Women and Girls in Sport: Sarah Dunn

As Scottish Women and Girls in Sport Week continues, today we look at Sarah Dunn, who leads in orienteering and is Development Manager and Regional Development Officer for the North of Scotland.

Who are you and how long have you been orienteering?

Sarah Dunn
Sarah Dunn

My name is Sarah Dunn. I discovered orienteering as a young adult in 1989 and was bitten by the bug at the Loch Lomond 6-Days that year.

How long have you been leading and how did you get into becoming a leader?

I first got involved in coaching sometime around 2003. As an adult starting out in the sport I never received any coaching until I managed to work my way through to get involved in SEDS and then the British Squad in the late 90s. My orienteering benefitted a lot from this and I wanted to help give other adults an opportunity to develop their orienteering skills and reach their own potential. At the time our club didn’t run any formal training for adults so I set about trying to organise some Wednesday evening sessions in the spring.

What do you enjoy about leading in orienteering?

Sarah Dunn with a young orienteer
Sarah helping lead young orienteers

I love seeing people developing their skills, building their self-confidence and progressing in the sport. But most of all I love seeing our after-school club youngsters confidently running round the woods with smiles on their faces, especially when they come back to base stained with blueberries or brambles. At the time I started coaching I had no experience of working with kids and would have been terrified at the thought, but now, having trained and practised as a coach for so many years I enjoy working with people of all ages and abilities.

What are your aspirations for the future?

I hope to continue introducing many more new people to the sport but also hope to see many of them staying in the sport, achieving their personal potential, and wanting to remain in the longer term as part of the orienteering family. I myself still very much enjoy competing in orienteering and other endurance running events, and hope that I am able to portray a positive role model, especially to young females, helping inspire them with a vision of sport for life.

What advice would you give to anyone – whatever their gender – about becoming a leader? 

Don’t be scared to give it a try, no matter what your orienteering experience or sporting prowess. Different people have different skills to offer. Sign up for a course and see where the journey takes you. You may surprise yourself!