Investment into British marathon running

The Milestone Pursuit is designed to help people set their milestones (in running and in their careers) and then develop the step by step plan, often over many months or years to reach them (the pursuit).

But that’s not all. We have a pursuit of our own – to help improve the standards of British elite marathon running. 

British marathon runners used to be at the vanguard of the sport, with, for example, Steve Jones and Paula Radcliffe both setting world records and winning world marathon majors. However, East Africans have dominated podiums since the late 1980s and are running faster and faster while current British athletes, on the whole (there are exceptions), are running about the same marathon times as British athletes were running in the 1970s and 1980s. Click here (link to blog post that I haven’t published yet) to read more about this.

In recent years British runners have struggled to compete on the international stage for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons is investment. British marathon runners receive little in the way of financial support, especially considering the extraordinary commitment required to compete at that distance. 

Being a marathon runner is tough. You can only really race twice a year, you have to train hard, and train long, and East Africans are picking up most of the prize and appearance money and UK governing bodies only fund and support those athletes with the potential to win medals at global level. This means athletes require other jobs and careers which, in today’s world, aren’t good bedfellows for marathon running/training and so it’s easy to see how elite or sub elite athletes can become disillusioned. 

Why does this matter?

We are all, almost always, pursuing some kind of personal development milestone, from buying nicer clothes to home improvements to getting a promotion at work, we are all trying to move forward. We have aspirations. In running, it’s our evolutionary instinct to look at who/what is ahead of us, not behind, and so inspiration starts at the top. If elite level role models don’t exist, it reduces the aspiration levels of everyone further down the chain.

A British guy running 2.08 or a woman running 2.25, for example, shows that it can be done.

The sub elite (lets call them women who run under 2.45 and men under 2.30), see people pushing through, which gives them something to aim for.

The same is then true of ambitious club runners (2.45 to 3.15) and so it goes on all the way “down” to the thousands of people participating in parkrun each week.

Someone may not necessarily run their first 5k as a direct result of Charlotte Purdue running a 2.25 marathon (they probably haven’t even heard of Charlotte) but the nature of human aspiration dictates that there is indirect participatory benefit to having strong elite performers.

At a time when society’s biggest health issues centre around obesity and mental health which running is evidenced to help there is a societal benefit to having strong elite performers.

Of course it works the other way around too. The more people we have competing for international selection  the higher the standard will naturally become and to an extent we are seeing this in 2019 with 6 British men running under 2.15 for the first time since 1991.

What are we doing to help?

Since 2017, we have invested a percentage of our revenue into supporting British elite marathon runners which means that all the work we do with our athletes directly contributes to British marathon running. That means YOU directly contribute! The current beneficiaries of that scheme are Charlotte Purdue and Josh Griffiths. In return they share details of their training with us that we share with clients and to an extent on social mediA

Why Josh and Charlotte? 

Josh surprised everyone by winning the British Marathon title in 2:14:49, securing himself an unexpected place at the 2017 World Athletics Championships in the process. Our funding helped him prepare for that race and then the Commnwealth games the following year and to continue to make improvements such that he’s one of the 6 British men to run under 2.15 this year. He is entirely self funded, and is even self coached and appreciates our support.

At the London World championship marathon in 2017, that we helped Josh prepare for, Charlotte stood out as someone to invest in as she ran a strong and brave race, coming through the field in the latter stages on a hot and difficult day with a well paced run to finish 13th as the first European. That was a breakthrough performance, and while it was just outside her PB at the time, the strength and racing acumen she exhibited suggested there was more to come. 

So we picked up the phone and offered to sponsor her. To this day, even after her recent elevation (she became the third fastest British woman of all time at the 2019 London Marathon) we are one of only 4 brands that sponsor her (and Nike is one of the other three!). As a full-time athlete, with the long term goal of becoming an Olympian, she values our contribution.

Our goal is to help drive further improvements which might seem ambitious, but like all ambitious goals, including Charlotte Purdue’s goal to run in the 2020 Olympics, once broken into day to day tasks it feels much more manageable.

You can help. 


Appoint us to help you pursue your milestones…..

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