Athletics & XC
University of Birmingham Athletics & Cross-Country Club provides a number of sessions that are included as part of its membership. Club members have access to state-of-the-art facilities and expert staff. Our club caters for individuals who are new to the sport, through to international athletes.
The club competes in all BUCS competitions. This includes the annual cross-country championships, as well as both indoor and outdoor track & field championships. Athletes also have the opportunity to represent the university at multiple Inter-Varsity indoor meetings as well as our very own Summer Open series. Various regional competitions also take place throughout the season.
There are a variety of group training sessions a week, with access to additional support including strength and conditioning and circuits. Members are also encouraged to take advantage of all the free sports club sessions at the Sport & Fitness club. Sessions include foot drills, yoga and spinning.
We are the largest sports club on campus, reaching over 300 members. This club offers the opportunity to make amazing friends for life, both on and off the track. Social events include BUCS cross-country championships, which for many athletes is an experience of a lifetime. Multiple training weekend and camps also take place throughout the year, as well as the formidable North v South ‘champions of all champions’ football match. Our club also has a long-standing exchange programme with 4 of the prestigious Ivy League Universities.
How to join the club
To find out more about how to get involved with the club, please use the red ‘contact us’ button to contact the club directly, or message them on any of their social media pages using the links provided.
We are proud to have no entry requirements or trials and welcome all members. The membership price is £117 for students and £50 for an associate member.
Please note that on top of the club fee there is a £16 fee that covers personal accident insurance when training or competing for the University, access to free cross-training sessions such as circuits and yoga, as well as a contribution to the costs of affiliation to various national governing bodies. This fee is only payable once so if you did decide to join a second club then you would not need to pay a second fee.
Head Coach: Luke Gunn
Club Captain: George Loxton
Meet the coaches
Luke Gunn (email@example.com)
Luke was a GB International runner on the track, cross-country and road during a junior and senior career that spanned 2 decades. Highlights include 4 National Senior UK Titles at the 3,000m Steeplechase and 3 Commonwealth Games finals.
Luke captained the University of Birmingham Athletics Club as an undergraduate and later studied at the Florida State University on a sports scholarship, where he was once again elected a team captain, which won the NCAA team track championship.
From 2010, Luke began coaching alongside his own running and has since coached an array of athletes from 800m-Marathon distances, collecting no fewer than 5 BUCS Individual Gold medals and numerous age-group national medals and GB internationals. Previously, Luke has held the roles of Sports Scholarship Manager at the University of Birmingham and University Athletic Coordinator for England Athletics.
As a coach Luke has a keen eye for technical running development, coupled with a passion for the transitional student-athlete development from promising juniors through to successful senior athletes.
JUMPS AND COMBINED EVENTS
Jade Surman (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Jade a former International Heptathlete, has now been coaching at the University for 5 years. She has produced multiple BUCS Medallists and England Junior and Senior representatives.
Jade is has been team manager for both England Teams and at the World University Games. Jade is a point-of-contact for the British Athletics Talent Hub and is also lead coach for the Youth Talent Programme.
Jade leads on recruitment for power-based athletes to the University, across all sprints, jumps and throws events.
Julian Reid (email@example.com)
Julian is a British athlete who competes in the long jump and triple jump. He attended Texas A&M University in the United States where he was a 3 -time medallist in the NCAA championships from 2009-2011. He is a 4-time British champion and won a bronze medal at the European Outdoor Championships in the triple jump in 2016.
Julian has been coaching since 2014 and began to aid with delivering jumps sessions to our athletes since 2017, whilst still competing at an elite level.
SPRINTS AND HURDLES
Dominic McNeillis (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dominic has been coaching at the University for 4 years, after many successful years at local club Halesowen AC. Dominic is fully UKA qualified in Sprints, Jumps and Combined Events making him a very versatile and highly technically knowledgable; coaching junior internationals across all the disciplines.
Dominic was also a member of the initial National Coaching Development Programme (NCDP) cohort.
Mike was a 100/200m runner and is a graduate of University of Birmingham. He raced both Linford Christie and Alan Wells in his time, although (in his own words) it’s doubtful that either of GB’s Olympic champions noted his presence.
Mike began his coaching journey in 2003 coaching his daughter, a long jumper and sprinter. From here he started to coach other athletes and has been coaching sprints from 60-400m, hurdles and horizontal jumps.
Mike has coached national medallists and junior internationals at all sprint distances including relays, as well as sprint hurdles and long jump, and Senior Internationals at 100H and 400m. His underpinning philosophy is to try to help each athlete achieve whatever their individual capabilities will allow, while balancing this with other aspects of their life such as studies, work and family.
Lead Coach – Bud Buldaro (email@example.com)
Bud Baldaro has been at the heart of endurance coaching in the UK for many years, having started coaching at University of Birmingham back in 2005.
An esteemed figure and beloved by many, his credentials speak for themselves – with countless athletes having achieved national, and international honours under his guidance over the years.
He backs this up with infectious positivity and warmth, and a welcoming attitude to athletes of all abilities.
