About Ray Orchison
I believe that coaching is a journey traveled along side an athlete. It’s a fascilitated process where one has the privilege of leading an athlete toward self discovery and understanding in order to unlock their athletic potential and develop a stronger character.
I am a passionate coach and runner. Nothing brings me greater joy than to work with individuals and to see them excel and achieve beyond levels they ever dreamed possible. I want my athlete’s to become more and more passionate for running. I want the athlete’s I work with to have longevity in this beautiful sport.
My vision is to become one of the leading coaches in the world through a continued and relentless investment in knowledge.
I believe knowledge is an essential element in ensuring that the athletes I work with are able to reach their full potential, develop an even deeper passion and love for the sport and discover their true selves in the process.
I want to work with individuals who choose to take themselves to new levels, and who are not afraid of hard work, sacrifice or commitment. My desire is to work with athletes who want to be the best possible versions of themselves that they can be.
I aim to provide not only a professional coaching service at all times, but also to establish a coaching relationship and an environment in which the athlete can learn and discover elements of their sport and themselves that where previously unknown.
“I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast! And when I run I feel His pleasure.”
by Eric Liddell
- IAAF Level 5 Academy Coach (IAAF Academy Diploma)
- IAAF Level 4 Senior Coach – Endurance – Middle Distance and Distance
- IAAF Level 4 Senior Coach – Sprints, Hurdles & Relays
- IAAF Nestlé Healthy Active Kids’ Athletics Upskilling Course
- Certified NAASFP Marathon Coach (North America, 2 year certification)
- Certified Lynotherapist
- Certified Be Activated Practitioner (Neuromuscular Activation)
10km – 33:55 | 21km – 1:14:17 | 32km – 2:05:00 | 42km – 2:48:00 | 56km – 4:09:00
Comrades Up – 7:17:00
Comrades Down – 7:14:00
1st in 3 day Umgeni River Trail Fest 2012
3rd in 21km in Gauteng XL 2012
1st in 6 day 250km Wild Coast Ultra 2013
3rd in 2 day 100km Hobbit Trail Run 2013
2nd in Mont aux Sources 50km Trail Run 2014
My Journey to Coaching
I took part in the 1500m and 3000m events at school, but I really enjoyed the road races, 10km, 15km, 21km. My first 32km race which was the RAC Tough One when I was in grade 11. From as far back as I can remember I’d always wanted to run the Comrades Marathon and I couldn’t wait for my 18th birthday so that I could enter Comrades. After being told (and rightly so) by numerous “older” top athletes like Johnny Halberstadt to wait a few years, I eventually decided to run Comrades at age 23 come hell or high water, which I did. At that stage in my life I was struggling with “runner’s knee” and nothing seemed to fix it. I was put into entry-level anti-pronation shoes and when that didn’t work, the heaviest anti-pronation shoes you could find, and when that didn’t work, the heaviest anti-pronation shoes with a heavy orthotic. That helped for a couple of months before the pain returned and ultimately I ended up running a very painful Comrades with very little training in a time of 10h30 in 2000.
That was the end of my running career (or at least I thought so at the time). There simply seemed nothing more I could do to fix the knee and I called it a day. For 7 long years I didn’t run and I missed it every day of those 7 years. Each day I would enviously drive past runners as they went about what seemed to come so naturally to them.
Toward the end of 2007 I met a biokineticist who took a look at my knee and assisted me with rehab exercises and by October 2007 I was back on the road running and thankful for every minute out there. I threw out the orthotics and ran Comrades in 2008 struggling through the typical “too much, too soon” injuries of ITB and the like, but finished Comrades in 2008 in a time of 09h33.
From there I have continued to learn and discover new mysteries about the human body and through various techniques, such as Lynotherapy and Be Activated (neuromuscular activation), have been able to identify causes of injuries and prevent them coming back, recover faster and perform petter.
I did not realise it at the time but I started coaching indirectly when I started running as a young teenager. I did not have easy access to a coach, but if I’m honest, I had in my mind a clear picture of what I wanted to do and I did not want a coach to dissuade me, so I read books in order to coach myself. I realise now the mistakes I made and how I acctually should have been training back then versus how I was training, but, this has given me better insight into guiding my younger athletes.
Over a decade ago, I was approached by a friend who wanted me to coach him to running a faster ultra. I did not consider myself a coach but hesitantly agreed. It didn’t take long for me to realise that this was my passion and that I wanted to work with athletes. At that point I made a decision to start the journey of becoming a coach, but there was one non-negotiable for me and that was education. I had seen way too many “coaches” who called themselves coaches simply because they were or felt they were good runners, these coaches approached things with a “no pain no gain” and a “this is what I did and it worked, so it must work for you too” mentality and I did not want to coach in that way. I wanted to be able to give each athlete what that athlete needed at that point in time and I wanted to be able to bring out the best in each athlete without unnecessary risk to injury. In order for to me to do that I knew that I needed education. I needed to know how to coach, how to plan a schedule, how to put together a week and to know exactly why a particular session was needed over another, I needed to learn more about the body and the science of the body.
And so begun my coaching journey. I completed a well rounded 2 year coaching certification through a North American institute, this laid an incredible foundation for me. From there I completed my Level 1, 2 and 3 USA Track and Field Distance and Sprints certifications in the USA which culminated in the highest coaching level awarded by the IAAF, the IAAF Level 5 Coaching diploma.
My education journey has been amazing, I have learned more than I could have imagined, it has opened my eyes to how little I still know and how much more there is to learn. And that’s the beauty of coaching, it’s a never ending journey, there’s always something new to learn about yourself, your athlete and the incredible human body.
Not many people have the privilege of working in their area of passion, I do, and I am extremely grateful for that. I get to work with the human body both on the treatment table and through planned training and I get to experience and see people’s lives changing for the better. What a privilege!!