By Owen Morgan
Four Welsh endurance runners are included on a list of British athletes offered funding from London Marathon Events (LME) for the 2020 season.
Cardiff Athletics club members Jake Heyward, Charlotte Arter and Jenny Nesbitt are joined by Natasha Cockram, of the Micky Morris Racing on the 30-strong list.
The athlete programme is part of a larger £350,000 funding commitment from LME including support of the World Class Performance Programme (WCPP) and training camps for British endurance athletes.
Rising middle-distance star Heyward, is currently part of the world famous Oregon Track Club Elite, while Arter recently broke her own world park run record.
Nesbitt is preparing to represent Great Britain at the World University Cross Country Championships, while Cockram is the Welsh women’s marathon record holder.
The funding initiative, launched last year, is designed to provide a bridge for endurance runners to the WCPP and to improve the standard of British endurance running across all distances.
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.
Welsh endurance athletes Dewi Griffiths, of Swansea Harriers and Poole AC’s Melissa Courtney-Bryant are currently part of the WCPP.
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.”
Other athletes with Welsh links included on the list are Cardiff Metropolitan University students Piers Copeland and Jake Smith, along with Swansea Harrier Verity Ockenden.