My Lap Around the Track – Week 6

Where do I start with week 6. Yet again Ginninderra Athletics has given me the connections to propel my carer forward. This weekend I was introduced to an ex-Paralympic gold medalist and current AIS coach. I spoke with him about Elijah and the work  I have been doing with him. By the end of the conversation he had invited both me and Elijah to come alone to his training sessions at the AIS. This is a dream come true for me. To be mentored and guided in program prescription, implementation, and evaluation by a coach and athlete of his standing is just unreal. I am also so excited for Elijah and all of the great opportunities it will give him. To be able to be trained by elite coaches so that the work we do with him could potentially help him reach his goal of doing wheelchair long distance racing. The possibilities are endless and just so exciting.

Elijah on the weekend during our training sessions also improved his throwing distance by 25cms. Which for the second sessions is just such an impressive increase. It is really rewarding to see that the research and thought that goes into creating the program can pay off in such a small amount of time. It’s also interesting to see the difference in coaching experience. What I mean by this is Steve has been training and coaching in athletics for a majority of his life. So he is very good at picking up the small in consistencies in peoples form or technique which in turn improves their overall running speed once those inconsistencies have been corrected. Since working with him and learning how he looks at athletes I have noticed that it has started to rub off on me. Because I have gotten the background from university and my own research I am able to think through the issues with Elijah’s form and suggest alternatives to improve his form. I am just so stoked with my experiences and opportunities that Ginninderra are providing.

My Lap around the Track – Week 5

Ohh the Pain

Up until now I have been involved in Ginninderra purely as coaching support. This week was the first week I decided to take part in a training session for with my athletes. Admittedly I have suffered shoulder injuries recently. As a consequence my fitness level is not as good as it should be. So I decided to take part to a) connect with my athletes on a more personal level. Because if i know the pain they go through every session i will have a greater appreciation not just for the theoretical side of the exercise but also the practical side. B) to improve my own fitness. Initially I was quite nervous about participating because I knew all of my athletes were in better shape than myself and figured they would leave me in their wake. I was also rather embarrassed about how unfit I was given that I am an exercise physiologist in training and have the knowledge to become much fitter than I am. However once again the attitude that is bread at Ginninderra athletics club means that there is no need to worry about trivial things such as fitness. All of my athletes supported me making the effort to join in. They all took me under their wing and gave me small little tips about race plans and techniques. It was wonderful to feel supported and nurtured when I was worried about being left behind. I had multiple athletes come up to me when I was panting and obviously dying from exhaustion, congratulate me and reassure me that we have all been where I am now . Not to feel bad about it because it gets better every time you participate. I even had one athlete thank me for participating and running my hardest. Thereby pushing him to run harder and faster. This athlete is only 15, that just goes to show the overall attitude among this great group.

As I mentioned in my Week 3 post I was tasked with creating a gym programme. Well this week was the first week of implementing that programme. I was also running it with my athletes by myself. This was the first taste I have really had of coaching a team one-on-one. The fact that Steven didn’t feel the need to show up or be there gave me a sense of confidence. Because if he believes I don’t need supervision he must be confident in my abilities as a coach. This approach I think is a great one because it gives me the intern enough autonomy to make my own decisions and then also learn from my own mistakes. Whilst knowing that I still have the senior coaching staff as a support network. I look forward to seeing how the gym workout i have prescribed is going to improve my athletes. I am also excited about getting to know my athletes on a more personal level to. Once I know them a bit better on a personal level it allows me to tailor their training sessions more individually to their likes, dislikes, strengths, and weaknesses.

The PB run

On the weekends competition for my athletes I witnessed a few of the athletes beat their personal best times  (PB’s). It was unbelievable to see them not just beat their PB’s but beat them convincingly. The look of joy and satisfaction on their face before they got their times back was priceless. They knew they ran a good race they felt good and confident that they just beat their PB. I’m sure the feeling they got after crossing that finish line knowing they ran a great race was like no other. From a coaches perspective that look is all the satisfaction or validation you need. Knowing that the work that you are putting them through is paying off not just for you but for them. Seeing the improvement from week to week and then seeing it all pay off in this one race was amazing.

