Have you heard of the England Athletics Talent Hubs? This Christmas we’re celebrating the fantastic work of the England Athletics family, and today we’re taking a deeper dive into the world of performance athletics and running. Whether you have never heard of the Talent Hubs or want to learn more about how you can benefit from their services, we’re here to explain it all!
What are the England Athletics Talent Hubs?
The Talent Hubs are spread throughout England, based out of Leeds Beckett University, Loughborough University, University of Birmingham and St. Mary’s University in Twickenham.
The aim of the Hub network is to create a training and educational environment for pathway athletes and their coaches. At each of the Hubs, athletes and coaches will be able to access training camps, coaching support, coach education, mentoring, and a range of sports science and therapy services.
Working with key players from the running sector
Over 120 athletes currently receive support services from the different Talent Hubs, and up to a further 400 athletes benefit from the investment in coaching. However, we at England Athletics could not do it alone.
It is thanks to our partners and supporters at London Marathon Events, Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS), Sport England, and all the universities that we can provide the advanced level of support to our rising stars.
Speaking on the Hubs, England Athletics Head of Talent Development, Sarah Benson explained:
“The introduction of the Talent Hubs in 2019, initially piloting with Leeds and Birmingham, was a fantastic joint development with our partners to provide the very best experience for our athletes and coaches, putting them at the forefront. Last year the addition of Loughborough and St Mary’s Universities enabled us to open our doors to nearly 50 more athletes and widen the reach of our Talent Pathway.
“Working alongside such key players as London Marathon Events and TASS, we are able to increase our investment into the performance space and create optimal talent development environments helping prepare athletes across all event groups for their next steps whether that be to Commonwealth, World, or Olympic and Paralympic teams.”
Who do the Talent Hubs support?
The Talent Hubs are not just placed throughout the country by accident, they have been strategically selected based on their world class facilities and sport science services, the existing coaching infrastructure, and their ability to give more performance athletes and coaches throughout England the opportunity to access top-level coaching and practice.
The athletes supported in the Talent Hubs have been selected onto our Senior or Junior Talent Programme, but many other high-level athletes local to the area are benefiting from their existence. The Talent Hubs also host many of the England Talent Programme camps, including the Youth Talent Programme (YTP). You can find out more about all of the different levels of the Talent Pathway and our entry requirements here.
The Talent Hubs, although only into their fourth year, have a rich history of supporting those at the very top to achieve their full potential. 800m British record holder and World and Olympic silver medallist Keely Hodgkinson has benefitted from the facilities and resources at Leeds Beckett, alongside 800m World and Commonwealth bronze medallist Ben Pattison who also based some of his training from the Leeds Hub:
“The Talent Pathway and Hub educated me about the whole Games experience as well as training so that I knew what to expect which went a long way in helping me to achieve my medal.”
The future of the Talent Hubs
The Talent Hubs enable more athletes to access performance education and services, and we are committed to growing the network as described in the England Athletics Strategy 2020-2032: Athletes and Runners at the Heart. Sarah explains:
“As we approach the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics, we continue to track the impact the Talent Hubs are having on the development of athletes moving into the high-performance world and making GB&NI teams. The Talent Hub model enables us to reach and support more athletes than ever before, so we are committed to growing and developing the network in other areas of England over the next cycle to support athletes on their journey to Los Angeles in 2028.”
As the year draws to a close, all at England Athletics are excited to see what 2024 holds from the indoor season to cross country and multi-terrain to national championships and Paris in the summer. We will be with our talent pathway athletes all the way and look forward to supporting further in the new year.