DOCTOR Ron Snyder, no stranger to the world of athletics, is now a member of the Oceania Athletics Coaches Association.

"For me personally, this is a great honor and I am extremely thrilled to be able to represent [Northern Marianas Athletics], the CNMI, Micronesia and other insular areas in developing programs to support coaches throughout our region," Snyder said in an email.

He said he had earlier "expressed my interest [in joining the association]…but I didn't really expect to get it since there are only 5-7 members on the committee throughout Oceania. I thought that my chances were limited. I think it will be great to be able to represent kids athletics and the coaches' interest in the CNMI and throughout the insular areas."

Since his freshmen year in high school,  Snyder has been a part of the sport of athletics.

“More recently, I have started getting involved in masters athletics but I have a long way to go until I am ready for competition [again],” he said.

He began coaching for athletics during his first year of teaching in Pakistan in 1994 when he started a running club.

In 1996, he made his way to Saipan where he coached cross country and track & field at Tanapag Elementary School. That was when he first had the privilege of working with Northern Marianas Athletics.

As for the Oceania Athletics Coaches Association, Snyder said it is responsible for reviewing and making recommendations to its development commission on matters such as:

• The establishment, management, and control of development structures suitable for the needs of coaches in Oceania.

• The establishment and management of a development program having the objective of ensuring continuity of the development of coaches in Oceania and coordinate such a program with World Athletics development activities.

• The programs and activities delivered on behalf of World Athletics through the Area Development Centre, including the education, leadership and training programs for the development and retention of coaches.

• The review and implementation of the Oceania Athletics Strategic Plan, as it relates to a coach’s development.

• The growth and development of coaches within the Oceania area and at national level to build skills and capacity and in doing so assist in addressing social issues such as health, wellbeing, and social inclusion.

• The delivery of programs and activities to increase and retain levels of participation across all age groups especially youth and school-aged children.

• The promotion and protection of the values of coaching within the area and at the national level.

• The development of policies and programs in support of World Athletics goals to achieve gender equity at all levels of coaching in the area.

A love for athletics

For Snyder, athletics is a pure sport. “I love that the speed of a runner determines the winner or the distance jumped or thrown. I love that it is the basis for so many other sports, teaching valuable skills and building fitness." 

He added, "Within athletics, I am most passionate about cross country. It can be a grueling event, running in rain, in mud, in the jungle or, when I was growing up, in snow storms."

He said athletics “instills in the runner…persistence, gritting though the pain of the lactic acid building up in their muscles or the burning sensation growing in the lungs, to push their minds and their bodies to new personal records.”

“It is a place where hard work and dedication pay off,” he said. “And for me, cross country has the strongest sense of ‘team’ of all athletics competitions. There is something special about a group of 20+ runners moving together down the road, discussing their lives as the miles fly by behind them.”

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