Industry leaders New Balance and Runners’ Choice have partnered with the London Runner Distance Club in an effort to better support the London Running community. This partnership is expected to positively influence all levels of the community by increasing accessibility to New Balance shoes and apparel, increasing the number of all-inclusive local racing opportunities, and creating a new High Performance Athlete Assistance Program.
“Runners’ Choice has been involved in the London Runner Distance Club since its inception and this increased involvement is just a natural next step,” says Runners’ Choice owner Paul Roberts. “We are very excited and proud to be able to offer this great opportunity to help deserving athletes that look to make an increased commitment to the London Runner community and to pursue their performance dreams. “
New Balance representative Rick Gard stated, “After many years of partnership with Runners Choice London, we at New Balance are very proud to now be involved with the London Runner Distance Club and their Athlete Assistance Program. Along with Runners Choice, our aim is to promote running in the community with a long-term goal of supporting athletes to achieve the very highest standards in the country.”
London Runner Athlete Assistance Program
The core aspect of this partnership is the creation of an Athlete Assistance Program (AAP) that will provide significant support to top local distance runners. In 2011, the AAP will outfit selected athletes in the very best New Balance shoes and apparel, while providing financial support for both travel and living expenses. Program Coordinators Paul Roberts and Steve Weiler are excited about the immediate impact this will have on local high performance athletes. “The impact that New Balance and Runners' Choice will have on London Runner with this partnership is undeniably substantial,” stated Kyle O’Neill, who has placed top-6 the past two years at the Canadian Track & Field Championships in his specialty, the 3,000m Steeplechase. “This partnership will provide a further boost to an already steadily developing London Runner community.”
Top London area female Steeplechaser Becky Pieterson believes that “this partnership will act as a great boost for London Runner. Having this new funding available will help to take some of the burden off of athletes to work, allowing them to focus more readily on training.”
In order to apply for AAP carding, athletes must have achieved specific time standards and been positive contributors to the London Runner community in 2010. Four athletes will be selected for the AAP in 2011, with the formal announcement set to take place at a dinner banquet on Wednesday December 28th at the Honest Lawyer in downtown London. Interested athletes can contact Athlete Coordinator Nathan deWitt for an application form and further details. The application deadline is December 1st.
Nathan deWitt, AAP Athlete Coordinator, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
"It is great to see New Balance and Runners' Choice willing to invest in the careers of developing local athletes,” stated deWitt. “Significant funding opportunities are rare in distance running and the AAP provides athletes an opportunity to bridge these funding gaps. This funding will allow runners to focus completely on excelling at National championships, and beyond."
Increased Local Racing Opportunities
In an effort to ensure local runners have the opportunity to compete in open, all-inclusive, racing opportunities on all surfaces, the three partners agreed to create the New Balance Cross Country series. This local, low-key race series will serve to complement the existing Runners’ Choice London Distance Series (Track) and London Honda Road Race Series by offering open cross country races starting next fall.
2011 will also feature the New Balance 1,500m Night, already set to take place on the fast TD Waterhouse Stadium track on Saturday June 18th. This event will be held in conjunction with the Go the Distance road races and will be part of the annual Runners’ Choice London Distance Series (RCLDS). Over the past few years, this series has helped numerous athletes qualify for National, as well as several International, Track & Field Championships.
“The RCLDS has really taken off and produces some of the fastest times in Canada year after year,” stated London Runner Distance Club captain and mid-distance specialist Jeremy Walsh. “With New Balance coming on board to help us out, it is going to make things easier as we strive to meet our own performance goals. I’m particularly excited for the 2011 New Balance 1500m Night, and hope that we can honour our new partners with yet another fast track meet.”