On Saturday 10th October the new RUN-FAST BIRMINGHAM team comprising eight elite middle and long-distance runners is being launched at Birmingham University, in conjunction with the second edition of Bud’s Run which takes place later the same day.
The team is the brainchild of Run-Fast Sports Management Agency and marks the first time that a British university is partnering with a management agency for the purpose of establishing a more professional training environment for its elite athletes. All eight team members are aiming for selection for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London.
Peter McHugh, Managing Director of Run-Fast, says that the formation of the team is “an attempt to bridge the gap” in British distance running between athletes who receive WCPP funding from UK Sport and athletes aiming for international success with far lower levels of financial support.
“Making that step-up to international level is never easy, and for many can be even harder without adequate support. By forming this team we hope to offer more support to athletes at a critical stage of their development and foster a more professional approach to their sport.”
Aged between 20 and 27, the eight athletes on the team represent a stock of rising talent. Five of the eight athletes have already won national titles; six have represented their country at international championships. All eight live and train at Birmingham University under the guidance of former international athlete Luke Gunn and renowned national endurance coach Bud Baldaro. In recent years Birmingham has come to be considered as one of Britain’s elite performance centres for middle and long-distance running. The Run-Fast Birmingham team members are Jonathan Davies, aged 20; Ben Waterman, aged 22; Andrew Heyes, aged 25; Rich Peters, aged 25; Pippa Woolven, aged 22; Sara Treacy, aged 26; Alison Leonard, aged 25; and Julia Cooke, aged 27.
Speaking about the new team which will be sponsored by adidas, Luke Gunn, Head of Athletics at Birmingham University, said: “Run-Fast Birmingham will make a real difference for our top athletes. Our programme is built around group training, so the formation of this new team will only strengthen this. Partnering with Run-Fast will increase the support we can offer to the athletes and help raise their sights towards achieving greater international success.”