By Owen Morgan
Four Welsh international athletes will continue to receive funding from London Marathon Events (LME) during 2021.
Cardiff Athletics team-mates Charlotte Arter, Jenny Nesbitt and Jake Heyward, along with Natasha Cockram, of the Micky Morris Racing Team, are among the 29 athletes to receive support from LME.
Arter and Cockram are currently preparing to take part in the Great Britain Olympic Marathon trials at Kew Garden in London, later this month.
Heyward, now based in the United States with the Oregon Track Club Elite, is a former European Junior 1500m champion, while Nesbitt has represented Great Britain and was the 2019 Welsh Cross Country Champion.
Incredibly grateful for the continued support 🤩 It makes so much difference, especially in the current climate 🥰 https://t.co/fonRzrtie9
— Jenny Nesbitt (@jennynesbitt) March 10, 2021
Another athlete included on the list is Swansea Harrier Verity Ockenden, who won bronze in the 1500m at the Indoor European Athletics Championships earlier this month.
This is the third year LME has offered direct support to athletes who sit just outside British Athletics’ World Class programmes and Futures Academy programme but who still have the potential to star at major competitions.
It is part of a pathway of LME support to British running that ranges from “playground to podium”, including The Daily Mile, London Mini Marathon and Talent Development Hubs in Birmingham and Leeds.
All athletes who were on the 2020 programme have been offered funding for 2021, with the exception of another Welsh athlete, Piers Copeland, and fellow Cardiff-based runner Jake Smith who have both graduated to British Athletics’ Futures Academy programme.
Copeland, finished fifth in the 1500m at the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Poland, while Smith became the third fastest British male of all time over the half marathon distance last October.
Hugh Brasher, Event Director of London Marathon Events, said: “Since the London Marathon was founded in 1981, we have worked to improve endurance running in this country.
“We are committed to providing a pathway from the playground to the podium for athletes in this country, from The Daily Mile to our elite athlete funding programme and it is really encouraging that the Great Britain team at the European Indoor Championships included so many athletes who have been or are part of the London Marathon Events funding system.
Brasher added: “Last year was an incredibly difficult year for everyone, including our elite athletes. With the lack of races and the difficulties they faced in accessing both training and support facilities, we believe it is right and fair that those who were on last year’s programme have the same opportunity in 2021.
“Even with all the challenges of last year, athletes on our funding programme had an extremely successful 2020 winning a total of 13 British Athletics championships medals and that has continued into 2021 with. Marc Scott’s phenomenal run in California last month and the strong representation at the European Indoor Championships.
“This shows that our plan to provide a bridge to British Athletics’ funding is working and we hope the class of 2021 continue that progression and we see as many of them as possible competing in the Tokyo Olympic Games.”
The athletes were shortlisted by a panel of British Athletics and LME endurance experts and range from middle-distance runners to marathon specialists.
No athlete currently funded through British Athletics funding programmes is eligible to receive LME individual funding.
The full list of athletes to be offered London Marathon Events funding for 2021 is:
Mohamud Aadan (Thames Valley Harriers)
Charlotte Arter (Cardiff AC)
Sam Atkin (Lincoln Wellington)
Alexandra Bell (Pudsley & Bramley AC)
Elizabeth Bird (Shaftesbury Barnet AC)
Emile Cairess (Leeds City AC)
Hayley Carruthers (Birchfield Harriers)
Rosie Clarke (Epsom & Ewell AC)
Natasha Cockram (Micky Morris Racing Team)
Jamaine Coleman (Preston Harriers)
Ben Connor (Derby AC)
Stephanie Davis (Clapham Chasers)
Nick Goolab (Belgrave Harriers)
Derek Hawkins (Kilbarchan AAC)
Jake Heyward (Cardiff AC)
Sarah Inglis (Lothian Running Club)
Tish Jones (Belgrave Harriers)
Matt Leach (Bedford & County AC)
Amy-Eloise Markovc (Wakefield District Harriers)
Jonny Mellor (Liverpool Harriers)
Jennifer Nesbitt (Cardiff AC)
Verity Ockenden (Swansea Harriers)
Chris O’Hare (Edinburgh AC)
Lily Partridge (Birchfield Harriers)
Marc Scott (Cambridge & Coleridge AC)
Zak Seddon (Bracknell AC)
Jenny Spink (Bristol & West AC)
Chris Thompson (Aldershot, Farnham & District)
Alice Wright (Worcester AC)