Chris Pickard was a vital and extremely dedicated contributor to Newfoundland and Labrador athletics from mid 1970s up to 2005. A native of England, he moved to Canada in the 1950s and established himself as an important part of the nation’s track and field. A fine athlete, he placed an impressive 47th in the 1961 Boston Marathon.
He moved from technical director of the Ontario Track and Field Association to technical director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Track and Field Association and was extremely important, in fact essential, for the preparations of the track and field aspect of the 1977 Canada Summer Games in St. John’s. He undertook and completed successfully a mammoth task of preparing local entries and officials for the national event.
His no-nonsense approach to his position, supported by a great deal of technical knowledge, allowed him to spearhead the resurgence of athletics as a truly viable and successful Newfoundland and Labrador sport. He filled a variety of roles and positions with great determination and was responsible for many, many events and many, many athletes.
The annual prestigious Telegram ten mile run was an event that benefitted greatly from his expertise and he was an excellent head coach for several teams that entered the Royal Canadian Legion national championships and Canada Games. A nationally certified coach, he was invited to act as an official during the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.
For several years he was an instructor for track and field at Memorial University’s physical education program and he had a long and successful run as the coach for Memorial University’s track and field and cross-country teams.
Nine times he was named Atlantic Universities Athletic Association coach of the year and was responsible for improvement in a large number of top Memorial University athletes. The list of those who benefitted greatly from his coaching includes Paul McCloy, Jeff Collingwood, Dave Whittle, Sheldon Curnew, Dieter Hauschildt, Mark Stender, Gerard Farrell, Scott Young, Trevor O’Brien, Sandra Harbin, Libby Wadland (Dyer), Mark Baldwin, Mark Pollett, Keith Pittman and Colin Fewer.
His journalistic ability was also very beneficial for provincial athletics. For many years his contributions to the Telegram’s promotion of the ten mile run and other athletic events were well read and well written. He circulated an athletics quarterly magazine that included training and coaching tips, track and cross-country activities, statistics, records, results and often very interesting trivia and games.
Overall, Chris Pickard’s involvement in Newfoundland and Labrador athletics was extremely beneficial to the sport itself and to an extremely large number of athletes.
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