Marathon Racing Committee elections – candidate profiles

Seven positions on the MRC are up for re-election this year, including the Chair. The following candidates have put themselves forward – click on each name to read their profile:

Stan Missen (BOA) – current Chair

Siobhan Urquhart (BAN)

Scott Hynds (ELM)

Kat Wilson (RDG)

Roland Lawler (ELM)

Tom Sharpe (RIC)

Mick Nadal (NOT)

Nanette North (CAM)

James Smythe (BSF)

 

 

Stan Missen (BOA)

I believe that our sport needs openness and clarity, and I have tried to bring that during my past few years as Chairman of the MRC. Having been involved in Marathon for many years and being from one of the smaller regional clubs myself, I have also tried to ensure that everyone’s concerns and opinions are brought to, and are shown equal importance, in the work of the MRC. I am willing to stand for another term if required.

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Siobhan Urquhart (BAN)

My family and I have been participating in marathon racing for the last seven years and, between us, are members of Banbury and Royal Canoe Clubs. In that time, I have become a passionate advocate for the sport, having seen first-hand the benefits it can bring to all ages and abilities, thanks to the divisional system, the clubs and the friendliness of those involved.

I have been a member of the BDCC committee for some years, with particular responsibility for internal and external communications, including a weekly newsletter, local PR and social media. I also coach -mostly juniors – and race, increasingly slowly.

Whilst not everyone can – nor wants to – become an elite athlete, I have seen many children and adults, who would consider themselves to be non-sporty, make great progress in the sport, and the associated confidence and self-worth that brings. It has literally been life-changing for many.

Like others, I am concerned about the disparity between male/female involvement in sport. We have seen phenomenal results from our junior and senior female paddlers in recent years, so we certainly have the role models and should be able to build on that – something I know the senior ladies have already started.

Despite all those successes, I think the sport is a bit of a well-kept secret. I would like to help raise awareness of marathon racing, and increase participation – at all levels, from all ages. I would also like to see the elite end of the sport getting the recognition it – and the paddlers – deserve.

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Scott Hynds (ELM)

I have been very fortunate to have competed for Great Britain during our Golden period of Marathon success on the international stage. I’ve helped guide & coach junior paddlers to the European & World championships and I’m very passionate about our sport. I know the work MRC does is from a position of knowledge, in the best interests of the sport and for the betterment of the sport, not just short term self-interest.

I have coaching qualifications and via MRC funding I have delivered Race specific coaching courses and I truly think we should aim to be the best in the world for coaching marathon racing. The level of skill displayed at the regional level is, I feel, in a slow decline and I think this is an area for national development which would feed through to a better skilled cohort in the future rather than the talented few we have at the moment.
I’m used to working collaboratively in teams, I am amiable and do not antagonise people and I have a desire to give back to a sport which has given me so very much over the last 30 years.
What could I offer? I’m actively coaching currently, I have a wealth of international racing experience, two decades of teaching experience and a willingness to keep learning. I am articulate, collaborative and willing to put the time required into making my participation a success.
Testimony from Louisa Gurski,

I can honestly say Scott Hynds has helped me achieve what I have in my years as a Professional Kayaker. From small club time trials to my Senior World Championship K1 5k gold medal. From the odd comments when training to the talks we had when warming down, they have stuck with me.

At the time I remember thinking it was so clever how he caught up the front group in training or made it look so easy wash hanging, until he explained to me and showed me step by step moves on how to do it. It’s easy to do once you know how, but the hard part is explaining it to someone.

I remember being the only junior girl at the club at the time and dipping in and out the “The Big Men’s Group’ and getting help from Scott on how to move round the group, read the signs before the group is about to change and the odd V wash here and there. Needless to say, the tables turned as I became a senior and on the longer efforts I was able to help him into the V wash and enjoy the ride!

Good luck in your next role and those athletes you help are very lucky!

Testimony from Ivan Lawler
Scott has one of the best understandings of marathon racing in the UK and has an enthusiasm for the sport that has lasted through both his own successful career and that of his son, he continues to be motivated for all the other members of our club. I have no doubt he will be of benefit to the MRC both in enthusiasm and knowledge.

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Kat Wilson (RDG)

Following my first two years on the committee I am putting myself forwards for a second tenure so I can continue the work I am currently involved with. I am heavily involved with athlete wellbeing and this spans across beginners to elite. I have been working with BC to bring in Racing Skills days and also look at specific Marathon development and even some specific Ladies Racing days. We hope to expand this scope next year.

I am heavily involved with the Marathon Nationals and would love to continue working with clubs to put on top level national events. I would also like to see through the changes we are making at U12 level to ensure our changes our successful. Overall, I am really passionate about the development of our sport, I love it and race as much as possible (even as I slip down the divisions). I believe it is an inclusive sport and I want to continue to bring that lens to the committee.

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Tom Sharpe (RIC)

I have been involved in marathon canoeing since I started competitive paddling in 2002 at Exeter Canoe Club, progressing from division 9 to division 1 by the time I was 18. After finishing university I moved to London for work and started paddling at Richmond Canoe Club, and have continued racing marathons nationally and internationally. I took on the role of Commodore (Chairman) at Richmond 3 years ago, and since we are one of the major marathon racing clubs I believe Richmond should be represented on and contributing to the MRC.

I would like to join the MRC because I have a lot of experience of marathon racing both domestically and internationally, and I would like to help keep marathon racing in the UK developing. More specifically I believe there are improvements that can be made to the way the MRC prepare, assess, select and support the team of athletes racing for GBR at international marathon events. I also think the MRC should be looking to organise an international event in the UK and I would like to help make that happen.