Making a difference in the Community

Ginninderra Athletics is pretty excited to have 10 people in the club receiving awards at the 2017 ACT Children’s Week Launch Ceremony held at the National Museum of Australia on Wednesday 25th October – Universal Children’s Day in Australia.

The purpose of Children’s Week, held nationally, is to raise awareness of the needs, interests, rights and achievements of children and young people and to assist them to realise their individual potential. The presentation of Awards allows ACT Children’s Week to give public recognition to individuals or groups for outstanding contributions to the welfare and interests of children and young people, either in a voluntary or paid capacity.

This year the Children’s Week Committee recognised the following Ginninderra Athletics members:

  • Nathalie Cerritelli – Endeavour Award
  • Brian Daly – Community for Children Award
  • Angela Riach – Outstanding Courage Award
  • Elijah Arranz – Outstanding Courage Award, Commissioner’s Award
  • Lola Arranz – Outstanding Courage Award, Commissioner’s Award
  • Fiona Jarvis – Community for Children Award
  • Debra Evans – Community for Children Award
  • Stuart Noyce – Community for Children Award
  • Ben Mitchell – Youth Commitment Award, Commissioner’s Award
  • Steve Dodt – Community for Children Award

Congratulations to all the nominees and award winners.

We managed to capture some of the wonderful words captured from the nominations.


Elijah really wants to run again and is determined to be a Paralympian as well as a marathon runner.

In short Elijah is an inspiration who just keeps fighting. He is a selfless young man whose kind actions shine.

Elijah Aranz depicts the qualities of a person of true courage. He continues daily to work through adversity with bravery, generosity, drive, discipline, heart, faith and authenticity.

Elijah is a champion and a true inspiration to us all.


Lola is a beautiful kind soul who shows empathy for others, and the importance for caring and helping other people.

Through this year, Lola showed a resilience like no other. She landed a lead role in the school play, she did well at school, she represented the school in multiple different sports and simply excelled in all areas.

She remained so strong and supportive to her brother. She would make so many pictures and crafty things for Elijah’s hospital walls.

Lola put all her own needs aside. She shows compassion and kindness for her brother does did all she can to support her mum and dad. She rarely complains, continually tries her hardest and shows love, grace and heart with a smile.


Nathalie is a unique and authentic person. When Nathalie’s younger brother Daniel was born he had heart disease and subsequently developed some other complex medical conditions (feeding aversion, kidney problems, febrile seizure and lung collapse).

Throughout many difficult periods Nathalie showed resilience, acute observation skills, an amazing ability to understand emotions and phenomenal ability to assist calmly in emergencies.

Nathalie has a very close relationship with her brother (15) and sister (10) and has been a positive role model for them in terms of encouraging them to take advantage of opportunities that come their way and to try hard in all areas.

Nathalie has instilled in them that having a go is so important and that winning is not everything, to Nathalie good sportsmanship and fun are the essential components of doing any sport.

Nathalie spends much of her time helping in the community. She coaches young boys and girls at athletics and it is not uncommon to see hordes of 6 year olds running after Nathalie with joy, hope, love and enthusiasm.

Nathalie has a lot of self-drive as exemplified by her desire to start her own business NattiC a clothing business with original, strong, inspirational quotes for girls and boys. Nathalie sees a need to inspire and support young people and wants to make a difference. Her quotes are uplifting, inspiring and bring hope. In all Nathalie does she sees others and wants to support all.


Volunteering for over 40 Brian gives time, energy, heart and enthusiasm. Brian is warm, kind and encouraging and supports and illuminates families, children and young people’s lives to develop, have fun, grow and learn in a safe, engaging community.

Brian implements the highest professionalism and is a credit to society. When working with individuals, groups and the community Brian supports the needs, interests and rights of all individuals.

Brian is an Athletics Australia Coach who has:

  • coached over 500 athletes in 25 years
  • achieved a national presence at athletics and cross country championships (over 40 athletes competing at a National level )
  • coached for 25 years
  • coaches FREE of charge
  • running 5 – 10 sessions per week rain, hail or shine
  • inclusive: any child of any ability is welcomed and included
  • designs, caters, develops programs for individuals
  • travels around Australia (at his own cost) to support athletes

Brian has done to improving the lives of so many people young and old.

