Friday 5th October, 2018
As Wales prepares to host the inaugural Commonwealth Half Marathon Championships on Sunday, Welsh Athletics’ National Endurance Development Programme continues to provide support for Wales’ top endurance athletes.
The endurance programme has already paved the way for many of Wales’ top distance stars, including the likes of Dewi Griffiths, Josh Griffiths and Caryl Jones. Caryl commented; “I think regional coaches like Delyth Brown, Kevin Evans, Hedydd Davies and Carol Jones were the biggest influence on my development as an athlete because they were the first ones to recognise endurance talent and were always present at training sessions and races. Consequently, I have been able to develop further with more recent coaches and have received fantastic support from Sport Wales in maintaining my high levels of performance.”
National Endurance Manager for Welsh Athletics, Chris Jones, commented on the support programme in place; “Our aim over the next four years will be to continue to invest and support athletes building towards the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Over the past two years we have seen a growth in the number of athletes representing Wales at both European and World Championship events - 12 endurance athletes qualified with A standard performances for the recent Commonwealth Games, which culminated in two medal winning performances.”
The National Endurance Development Programme is a Welsh Athletics support programme for around 35 Welsh endurance athletes ranked in the UK’s top 30 in their respective events. The aim of the programme is to share best practice amongst some of Wales’ most talented endurance athletes and coaches and create a sense of togetherness in the athletics community in Wales. The programme offers opportunities for athletes and coaches to work with the Sport Wales delivery team on key areas like nutrition, strength and conditioning and key group skilled running sessions throughout the year, to enhance the resources and support available to them.
In addition to the National Programme, the Regional Endurance Development Programme is a support programme for regional endurance athletes across a wide base within Wales and is divided into four regions across the country led by regional coordinators. There are currently 150 endurance athletes and 40 coaches involved in the Regional Development Programme, all of whom are involved in a series of Regional Development Days throughout the year focusing on key areas such as Physical Preparation, Coach Education, Skill Development and Athlete-Coach Support.
At the latest North Wales Regional Development Day, over 50 athletes and their coaches from Menai, Deeside, Maldwyn, Wrexham and Colwyn Bay came together for an endurance workshop led by North Wales Regional Coordinator, John Messum. “Despite numerous members of the Regional Programme being away representing Wales at the British Junior Mountain Running Championships, there was still an excellent turnout of athletes and coaches”, said Messum. “The day started with athletes undertaking a long track session focused on even paced running, before moving on to Pilates and Strength and Conditioning work in the afternoon. The development day once more provided a very rewarding experience for both athletes and coaches alike, and we look forward to future sessions with great optimism.”
The success of athletes who’ve developed through the Regional and National Endurance Programme from a young age provides future generations with the inspiration and motivation to emulate that success in their own athletics careers. National Endurance Manager, Chris Jones, added “Currently we have a standard-based investment programme with Sport Wales that rewards athletes who reach a required standard. This will continue in its current model for the near future and will be part of our overall athlete award scheme going forward; however, it will be reviewed as part of our performance submission making sure that this approach allows enough flexibility and is the best use of our resources for athletes in Wales”
Sunday’s inaugural Commonwealth Half Marathon Championship gives athletes, coaches and parents the opportunity to watch and cheer Wales’ top endurance stars as they take on the best the Commonwealth has to offer along the streets of Cardiff.
Further information on Sunday’s race can be found here