Thirteen coaches and thirty athletes of all ages from across the region congregated for the first Tumbler Ridge Track and Field Camp on May 4 and 5. The idea was conceived by Max Allen, and tireless work by Wolverine Nordic and Mountain Society coaches Linda Helm and Birgit Sharman brought it to fruition.

BC Athletics realized the value of such a weekend, and supported it by covering the costs of sending Barb Vida, a superb Level 3 coach from Vancouver, to lead the instruction. Barb was joined by regional coaches from Edmonton, Grande Prairie and Dawson Creek. Local coaches joined in, with special support from Mr Hogg and Ms O?Reilly, who made classroom and gym space at TRSS available.

In preparation for the athletics track construction, a 400 meter line has been painted around the soccer field, and prior to the weekend WNMS volunteers Fred and Shawna Booker did great work in building a long jump pit. It was all good enough to enable instruction in javelin, discus, shot put, high jump, long jump, sprints, distance running, race walking, and hurdles. Mental preparation, warm-up technique, training logs and core strength exercises were covered, and fun hikes to Cabin Pool and Flatbed Falls followed.

Participants commented that they had never learned as much about athletics in one weekend. Coaches appreciated the opportunity to learn from each other and refine their techniques. All in all it was a weekend to remember, and hopefully the founding event of what will become an annual spring camp in Tumbler Ridge. The benefits should be seen in improved performances of the athletes who attended in the forthcoming track and field season.