19th January 2018


UK Athletics hosted a special reception at iconic City Hall in London to mark the opening of the next chapter of its successful ‘Coach’ exhibition entitled ‘Women on Track’.

Spanning two floors of City Hall on the bank of the Thames, guests – many of which were featured in the exhibition – were treated to a unique insight into the project from organisers and participants.

‘Women on Track’ will run at City Hall until Friday 2 February and aims to showcase the landscape of women in athletics, and follows up on the successful concept of the original ‘Coach’ project with inspirational and truthful images taken within their natural coaching environment.

UK Athletics Chief Executive Niels de Vos, Vice President and Equality, Diversity & Engagement Lead Donna Fraser, Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement, Matthew Ryder, photographer Ernest Simons, David Gorgeous and featured coach Lorna Boothe all spoke about the exhibition.

As well as Boothe, a host of the coaches featured in ‘Women on Track’ – supported by UKA partners Grant Thornton – were in attendance including Christine Bowmaker, Alison O’Riordan, Coral Nourrice, Carol Jackson and Dini Patel.

Led by Fraser, The exhibition will also comprise further publicity for women working within the sport of athletics, and a women’s network event alongside charity partner Right to Play. The evolution of ‘Coach’ into ‘Women on Track’ ensures UKA continues its commitment towards celebrating and encouraging equality and diversity.

Lorna Boothe said: “I was absolutely ecstatic to be asked to be involved because I thought ‘at last we are being recognised’. It is a great project and I am glad I was asked. I actually didn’t realise how bold a statement [Boothe’s piece includes the quote ‘I want to be called a coach, not a female coach’] it was until I saw it here [at the exhibition]. I have a passion that women should be treated equally and you should be looked at for the ability to achieve, the ability to do something rather than because you are a certain gender.”

Alison O’Riordan said: “It is really great to have female coaches featured. We are coaches ultimately, we just happen to be female. We don’t do it for recognition but it is a real privilege and honour to be recognised for the work you do over many, many years. It is always a bit confrontational seeing your own face up on a wall but I was pleasantly surprised and it is a real honour. The photos really, really capture what coaching is all about. It is about being out on a cold night, working with youngsters, being their week in, week out but I think you’ll find most of the coaches have a big smile on their face because they do it because they love it.”

Carol Jackson said: “It is an honour to be included and a great privilege to actually have the recognition. I think we can honestly say we take it with great pride. It was very scary to come to look at the photos because I wasn’t sure what it was going to be like. They are amazing, I went to the ‘Coach’ display and it was superb and I think these have just followed on from there. There are some amazing photos and they do great justice to what we do. I got into coaching 47 years ago because I was asked by my athletics coach if I would go and help him out with an athlete who had just come back from basketball. Within six weeks he broke the British record and basically that was me hooked and I went on and on.”