When it came to coaching, John Burke's philosophy was built around consistency, compassion and continuity.
Burke's three C's were the foundation of coaching programs for generations of central Victorian athletes.
Burke, who was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 2014 for his services to athletics and the community, passed away last week after a battle with illness. He was 84.
Burke's great friend of 70 years, Neil Macdonald, said his former coach left an indelible mark on the Bendigo athletics community.
"When John spoke, people listened,'' Macdonald said.
"People would come to him for advice, not just on running, but life as well and he always had time for everyone.
"He was a wonderful man."
Burke was a fine athlete in his own right and was a founding member of the Bendigo Athletics Club in 1974.
Coaching was where Burke found his calling.
"When John was running he was trained by Kevin Robertson, who was a fairly hard task master,'' Macdonald said.
"He'd have you running up One Tree Hill and John used to go home buggered every night.
"That made John think that there must be a better way to train rather than flogging your guts out everyday.
"His outlook was that he wanted to make things more enjoyable.
"Some coaches had that philosophy of no pain, no gain - that wasn't John's philosophy.
"His training was about easing into it and building up a nice foundation that he could put a top on.
"His training always included rest. He always said you can't run your fastest if you're tired. It's the same as if you're studying for an exam, if you're tired you're not going to learn properly."
One of Burke's greatest strengths was his ability to mentor all abilities.
To him, it didn't matter if you were a beginner or a national champion, he wanted to help.
Burke coached Bendigo sprinter Frank Cornish to win the Bendigo Thousand in 1979, mentored local athletes to win middle-distance events at the major professional carnivals around the state, including Stawell, and also coached Bendigo athletes to complete marathons.
"He coached young athletes to win state and national titles in the amateur ranks,'' Macdonald said.
"It didn't matter if you were young or old, a sprinter or a distance runner, John could help you with his coaching.
"Over the years he had footballers and netballers come to him for running coaching because they'd heard about his experience at the job.
"He had a major influence on a lot of people."
The Tom Flood Sports Centre was Burke's second home.
"He was there every Tuesday and Thursday night coaching and going back to the 1970s he was at the track Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and sometimes Sunday morning as well,'' Macdonald said.
"He put in an enormous amount of time and that's part of the reason why he earned an Order of Australia Medal for his services to athletics and the community.
"When he coached kids that were in Year 12 he always made sure that their schooling came first. He'd always tell the kids that school was more important than running.
"It wasn't just about putting in the training for running, he always wanted what was best for each individual.
"It wasn't about winning for John. His goal was to improve people to be the best they could be.
"There's a lot of people out there that were lucky enough to be coached by John that would be thankful he was a part of their life."
John Burke's funeral service will be held on Thursday at St Kilian's Church in Bendigo from 10am.
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