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Roland Lawler (ELM)

Started canoeing in 1959 at Richmond Canoe Club when there were no racing coaches in British clubs at all.
From this an interest in coaching developed. Attended a series of top level European sprint events, observed technique, had discussions with coaches from the leading countries. Applied the knowledge gained to my club paddlers, and became involved with the formation of British teams through the paddlers I coached.
First Olympic Games Munich 1972. Coach / Manager
Last Olympic Games Atlanta 1996 Coach
Worked with most Olympic teams over this period.
As well as Olympic involvement I have coached racing canoeing at all levels, working with numerous National Sprint and Marathon Teams and in canoe clubs for over 50 years.
I am chief coach at Elmbridge Canoe Club which I co-founded in 1982 as a club with total focus on kayak racing. After 30 years in existence the club can now boast 43 World Championship Medals with 19 athletes (men, women, boys and girls), three athletes having been awarded an MBE.
My achievements as a coach have been officially recognised by both the BCU and Sports Coach UK.
I am a member of the BCU Sprint Racing Committee and represent their interests on the International Panel for selection.

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Mick Nadal (NOT)

I have enjoyed an ongoing involvement with marathon paddling since 1971, maintaining a broad personal interest in all aspects of the discipline. I took part in Long Distance Racing before Divisional racing emerged and have done DW, Watersides, some of the classic descent races, including Sella, Cares Deva and other Spanish events. I have taken part regularly in Hasler series racing in several regions since it came into being and after demotion in 1985 maintained a ranking of Div 4 kayak for most of the last 30 years. From the early 70s to the mid 80s, my wife Kath, was a National Marathon Team member and together we now race some events in “sit & switch” C2. However, in the earlier years, I entered a variety of national events in “high kneeling” C1, while still continuing with kayak.

During the past 17 years, in addition to competing, I have served in a number of roles; Nottingham Marathon Team Leader; Midlands Region Marathon Advisor; additionally, since 2010, as a member of the Marathon Racing Committee with responsibility for Regional Liaison and related matters. Updating and modifying rules has also been one of the main tasks during the past few years. In 2015/16 I shared the role of Committee Secretary while this continues to 2018 with James Smythe acting as Admin Secretary.

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Nanette North (CAM)

Apologies that I cannot make the AGM in person as I’m up in North Norfolk at a wedding. For those that don’t know me, here is my short-ish introduction.

I started paddling at Royal CC back in 1995 aged 9, and a few years later joined Richmond where I paddled for many years. As a Junior I raced in the Hasler races, but was focused on Sprinting (I liked to be able to see the finish line!). I was fortunate to have been coached by a variety of great club and squad coaches, several of which were volunteer based and gave up much of their time for myself and those that I trained with, who showed great patience, even when I turned up to training one day with two broken arms the week before my first Regatta as a Senior!

I drifted away from the competitive side of sport for the early part of my Senior years after accumulating injuries and career started to build up, but never stopped enjoying being in a K1 on the river.

Having always thought of myself as “Sprinter”, I felt very out of my depth on the DW start line in 2008 (it didn’t help that it was several degrees below freezing and midnight when we started) and having supported the race every year since being a teenager I was under no illusions of what was to come. It took me 6 years to recover before I would race it again! Despite this, every year for as long as I can remember I have been involved with DW in some way. Supporting Richmond Canoe Club members, a couple of years spent helping and coaching the Royal Navy crews and more recently with Cambridge Canoe Club. I’ve also been fortunate enough to race the Fish in South Africa, Sella in Spain, the Dordogne Integrale (well a bit of it) and La TraverSeine in Paris and have many more “tourist races” on my to do list.

I moved to Cambridge 3 years ago, and despite the punts and portages, instantly loved paddling on the beautiful river Cam. With lots of help from other club members, I’ve been trying to build the racing section. I started running group training sessions, encouraged (bullied?) paddlers to races and started adult beginners courses at the club. In 2017 the club qualified for the Hasler Finals for the first time in … a while (16 years I’m told) and we have done again this year, despite losing a few of our best paddlers due to Brexit. I currently hold the committee position of treasurer for Cambridge CC, and for the past 18 months have been coaching the Junior members.

I have been impressed by the development of marathon racing in popularity and professionalism since my first race over 20 years ago. As a coach I appreciate the inclusivity of marathon racing and the sense of being a team that the Divisonal Hasler system creates. There are not many sports that children can start and as a result their parents start enjoying competing in the same events!

I think that the MRC has been forward thinking in the growing number of junior and senior development athlete trips over the past few years, and the setting of a clear progression pathway for young athletes, which will be further aided by the introduction of Division 10. As a coach I am excited to be developing young athletes who enjoy marathon racing, and as an individual I would be happy to volunteer my time to further build the work of the MRC, to give back to a sport that I have enjoyed for over two thirds of my life!

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James Smythe (BSF)

Current MRC roles: Admin Secretary; Selection Committee Secretary; Comms/Website

I’ve been on the MRC for over a decade, working first on Athlete Development (training days, squads etc), and website/comms. In the last couple of years I have moved into the Admin Secretary role and onto the Selection Committee, while keeping the website responsibilities.

The thing I’m most proud of in the last 2-year term would be co-ordinating a Strategic Plan for marathon, which was well received by BC and led to a rise in our annual grant for the first time in decades, and stimulated new initiatives from across the committee. Also, working with Stan Missen to keep the MRC as productive as possible given our limited voluntary resources.

My priorities for the next 2 year term would be:-
– Keeping new initiatives coming so we meet the aims of our Strategic Plan
– Improve GB team selection policy, planning and communications
– Work with BC to improve race management processes, including online entry and membership number checking

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