World Championships semi-finalist Alex Bell is one of 30 British athletes who have been offered funding from London Marathon Events (LME) for the 2020 season as part of LME’s extensive and longstanding support of British endurance running.

Bell, who reached the semi-finals of the 800m in Doha last year, was one of eight athletes on last year’s inaugural LME funding programme who represented Great Britain at the 2019 World Championships.

Three others – Marc Scott, Ben Connor and Zak Seddon – continue on the LME programme for 2020 while another four – Charlotte Purdue, Steph Twell, Aimee Pratt and Neil Gourley – have progressed from LME funding to British Athletics’ Olympic Podium Potential Funding after hugely successful performances in 2019.

The athlete programme is part of a larger £350,000 funding commitment from LME to British endurance running that includes support of the World Class Performance Programme (WCPP) and training camps for British endurance athletes.

Bell targeting Tokyo Olympics

Bell said: “I am extremely grateful to receive another year of help from London Marathon Events. I had a memorable year on the track last year reaching the World Championships semi-finals and now I have the Tokyo Olympic Games as my big motivation for 2020. This funding will be crucial to help and support me in a year that could be the biggest of my career to date.”

LME has worked with British Athletics to select the nominated individual athletes and the funding is designed to provide a bridge for endurance runners to the WCPP and to improve the standard of British endurance running across all distances.

In addition to the 15 athletes who are continuing on the funding programme, 15 new names have been added to the list including Rosie Clarke and Elizabeth Bird, who both ran the 3000m steeplechase at last year’s World Championships, Piers Copeland, 1500m silver medallist at the 2019 Under-23 European Championships, and Stephanie Davis, who last year ran the ninth fastest marathon time in history by a British woman.

Funding specifically for non WCPP athletes

The athletes were shortlisted by a panel of British Athletics and London Marathon Events endurance experts and range from middle-distance runners to marathon specialists. No athlete currently funded through the British Athletics WCPP is eligible to receive London Marathon Events individual funding.

Hugh Brasher, Event Director of London Marathon Events, said: “We are passionate about effectively supporting British endurance running and the first year of this new initiative of funding individual athletes has produced good results. Eight of our funded athletes were selected for the World Championships and now four of those have progressed onto the British Athletics Olympic Podium Potential Programme. The aim of this funding was to provide a pathway for talented endurance athletes and these results show it is working.

“We wish this year’s funded athletes every success and we hope to see a number of them in Team GB at the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer.”

Fast Running editor Robbie Britton said “it’s brilliant to see London Marathon’s continued support of British endurance running and whilst there may be huge discussions going on about shoe technology, we mustn’t forget the huge amount of hard work that this runners put in.

The 30 names below are, for me, a big part of Fast Running and the names that we love to see on start lists and in our interviews. British Endurance running is on the rise and it’s done to support like this and hardworking athletes that we’re seeing results not just on the domestic stage, but internationally too.”

The full list of athletes to be offered London Marathon Events funding is:

  • Mohamud Aadan (Thames Valley)
  • Charlotte Arter (Cardiff AAC)
  • Alexandra Bell (Pudsey & Bramley)
  • Elizabeth Bird (Shaftesbury Barnet)
  • Emile Cairess (Leeds City)
  • Hayley Carruthers (Birchfield Harriers)
  • Rosie Clarke (Epsom & Ewell)
  • Natasha Cockram (Micky Morris Racing Team)
  • Jamaine Coleman (Preston)
  • Ben Connor (Derby)
  • Piers Copeland (Wimborne)
  • Stephanie Davis (Clapham Chasers)
  • Nick Goolab (Belgrave Harriers)
  • Derek Hawkins (Kilbarchan AAC)
  • Jake Heyward (Cardiff AAC)
  • Sarah Inglis (Lothian Running Club)
  • Tish Jones (Belgrave Harriers)
  • Matt Leach (Bedford & County)
  • Jonny Mellor (Liverpool Harriers)
  • Amy-Eloise Neale (Wakefield District Harriers)
  • Jennifer Nesbitt (Cardiff AAC)
  • Verity Ockenden (Swansea Harriers)
  • Chris O’Hare (Edinburgh AC)
  • Lily Partridge (Birchfield Harriers)
  • Marc Scott (Cambridge & Coleridge)
  • Zak Seddon (Bracknell AC)
  • Jake Smith (Cardiff AAC)
  • Jenny Spink (Bristol & West)
  • Chris Thompson (Aldershot Farnham & District)
  • Alice Wright (Worcester AC)

Are you a fan of Fast Running? Then please support us and become a patron. For as little as the price of a monthly magazine you can support Fast Running – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.