Parent/children supporting statements:

“He has not only helped her find her feet in endurance events and instilled a love and peace that she is able to find in running but also helped her find strength in so many more ways”. Hailey Shaw

“Brian encourages children to appreciate physical exercise” The Gooday family

“I am noticing these benefits now, playing college soccer in the USA”. Christian Junna

“Brian Daly is an inspiration” Rebecca Jarvis

“a dedicated and generous man”. Kayla Dempsey

“Brian has gained the confidence of parents of athletes through nurturing relationships built in trust, transparency and mutual respect”. Vicki and Chris Nunn

“one of the most selfless human beings I know”. Fee Knights

“Brian is a role model to all children” Alison Cairns

“Brian’s passion and love for everything he did has always been inspiring to me” Paige McDonald

“But for me it was Brian’s off the track attitudes and traits that helped shaped me into the adult that I am today”. Jordan Reynolds

Through his guidance, love, and support I was able to excel as an athlete and grow as a person”. Naomi Stewart


Angela suffers from Cystic Fibrosis (CF) which is a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time. There are more than 1,700 known mutations of the disease. More than 30,000 people are living with cystic fibrosis in Australia (more than 70,000 worldwide). Breakthrough treatments have added years to the lives of people with cystic fibrosis. Today the median predicted survival age is close to 40. This is a dramatic improvement from the 1950s, when a child with CF rarely lived long enough to attend elementary school. Today even the healthiest CF Sufferer can spend 5-6 times a year in hospital receiving treatment. While there has been significant progress in treating this disease, there is still no cure and too many lives are cut far too short.

Angela is a truely inspirational CF Warrior who has represented the ACT now at Australian All Schools, Junior Track & Field Nationals and Cross Country Nationals in Steeplechase, the 3000m and now an Australian Silver Medalist.

Angela is an amazing individual who keeps going, keeps working and shows grace, kindness and warmth through it all.

My Lap Around the Track – Week 4

When I first met Steve for the interview about the position I had mentioned to him that I was interested in Cerebral Palsy and potentially wanting to do some research in the field. By week 4 Steve had introduced me to an athlete that had been constrained to a wheelchair due to a freak sky diving accident. With the intent of me developing a training program to teach him how to throw shotput. An opportunity like this, particularly for me is a dream come true and especially so early on. Meeting Elijah was truly an inspiration. Here is a kid that has had a passion for athletics and running his entire life. When he was younger he used to run marathons of up to 18km. He use to train by running a at least a mile every day. I have never seen a kid his age with so much motivation and drive. There was no way he was letting that wheelchair slow him down. He is truly an inspiration no matter how young or old you are there is something to be learnt from his passion for life and getting the most out of it no matter the circumstances. Then as he developed unfortunately the cerebral palsy developed to. That didn’t stop Elijah though. He still has that same passion for athletics and running, he will not let his disability hold him back. The first time I saw him he had a smile on his face and it stayed there the entire day he was at the field with everyone. He was making jokes with me and the other kids. He has a wonderfully supportive mother and family that understands his disability and his capabilities but aren’t afraid to let him push the boundaries and better himself and his disability. I look forward to working with him and seeing him develop into a competitive shot-putter and laughing alongside him as we do it.

Grassroots competition in North Canberra this summer

With the AIS Athletics Track being closed, the UC Ginninderra Athletics Club is offering all athletes aged 12-years to Masters the chance to participate in the only grassroots competition in North Canberra for senior athletes this year. The Tigers are based in Belconnen on Ginninderra Drive.

There is free Club training sessions available on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at Charnwood Athletics Field from IAAF and Athletics Australia accredited Coaches in all event disciplines. Entry to the Track is paid by the Club through the generosity of our sponsors.

Members of the ACT Secondary Schools Track and Field team are most welcome to Come & Try with us.

Little Athletes (Under 12 to Under 17) can join the UC Tigers for free and wear their Little As uniform when competing. Older athletes have the biggest choice of registrations from grassroots social memberships to a full membership with AACT. The Club uniform is the best value in town at $25.

All registered members can choose to participate in the red track Meets being held in Woden near the Canberra Hospital while the AIS is closed too.