Tony Fern Coaching
"Personal and Guaranteed Marathon & Middle Distance schedules"

Tony Fern - My Ethos

Ethos, Honest Endeavour. Always believe and think for yourself.

Being a proud Tipton Harrier gave me this ethos.

Honesty Of Effort. If you did your best you could hold your head up high. If somebody was good enough to beat you, be a man, shake his hand. He was better than you that day. So train harder for the next time you raced him.

Honesty In Selection. No one was ever put into a team on a hunch, time trials were used to solve contentious issues.
We had dedicated officials like Jim Bedford, Len Myersgouth, Joe Gripton, Captain Ken Rickcuss and vice captain Bert Harbache. All these people did not know how to tell a lie. They all gave honest answers to any question, and sometimes the truth really hurt, but it was still best to hear it.

Tony 1500m winner, Greaves Sports day 1970

Think And Question What You Are Doing.

Alan Rushmere was a common-wealth bronze medallist behind Kip Keino and the great Ron Clarke, a bright lad who realised you need to do much more than pound the roads to be a success.
Alan would often ask senior athletes for advice, but I found I learned more from him than I think he ever did from me because Alan thought about why, although we were a great road and cross country club we only had one track star, Bert Harbache. He questioned and found the answers.

The person I admire most in athletics is my old team mate Ron Bentley. What a man, loud and strong, average by the standards of Tipton Harriers, but this did not stop him breaking the world 24 hour endurance record, because he believed in himself. Before a race he listened to all the great runners of the day, each hoping they could do it.
Ron told me "I knew I would win because I knew, I could do it".

One day a young lad who had been turned away by two other clubs, came up to me. He said very confidently and brazenly. "You coach me and I'll make you a famous". He reminded me of a brash young Ron. That lad was James Starling. Within a year he was a junior international.
Glen Grant. Former chairman of the BRITISH MILERS CLUB used the group late in his career. Glen was an enormous help to me with his profound knowledge of the sport.

Not knowing too much can be an advantage. One of my funniest moments was when Chris Bunyan, a local lad whom I was helping, rang me from America saying he had just run a marathon and quite fancied taking it up seriously. He asked would I send him a schedule. Discussing it further he told me he had run the Boston marathon the previous day and finished second. I enquired what time did he do. He replied " 2hours 10mins". After a stunned silence I gathered my thoughts. "Would you send me a schedule" I asked .