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Ian Stewart Appointed UKA Endurance Head

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24 November 2008

 

 

 

UK Athletics (UKA) today announced two significant moves to address the immediate and long term future of elite level endurance running in Britain.

Head Coach Charles van Commenee has appointed Ian Stewart to lead UKA's endurance strategy, whilst some of the biggest names in distance running will support him with the formation of an endurance advisory group.

Stewart was one of the most successful British distance runners of the 1970s. On track he won Olympic bronze, European gold and Commonwealth gold over 5000m and in 1975 he was the last British man to win gold at the World Cross Country Championships.

During the early 1990s, he worked as coach for the GB & NI junior men's team at the World Cross Country Championships. As a personal coach he worked from Wolverhampton & Bilston AC, where he coached British internationals Karl Keska - Britain's most recent 10,000m Olympic top eight athlete - and Darius Burrows, amongst others.

Stewart reports directly to van Commenee and – in conjunction with Charles - will oversee the programmes of those key athletes who have been identified as potential medalists or finalists in London 2012.

He will also retain his position as Meeting Director for UKA televised meetings, in which he will utilise his outstanding world-wide athletics contacts to ensure no stone is left unturned in ensuring British athletes have the best competition opportunities on the international stage.

In addition to Stewart's appointment, Charles van Commenee has also asked Lord Sebastian Coe to form a new endurance advisory group consisting of UK's distance running luminaries to assist and advise on policy making decisions in the discipline.

Lord Coe has agreed to chair the group and has recruited Paula Radcliffe, Dave Bedford, Steve Cram, Brendan Foster, Liz McColgan along with Stewart.  The group will meet on a regular basis, the first being on Sunday at this weekend's IAAF World Athletics Gala in Monaco. Amongst them, the group have earned the following honours from the sport:

 

*           8 Olympic medals

*           21 world records

*           18 World Championship medals

*           16 European Championship medals

*           12 Commonwealth Games medals

 

Ian Stewart said: "I have been a world class distance runner and I come from a generation that was used to Britain being amongst the world's leading endurance nations. The situation as it stands is far from perfect, but I think there are things we can do that will certainly improve our standing between now and 2012.

"Rome wasn't built in a day - this is a huge challenge. But I have strong views, I am very passionate and I am optimistic British athletes can return to prominence in middle and long distance running."

 

Charles van Commenee said: “I am delighted that Ian will be joining us at UK Athletics. He brings a breadth and depth of experience, knowledge and expertise of elite athletics than few can match. Britain has a tremendous heritage for endurance running, of which Ian has played a significant part.

“I am also excited that the group of seven of Britain’s endurance running luminaries have made themselves available to support the future of the discipline as part of the advisory group. They know more than me on my own about this area and I am sure their contribution will be invaluable. I look forward to working with Ian and the wider group to help Britain’s talented distance runners fulfill their potential.

Seb Coe said: "What is important is that this group unites behind Charles, Ian and the wider endurance community in a positive and ambitious manner to do all we can to turn round our middle and long distance fortunes between now and 2012.

 

"When Charles asked me to chair to the group, I didn’t hesitate.  We have a great endurance heritage in this country and with that comes expertise, new ideas and a common desire to see our distance athletes achieve success.  This is a sure sign that the new team of Niels de Vos and Charles van Commenee are willing to embrace that expertise and use it to re-ignite our country's passion for endurance."