Great Run Birmingham Marathon Clinic: An amazing night talking about Distance Running with Barry Fudge, Ian Stewart, Wendy Sly, Tim Hutchings and Andy Young

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IMG_7599.JPGBarry Fudge (cup over face), Ian Stewart, Wendy Sly, Tim Hutchings, Andy Young, Distance Running Panel, sponsored by City of Birmingham, Great Run Birmingham Marathon 2017

Updated March 7, 2017

After the fantastic double by Laura Muir this past weekend at the 2017 European Indoor Champs, we thought many might want to hear just what the Brits are doing. Barry Fudge, UK Athletics Endurance chair, Andy Young, Coach of one Laura Muir, plus Ian Stewart (72 bronze, Euro Champ 5000, CG champ, 5000, WXC champ 1975), Wendy Sly (CG silver, LA Olympic silver 3000m ), Tim Hutchings (4th LA Olympics, 5000m, bronze, European Champs 1986, World cross, silver in 1984,1989, bronze, 5000m, CG 1986).

Updated February 22, 2017

This is one of the most amazing clinics that I have ever seen. What makes a good clinic? It is part chemistry, part knowledge and experience of the clinicians and part knowledge and experience of the emcee. This clinic had all of those things.

You need to listen to this. You need to not only listen to this, but send it to your friends in coaching and your friends who want to improve their running. I have been to clinics around the world, but this 90 minutes of lively discussion was tremendous.

Emceed by Gareth Turnbull, a man who combines knowledge of the sport with an amazingly dry sense of humor, the panel covered questions submitted by the 150 plus folks in the lovely City of Birmingham hall.

Highlights:

Barry Fudge, British Athletics Head of UK endurance spoke of how elite runners build their training, and how important it is to help elite athletes manage stress around major events. Sometimes, that is keeping the coaches away from the athletes, so both can chill. Common sense with technical expertise, it is clear why British Athletics has Barry Fudge in this position.

Ian Stewart, Great Run consultant, European and Commonwealth Games champ, 1972 Olympic bronze medalist 5000 meters. Supported Barry Fudge with the notion that Mo Farah is a racer, not a world record breaker. Stewart noted that records are one thing, the skills developed by Mo Farah to be the finest distance racer in the world are totally another.

Wendy Sly, silver medalist, 1984 LA Olympics, spoke about, her favorite world record, Seb Coe at Rieti, hitting the 400m in 49 seconds, finishing so hard over the last lap. Wendy noted that she was in the center of the field after her 800 meters, and that "Seb looked so fast."

Tim Hutchings, 1984 LA 5000 meters, 4th, two time silver medalist World Cross country, reminded us that it is hard to compare eras of running, such as the 1980s to now. His observations on watching Steve Cram and how much he admired him, were quite funny.

Andrew Young, coach of Laura Muir. Funny, self depricating, this guy knows running. Built a program from 4 runners at his former uni to over 60, with little support from the school, Andrew has helped Laur Muir grow in racing ability and confidence. He noted how Cram, Coe, Ovett and company inspired him to run in Scotland.

This is a fun discussion. Lots to learn from it. Special thanks to Steve Hollingworth, Assistant Director of Birmingham City Council (Birmingham Sports & Events), who hosted this wonderful event. And thanks to Ian Stewart for reminding me about this event!

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