The running record of Swansea’s Angela Leadbeatter already places her high in the pantheon of distance beach runners but it’s her efforts mentoring the next generation that mark her out as a true leader.
Boasting an impressive resume that’s hard to match Leadbeatter has dominated on the sand ever since she joined Swansea Belmont SLSC, and this combined with her amazing ability on other surfaces throughout her career (particularly in cross-country) demonstrates why she is regarded as one of the great all-round runners.
With an athletic background, a wealth of knowledge and experiences that every junior dreams of a move into coaching was a natural fit for the talented Leadbeatter, and the youngsters who have come into her orbit have certainly benefited.
“I have a really big running squad called Team Leadbeatter running and we have 70 juniors in that. It’s a passion of mine and I absolutely love it,” Angela Leadbeatter enthused.
“I want to keep kids in the sport particularly females and more importantly those in the teenage years which as we know are when they start to drop out. The kids love coming to training and they all train hard and are now seeing the results,” she said.
A number of her young charges finished in the top ten in their beach running events at the 2018 NSW Surf Life Saving Age Championships which is an excellent foundation on which to build in the coming seasons.
Their coach however is thinking much more long-term and is determined to create an environment that is positive not only for the kids as athletes but to help them develop as people.
“I think a big part of keeping the kids engaged is the friendship, and that’s what I really try to make it about. If the kid’s friends are there they want to come to training they want to work hard.
“If they’re having fun, train hard and socialise afterwards is the key to keeping kids in any sport,” she said.
While coaching is certainly a passion for Angela Leadbeatter, and she gets enormous pleasure in seeing her athletes including her children compete it’s also clear that her own running days are far from over.
Competing at her home beach of Swansea Belmont at this year’s State Championships in March she powered home to win gold in the Women’s 40-44 Age Group 2KM run in the Masters Competition before backing up just a few short days later to claim another Open NSW Beach Run title.
“The wind was tough but it wasn’t too bad I mean I train here all the time and have been running the course all year. The sand was good during the run, soft but not too soft the way I like it,” she said shortly after her Masters win.
For the last two years Swansea Belmont has hosted the NSW Championships at the picturesque Blacksmiths Beach and competing in familiar territory has boosted the performance of many of the club’s athletes though it does come with its own set of challenges.
“It really is fantastic to race here as I live pretty much across the road. A lot of friends come down to watch me and I always feel a bit of pressure but it makes it that much more special that they want to come and watch, and for me to produce the goods here for Swansea Belmont,” Leadbeatter said.
“For me this season my open run is my Australian final this year as I couldn’t compete at Aussies, but I’m aiming to be back on the national stage next year.”
With her coaching career taking off and her efforts seeing her continue to stand atop many a podium, it’s certainly fair to say that Angela Leadbeatter is doing what she does so well.
Leading from the front.
Wednesday 2 May 2018