Announcing our Athlete Panel

England Athletics is delighted to unveil its first ever Athlete Panel, set-up to enable stronger representation of the collective athlete voice with regards to the organisation’s decision-making process.

The panel is made up of eleven individuals – all of whom will serve a two-year term – representing each of the seven event groups.

Our panel members are:

Beck Bennett

Beck competed in county cross country and 1500m track competitions from the age of 11, and running has been an integral part of her life ever since. She now runs long distance recreationally and takes part in grassroot competitions.  Beck wants to drive a collaborative approach with individuals from a variety of backgrounds.

Dan Putnam

Dan is a self-coached sprinter who started in 2005 and has won national titles at every age group over the 200m and 400m. He recently won the England Senior Champs for the first time. Dan wants to bridge the disconnect between athletes and those who have the power to evolve the sport.

Ella Fryer

Ella has been competing in athletics for eight years, primarily over 800m and 400m. She's competed up to national level and participated in the England Athletics Youth and Junior Talent Programmes. Ella wants to use her experiences in the sport to help drive positive change, especially regarding to the youth system and teenage dropout.

Ellen Barber

Ellen holds an English Schools AA gold in the heptathlon and went on to medal at SIAB schools then making the decision to train full time as an athlete. She has taken gold at British senior, U23 and international combined events championships. Ellen wants to represent and positively transform the experience of heptathlon/decathlon for athletes, spectators, officials and staff.

Harrison Mayne

Harrison runs 1500m to 5k. He has represented the Midlands at cross country, been a member of his club since the age of nine, and is now at Loughborough University. During a period of injury he set up an athletics social media company. Harrison is interested in optimising the sport to cater to athlete needs and help individuals grow and develop both within and outside the sport.

James McCrae

James loves competing across a range of distances on the track, road and cross country, with regional gold medals to his name . He was part of the endurance group at the University of Birmingham. James wants to help the sport evolve and address falling participation but to also keep the important traditions whilst promoting new ideas.

John Beattie

John has competed for over two decades as a distance runner over cross country, track and road. He's competed for England, Great Britain and at the Commonwealth Games. He has started and grown a successful coaching business and is excited to use his athletics and business experience in a new way to give athletes a louder voice.

Laura Weightman

Laura has recently retired from a professional career in which she competed at two Olympic Games and won multiple European and Commonwealth Games medals over 1500m and 5000m. Laura wants to give back to the sport and is eager to represent the athletics community as a relatable and informed voice to encourage open conversations with athletes of all levels.

Nisha Desai

Nisha was 10-time Northern champion at 400m Hurdles, a multiple finalist at the British Championships and has won many England Athletics medals. She recently became European V35 Masters Champion. A strong supporter of the county championships and club league matches, she wants to look at innovative ways to engage and advance the sport at club level, and ensure it is fully inclusive.

Tor Bennett-Williams

Tor is a British Universities relay gold medallist, and has earned multiple Midlands medals and County titles. He also has a coaching background and professional experience contributing to major world events, including the 2022 Commonwealth Games. His goal is to contribute to shaping the sport - identifying root causes, and formulating plans to mitigate challenges.

Zac Shaw

Zac is a visually impaired Para-athlete and has represented Great Britain and Team England on numerous occasions, winning medals at World Championships, European Championships, and the Commonwealth Games. Zac particularly wants to help England Athletics’ vision of inclusion, specifically disability sport.

The panel will provide feedback, advice and support to England Athletics and the Board, regarding key areas impacting domestic competition and participation in the sport.

Laura Weightman, European and Commonwealth medallist and double Olympian, said:

"I am passionate in giving back to the sport that has given me so much and contributing to the future of athletics. I am eager to represent the athletics community as a relatable and informed voice to encourage open conversations with athletes of all levels to support the development of athletics as a whole."

"As a group I hope we can combine all our own personal experiences and engage with the wider athletics community to share the collective athlete voice. The athlete voice is so important as they are the sport. In order to keep the sport relevant, popular and engaging we must come together to hear their voice."

Former Great Britain athlete and Olympic, World, and European medallist Marilyn Okoro, England Athletics’ UK Athletics nominated Board Director, said:

"The athlete voice is always a powerful one to include in conversations and collaborations about our sport. The England Athletics Athlete Panel presents a real opportunity to give English athletes a seat at the table to help influence decision-making that impacts the entire athletics community. I am personally very excited and committed to supporting this initiative and ensuring athletes are set up for success and know that they can speak up, be seen and influence change."

Sarah Benson, Head of Talent at England Athletics, said:

"This is an important group for developing our sport and addressing some key challenges such as preventing early drop-out and providing excellent competition opportunities for every level of athlete. We want athletes taking part in the sport have a say in helping shape the future and offer ideas to ensure athletics and running is accessible, fun and provides all our members with great competition experiences. The Athlete Panel will connect athletes and runners with key groups leading and delivering athletics and running across England."

Panel members were selected following an open recruitment process which took into account their experience as athletes, while also considering the necessary diversity in representation relating to geographical location, background and event discipline.

Along with providing feedback and advice to England Athletics, the panel members – who will meet a minimum of four times per year – will also work closely with the UKA Athletes’ Commission, who represent the voice of elite athletes competing at the highest level in sport.  

Our Athlete Panel representatives

Read their bios to learn more about each of the Athlete Panel representatives and get in touch with any of them.