Dean Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dean is a Paralympian from London 2012 and European medallist over 1500m (T37). Dean is an alumnus from Birmingham, who moved into coaching 3 years ago with immediate success. Dean works with the British Athletics Para-
Futures programme, as well as being a point-of-contact for the Talent Hub endurance athletes.
Dean also leads on the Street2Stadium initiative from British Para-Athletics, as well as being lead coach for the Youth Talent Programme.
Dean is currently on a UKSport Coaching National Programme and is the lead recruitment coordinator for the University of Birmingham.
Sally Straw (email@example.com)
Sally has been at hand as an assistant coach over many years at the club, with her daughter Becky successfully coming through the system and gaining international representation during her time at Birmingham.
Now an established part of the set-up, Sally has been instrumental in many of the club’s successes in recent years, particularly on the girls side.
Jan Aarre (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Jan has led the University’s Throws Group for 4 years, covering all events from Shot Put, Discus, Hammer and Javelin. Before this Jan was a lead coach at local Birchfield Harriers, working primarily with their junior throwers with great success.
Jan is a member of the England Athletics Mentoring Scheme with National Throws coaches.
Training times & venues
The Athletics Track is located on Edgbaston Park Road next to the Tennis Courts accommodation.
Monday: 6-7pm Tempo run at Cannon Hill Park and 6pm power session at the track
Tuesday: 3-6pm Easy run for everyone and drills at the track
Wednesday: 3pm Endurance grass session and 2-4pm or 6:30-8pm power track session
Thursday: 3-6pm Easy run for everyone and drills at the track
Saturday: 10:30am Session or race for everyone and 10am power session at the track
Sunday: 9:30am Long run for everyone from the Sports & Fitness centre
Successes and achievements
The University of Birmingham was the first university to achieve an England Athletics Gold Standard charter mark.
2019-20 Great Britain selection
Issy Boffey 400m
Laura Zialor HJ
Jake Porter 60mH
Cesca Brint 800m
4x200m Women’s Relay Team
Men’s Cross Country Long Race Team
Women’s Cross Country Short Race Team
Tom Keen 1500m
Kate O’Neill Cross Country Short Race
Performance sport & scholarships
The University of Birmingham sport’s performance centre offers specialist sport science and medicine support for developing athletic performance. Our dedicated team of experts work closely with athletes to create an integrated training and support plan which benefits from the University’s leading sport science research.
The Performance Centre has state-of-the-art equipment including an AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill and a dedicated performance gym within the sports centre.
The University of Birmingham Sport scholarship programme supports around 150 athletes every year who are competing nationally or internationally across a range of sports. The program is designed to be a holistic approach which nurtures talent into performance.
University of Birmingham Cool Runnings is a group created for social running without the pressure of training with the University’s Athletics Club. Cool Runnings’ focus is on participation running in a pressure-free environment. Helping you pursue your passion for Running at your pace.
Cool Runnings Training sessions cater to all abilities, and can be as competitive or casual as you like. Whether you’ve never run before, or you’re aiming for a half-marathon or even more; BUAC Cool Runnings is the perfect club for you. Participation, improvement and enjoyment are at the heart of everything we do.
Partnered with Cool Runnings, collectively the Athletics and Cross Country club is the largest and most successful club at the University of Birmingham. In the last six years, the club have won the men’s and women’s BUCS Cross Country Championships twice, as well as medalling consistently in that time.
The club is consistently top five at BUCS Indoors and Outdoors, illustrating their prowess on the track. At BUCS Indoors 2020, the club secured a second place finish overall.
In 2018-19, the club won four awards, from being shortlisted for six, at the University’s annual Sports Awards, for Club of the Year (Athletics & Cool Runnings), Outstanding Contribution (Josh Mars), Coach of the Year (Luke Gunn) and Sports Personality of the Year (Mari Smith); and in 2019-20 was nominated for three awards, for Team of the Year (BUCS Indoors Team), Volunteer of the Year (Guy Perkins) and Sports Personality of the Year (Issy Boffey).
GB selections in 2019-20: Amelia Quirk, Saskia Millard, James Gormley, Joe Hudson
Notable current scholars and alumni
**Jonny Davies (3000m British Indoor Champion 2020)
**Mark Pearce (3000m steeplechase silver medal 2020)
**Mari Smith (800m British Indoor champion 2020)
*Sarah MacDonald (1500m semi-finalist at Doha World Champs 2019)
*Chris McAlister (400m hurdles semi-finalist at Doha World Champs 2019)
*Gemma Bridge (5000m walk British champion 2020)
Hannah England (1500m world champs silver medallist 2011)
Sara Treacy (Rio 2016 Olympian 3000m steeplechase)
Dean Miller (London 2012 Paralympian 1500m – now coach)
Luke Gunn (4 time British 3000m steeplechase champion – now head of athletics)
Louise Hazel (London 2012 Olympian Heptathlon and Commonwealth Games Heptathlon Champion 2010)
**Still competing and training in Birmingham