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Baton handed off to new RDC x-country running coach

Out with the old, in with the new. Long time RDC cross-country coach Brian Stackhouse was honoured Tuesday as he received the CCAA Coaching Excellence Award at a news conference at RDC. At the same time it was announced Kari Elliott will take over as the new cross-country coach.

Out with the old, in with the new.

Long time RDC cross-country coach Brian Stackhouse was honoured Tuesday as he received the CCAA Coaching Excellence Award at a news conference at RDC. At the same time it was announced Kari Elliott will take over as the new cross-country coach.

The Coaching Excellence Award is in recognition to sport and to athlete development over a period of five years or more.

Stackhouse coached the RDC team for 41 years, winning 10 ACAC championships and was twice named the ACAC coach of the year. He also won the women’s CCAA championship in 2007 and captured bronze with the men’s team in 2008, 2010 and 2011. He was also on the ground floor in organizing the first ever CCAA championship in 2002 at RDC.

Stackhouse received the award from newly elected ACAC president Bob Murray of Olds, who praised Stackhouse for his work with the RDC team and with the sport over the years.

“This is a huge honour,” said Stackhouse, who announced his retirement from coaching following the ACAC indoor season.

“I had no expectations over the years, except to have fun. It couldn’t have been better and to be there in starting the CCAA championships was a wonderful experience and a wonderful opportunity, for not only RDC runners but those across Canada.”

Stackhouse won’t completely step away as he will remain as the ACAC cross-country convenor.

“You don’t go from full throttle to zero,” he said.

As for Elliott, Stackhouse said he wouldn’t step down as coach until he felt he had someone to step in full time.

“She’s good,” he said. “She’s very positive and although she may push a bit harder than I did that’s OK.”

The 36-year-old Elliott gave an indication of her abilities in winning the Woody’s RV World Marathon title on Sunday.

She placed in impressive sixth overall, in anything but good conditions with the heavy rain and cold. The runners also ran in ankle deep water on a portion of the course.

“The temperature was fine, but the constant rain made it some of the worst conditions I’ve run in … they chilled you,” she said.

Elliott is from Calgary and attended university in the States.

“I ran NAIA Division II,” she explained. “But I have competed in the ACAC as an open runner.”

She also coached with Ambrose College in Calgary prior to moving to Red Deer last September with her husband and two children, aged nine and 11.

“I would have stayed with Ambrose but my husband’s work brought him to Red Deer, so I looked up Brian to see if there was a chance to help coach. Brian was wonderful and created room for me.”

Less than nine months later she was the head coach.

“I was a little surprised,” she said. “Coaching was on my radar but I would have been happy to coach with Brian for a number of years. It came quickly and I felt it was a great opportunity and went for it.”

Elliott hopes to have Jodi Nesbitt back as an assistant coach and will have several of the RDC’s top runners returning along with Jordanna Cota.

“Because of Brian we should have a great start next year. It looked like a strong team and I’m excited to be working with them. We could use a bit more on the men’s side but that will come.”

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