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UK Athletics

Pre-European Cross Country Champs Training Camp

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13 September 2007


Reigning European Junior Cross Country Champion Steph Twell, fresh from running an Olympic 1500m qualifying time at the weekend, and the 2005 European Junior 5000m Champion Emily Pidgeon are among the teenagers invited by the UK Athletics Endurance Management Group to the annual Pre-European Training Camp at the UKA Endurance Performance Centre, St Mary’s University Twickenham, on September 13 to 16.


They hope to reunite with three more of the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland Team that won the Junior Women’s Team gold medals at last winter’s European Cross Country Championships in Ferrara, Italy – Jessica Coulson (Stockport Harriers), Sian Edwards (Kettering Town Harriers) and Olivia Kenney (Royal Sutton Coldfield) – plus two more who made their debuts at the World Cross Country Championships in Mombassa, Kenya, in March: Inter-Counties Under 20 and England Under 17 cross country champion Charlotte Purdue (Aldershot, Farnham and District) and England Junior cross country silver medallist Stevie Stockton (Vale Royal AC).


The quality of the other dozen invited underlines the current strength of female endurance running in the UK: Joanne Harvey (Exeter Harriers) and Danielle Sale (Orion Harriers), who were in the Norwich Union GB&NI team at the 2006 World Cross Country Championships in Fukuoka, Japan; Yorkshire 3000m champion Rosie Edwards (Rotherham Harriers); Mary Ferrier (Gateshead Harriers), who has been consistently successful through the age groups; Blue Haywood (Lincoln Wellington) who raced at this summer’s European Youth Olympic Festival; Sarah Hopkinson (Gloucester AC), leader in the Power of 10 1500m rankings but so versatile that she ran the steeplechase at the World Youth Championships; Katie Knowles (Bristol and West AC) who was second in last winter’s UK Inter-Counties Under 17s’ race; England Under 20 1500m champion Emma Pallant (Aldershot, Farnham and District), who was a fine fourth at this summer’s European Junior Championships; Inter-Counties Under 15 cross country champion Beth Potter (Victoria Park Glasgow AC); Louise Small (Aldershot, Farnham and District), another first-year Under 17 who has won major track medals this summer; Non Stanford (Swansea Harriers) who was fifth in last winter’s World Trial; Inter-Counties Under 17 cross country champion Heather Timmins (Warrington AC).


The Under 20 Men on the guest list include five of the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland team that ran in the Junior Men’s race at the World Cross Country Championships in March – Lee Carey (Nuneaton Harriers), England Under 17 cross country champion David Forrester (Sutton St Helens AC), Ben Lindsay (Pendle AC), Andrew Livingstone (Thurrock Harriers) and Conor McNulty (Kilbarchan AAC) – plus Inter-Counties Under 20 champion Jon Pepper (Enfield and Haringey) who had the misfortune to miss Mombassa because of injury, Ricky Stevenson (New Marske Harriers), who raced at last winter’s Euro Cross and in the 1500m at this summer’s European Junior Championships; Ross Murray (Gateshead Harriers), the reigning Inter-Counties Under 17 cross country champion; Mitch Goose (City of Norwich AC), the English Schools’ 3000m champion; Simon Horsfield (East Cheshire Harriers and Tameside AC), World Youth Championships 1500m finalist; plus Sam Perkins (St Mary’s Richmond), Michael Gillespie (Central AAC), James Wilkinson (Leeds City AC) and Sam Godfrey (West Suffolk AC) who have all progressed promisingly enough to suggest they will benefit from the advice available.


There will be group runs in Bushy Park and training sessions in Richmond Park as well as a flow of advice designed to prepare the youngsters for the international stage…


Alan Storey, the UK Athletics Senior Performance Manager for Endurance fresh from working with the Norwich Union Great Britain and Northern Ireland Team at the World Championships in Osaka and the Norwich Union Preparation Camp in Macau, will give the teenagers on suitable training loads and preparation for major championships.


Martin Rush, Norwich Union GB&NI Junior Team Leader for the last five years, will talk about “Championship essentials, lifestyles and expectations.”


Bob Ashwood, Chair of the UKA Endurance Management Group, plus coaches Nick Anderson, Bud Baldaro and Mick Woods will join with Spencer Barden, UKA Senior Coordinator for Endurance, to give the athletes an overview of the season and the most critical dates, information about the European Cross Country Championships to be staged in Toro, Spain, on 9 December, training ideas and planning strategies.


Wendy Sly, the 1984 Olympic 3000m silver medallist, will discuss “Time management for the busy athlete.”


Dr Andi Drake will deal with “the physiology of cross country preparation, racing and the key issues” while Nick Anderson will handle a group stretch session and injury prevention clinic.


It is a crucial part of UKA’s on-going strategy to identify Junior athletes who might find themselves in this winter’s teams for one or more major Championships, and to help them plan thoroughly.


The Norwich Union GB&NI Team for the European Cross Country Championships will not be finalised, of course, until after the trials during the UK Cross Challenge Liverpool meeting on 24 November.


The World Trials will be incorporated into the UK Inter-Counties Championships at Nottingham on 15 March with the IAAF World Championships being staged in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh, on 30 March.