huge amount to me."

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Day 293: 25 December

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Day 292: 24 December

Annette Purvis: "I am really humbled and excited to have been elected to World Athletics Council. At the 2019 election in Doha I was unsuccessful but I returned this year, which I hope is an example of patience, dedication and if at first you don’t succeed keep going attitude!

"As a member of the Gender Leadership taskforce I am delighted that our work is paying dividends with the 50/50 target being achieved ahead of time. To share this with Donna Raynor, who has been part of our gender leadership initiatives, makes it very special!"

Read more via the Empowering Women in Athletics group on Facebook

Day 291: 23 December

In 2023 Shericka Jackson extended her reign as the queen of the 200m.

The Jamaican went undefeated in the half-lap sprint for the entire year, retaining her world title and creeping ever closer to the long-standing world record.

She also impressed in the 100m, reducing her PB to a world-leading 10.65 before taking world silver, then adding another silver medal in the 4x100m.

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Day 290: 22 December

As part of @PBPersonalBest’s Remarkable Runners series, we introduce Siobhan Coleman, a 21-time Scottish junior champion, whose life took a challenging turn when she faced a cervical cancer diagnosis and life-changing surgery.

In this interview, Siobhan shares her journey of resilience and determination to continue running in the face of adversity. She hopes to raise awareness and encourage others to pursue their passions post-illness.

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Day 289: 21 December

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Day 288: 20 December

Running Sideways - Pauline Davis

Pauline Davis is one of the most experienced athletes in our sport. She has competed in five Olympic Games, winning a silver medal in Atlanta 1996 and two gold medals (200m & 4 x 100 relay) at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Away from competing, she became the first black woman to be selected on the IAAF Council in 2007, is a lifetime member of World Athletics and also a Coach.

And…as of 2022, she also has her own book - her autobiography Running Sideways.

For anyone who loves stories of conquering adversity and of course, track and field, you will enjoy this book as much as I did. Pauline takes you through her early childhood of being discovered by athlete Frank Rutherford (the first Bahamian to win an Olympic medal in Track and Field), the difficulties she faced at the University of Alabama, right through all five of her Olympic experiences and beyond.

Full book review by Vicky Huyton available via the link below.

Read more via the Empowering Women in Athletics group on Facebook

Day 287: 19 December

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Day 286: 18 December

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Day 285: 17 December

Athletics may be painful for world 800m champion Mary Moraa, but it has changed her life. It has made her a somebody.

“Athletics has uplifted me, from a nobody to now a somebody, from the poorest of all,” Moraa says.

“If I stayed in the village in Kisii, western Kenya, I wouldn’t be known, but my talent has made me known. Yes, athletics has changed my story, my life greatly. It is hard to explain,” adds Moraa,
who has been nicknamed the Kisii Express.

Moraa likens athletics to being in school, each day with different subjects for the students – which translates to different training and workouts for athletes. 

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Day 284: 16 December

When Femke Bol started her 2023 by breaking a world indoor best, it was clear she was poised for a great year.

One week after her record-breaking 1:05.63 clocking over 500m in Boston, Bol made more history by setting Dutch indoor 200m and 400m records on the same day, clocking 22.87 and 49.96.

There was more to come, though. Eight days later, she broke the world indoor 400m record with a stunning 49.26 run at the Dutch Indoor Championships, taking 0.33 off a record that had stood for 41 years.

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Day 283: 15 December

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Day 282: 14 December

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Day 281: 13 December

This month we are showcasing coach Jackie Gallagher. Jackie is a sprints and hurdles coach based in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. Jackie was named as one of the most influential women on the Darling Downs, inspiring the next generation of athletes in the region and is currently taking part in the IOC WISH Programme for female coaches.

It comes as no surprise to see World Athletics announcing Athletics Australia as the recipient of its prestigious 'Member Federation of the Year Award’, particularly when you have coaches like Jackie Gallagher fostering excellence on a national and international level.

A former elite international sprinter herself, she admits she is a perfectionist at heart, which is what motivates her to ‘give back and has equipped (her) with an understanding of what athletes need, think and feel throughout the different times in an athletic journey’. She has been working in Education as a teacher and coaching externally for over 16 years, however recently has returned to study Sports Psychology, recognising the power it can play amongst her elite athletes, in the quest for Olympic qualification. ‘Coaching is all about relationships, you need to know about training plans and all that jazz, but really it's all about the relationship you have with the athlete. You can make or break an athlete and that psychology part of it is really exciting… I really love and value that relationship I have with my athletes and I know what I say is what they can take onto the track or the confidence that they need.. I think it's very powerful and I want to be that positive influence in so many areas.’

Full article by Lilly-Ann O’Hora available via the link below.

Read more via the Empowering Women in Athletics group on Facebook

Day 280: 12 December

Tigist Assefa raced just once in 2023. But what a race it was.

Her performance at the BMW Berlin Marathon made people reconsider what was possible over the classic distance. She smashed the world record by two minutes and 14 seconds, winning in 2:11:53.

Just 12 months prior, she won on the streets of German capital, setting a course record of 2:15:37 in what was her first serious attempt at the marathon.

This time, lining up as defending champion, more was expected of the Ethiopian. But even with higher expectations, she still managed to send shockwaves throughout the sport.

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Day 279: 11 December

From 15 September to 15 October, the United States celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month, a time to acknowledge the contributions of the Hispanic and Latino population in the United States and throughout the world.

