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UK Athletics

HiPAC role explained

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19 November 2007


Matt Favier column as seen in Athletics Weekly Magazine.


Favier discusses his role as Director of the West London High Performance Athletics Centre.


The inception of the ‘HiPAC’s’ – High Performance Athletics Centres – is one of the most ground-breaking moves forward for the UK Athletics High Performance Programme. Although from the outside the centres look very much the same as they did before the term came into regular use by the performance team.


Yet peel back the layers, and there are substantial differences in the level of support services available, the quality of the personnel and the training environments. Coupled with a tighter and more focused application of the available resources to aspiring Podium athletes, HiPAC’s are positioned to impact on the performances of athletes on a global level. 


My role as HiPAC Director, West London supports the efforts of the HiPAC team located at two University based sites: Brunel University [Uxbridge] and St Mary’s University College [Teddington].


St Mary’s University College has a particular emphasis on endurance events while the Brunel University site focuses primarily on speed and horizontal jumps; whilst both sites are served by the strong performance team including Tony Lester, Mark Rowland, Todd Bennett, Mick Woods, Harry King and Craig Winrow.


One of Dave Collins’ objectives is to provide world-class service across a range of range of disciplines with the primary purpose of the HiPAC being to support excellence in athletics. What appealed to me about the role of HiPAC Director was to take this concept and make it happen. 


As a coach it is a necessity to pursue the best of resources for your athlete. Whilst coaching Harry Aikines Aryeetey to World Junior 100m Gold, every avenue was explored to make the provision for him world class - I see my current role as facilitating that process for many more of our athletes based at High Performance Centres.


Nowadays, a much closer operational relationship between UKA and the English Institute of Sport exists and every athlete supported by the West London HiPAC has a personalised support programme. Personal coaches set the strategy in coordination with the HiPAC team, including the HiPAC Director. Along with the athletes, we too are aspiring for excellence.


One of the more unique aspects of the West London HiPAC is the Endurance Performance Centre (EPC) – which represents a successful five year long partnership between the London Marathon, UK Athletics and St Mary’s University College. The generous support, in particular over the last two years, has enabled athletes to benefit from onsite accommodation at St Mary’s University College as well as the ‘Athlete House’ that is currently home to Mo Farah and Jemma Simpson, along with a number of other athletes.


The numbers are pretty convincing of what this valuable partnership with London Marathon and St Mary’s is helping us to achieve: in 2007, 38 athletes benefited from the support from the EPC. Of this, 31 out of 38 achieved personal bests, with an impressive 19 athletes selected to a Norwich Union GB Team in 2006/2007.  The results of athletes who have benefited from the centre – in addition to Mo and Jemma – is obvious with Jo Pavey, Andy Baddeley, Mara Yamauchi and Steph Twell being among the ‘athlete roster’ for the EPC. 


Beijing is of course a substantial focus for HiPACS, but at the same time, we continue to look beyond Beijing to London in our efforts to support the dreams of talented athletes that inspire us all.