There are many Latina athletes who have drawn attention to Latin America, serving as an inspiration to the next generation of Hispanic and Latina athletes in track and field. And here we shine the light on five such women who have done exactly that in 2023.

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Day 278: 10 December

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Day 277: 9 December

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Day 276: 8 December

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Day 275: 7 December

This month we are showcasing Noelle Morrissey. Noelle is currently coaching Ireland’s fastest ever woman, Sarah Lavin, who holds both Irish records in the 100m and 100m hurdles.

It's 8am Irish time, and Noelle Morrissey has already spoken to her daughter, Leah, followed by a call from World Athletics, checked in with one athlete warm weather training in Tenerife, followed by another athlete in South Africa, grabbed a coffee before quickly racing to work. The usual routine as one of Ireland's leading high performance coaches.

Noelle loves track and field, not solely for the performances but the friendships the sport can accumulate. The coach athlete relationship she fosters is one that has seen her working with athletes such as Sarah Lavin and Ciara Neville since the age of 7. They are more than the typical coach-athlete dynamic, but genuine friends for life. We know the process and execution of long-term athlete development does not happen overnight, and just like life, track and field has its fair share of highs and lows but one that Noelle and her athletes maintain they endure together. This year, Sarah became undisputedly Ireland's fastest ever woman, in not one but two events, the unique double of 100m hurdles and the ever so prestigious 100m.

In the same way a full-time athlete is meticulous with their preparation and planning, so too is Noelle with her coaching. Albeit, she must balance the training of her athletes with her most important roles as a wife, a mother, a sister and a self-employed business woman, a far cry from the professional and full time employment of coaches in other corners of the world. Even as a volunteer coach, her application and attitude to her craft has produced exceptional international athletes, the fastest Ireland has ever seen.

In December 2022, Noelle received an invitation from the International Olympic Committee and World Athletics to participate in the WISH programme at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK. The Women in Sport High-performance pathway programme is a four-year programme aimed at equipping 100 women for coaching at elite levels (Olympic, World Championship and continental teams) by 2024.

Full article by Lilly-Ann O’Hora available via the link below.

Read more via the Empowering Women in Athletics group on Facebook

Day 274: 6 December

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Day 273: 5 December

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Day 272: 4 December

Winning Ways of Women Coaches, book review by Vicky Huyton.

A super inspiring and rare insight into high performance coaching, and not only that, it's a book filled with an abundance of inspiring women!

This follows on from “She Can Coach” edited by Cecile Reynaud and is a fantastic perspective into the lives and experiences of women who coach at the very top. The list of names involved in the writing of this book is phenomenal; from Rachel Balkovec - the first woman to work as a full-time manager of a major league-affiliated team, Carla Nicholls – one of the few women leading and coaching global high performance track & field, to Tara Vandeveer – one of the most successful basketball coaches of all time…this book is PACKED with incredible women, incredible coaches and incredible advice.

The book is split into three key areas, each one delving deep into the lived experiences of each of the coaches.

Part 1, Coaching Career Path and Considerations, addresses the various aspects of the coaching profession and how to manage and thrive in each circumstance. Topics such as checking your own competencies, how to juggle coaching and family and even how to manage yourself as a coach, are really essential areas never spoken about in traditional coach education. I would almost say this is the most important section of the book, because it's one that we as women overlook, and often see as a source of weakness. It's incredibly invigorating to read that even the best coaches in the World struggle from time to time!

Part 2, Programme Development and Management, addresses the more practical elements of coaching. These include discussions around administration, planning, recruiting and organising - areas which we all tackle day in day out, but exploring these topics from the perspective of experienced fellow women offers a refreshing and illuminating approach to understanding the realities of coaching duties.

And lastly, Part 3, Athlete Engagement and Growth, is about how to take an athlete centred approach to everything you do as a coach. It's a mix of dealing with teams of athletes to individual athletes and reflects on your role as a coach ultimately being one of mentoring and leading people to support the growth of individuals.

I would highly recommend this book to any coach wanting to increase their understanding of the coaching profession, to any coach who aspires to coach in high performance sport and to any coach developer looking at improving their coach development programmes.

Vicky is a Track & Field coach and founder of the Female Coaching Network: The Leading Global Community of Female Coaches Who Support, Drive and Influence Real Change in Sport. Through the FCN, Vicky works alongside some of the biggest sports organisations around the globe to create cultural and systemic change to ensure more efficient and effective coaching environments for all.

Read more via the Empowering Women in Athletics group on Facebook

Day 271: 3 December

The World Athletics Athletes' Commission has elected New Zealand’s four-time world shot put champion Valerie Adams as chair and Canadian 3000m steeplechase record-holder Matthew Hughes as deputy chair following the first meeting of its new membership this week.

As part of their new positions, Adams and Hughes will join the World Athletics Council as full voting members, following the governance reforms that were introduced by World Athletics President Sebastian Coe in 2016. The chair and one other member of the Athletes’ Commission have been full voting members of the World Athletics Council since 2019.

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Day 270: 2 December

As part of @PBPersonalBest’s Remarkable Runners series, Lindsay Walter shares her passion for the sport and how she went from a basketball player to an ultramarathon runner.

What sets Walter apart is her journey as an athlete with alopecia, a condition that causes hair loss. Here, Walter – who is based in Charlotte in North Carolina, USA – talks about her experiences: from discovering her love for running to finding unwavering support within the running community.

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Day 269: 1 December

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