By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

April 8 - Britain's top distance runners, like Stephanie Twell (pictured), are to be given the chance to prepare for the London 2012 Olympics at altitude in Kenya and Font Romeu after UK Athletics and the London Marathon today announced a new funding funding partnership.

The London Marathon, the world's most prestigious and richest road race, have agreed to underwrite an annual investment of up to £150,000 which will be added to UK Athletics' existing significant investment into the endurance programme, which has been developed over the past year under the leadership of Ian Stewart, the 1972 Olympic 5,000 metres bronze medallist.
The funding will be used to help finance altitude training camps in Iten, Kenya and Font Romeu, France, both established altitude training centres which are proven to have physiological benefits for endurance athletes.

Font Romeu has long been the European base for world marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe, whilst Iten is host to many of the world’s leading distance athletes. 

Stewart, UK Athletics head of endurance,  said: "This is a great opportunity for British endurance running, enabling us to access altitude training for almost 12 months of the year and will be the first time British endurance has been able to do this which makes it a major step forward for us.

"Our current junior athletes and the next generation will be able to take advantage of this at a very early stage in their careers which will be most beneficial for their future success.

"I’d like to thank London Marathon for their vision and partnership in this project.”

Dave Bedford, the former world record holder for the 10,000m who is now the race director of the London Marathon, said: "One of the London Marathon’s founding aims was to help improve the overall standard and status of British endurance running.

"Over the years it has provided the stage for some outstanding performances from British athletes such as Paula Radcliffe and others.

"We welcome this opportunity to provide further help to British endurance running by funding altitude training facilities for Britain’s current and future world class athletes."

There has not been a British male winner of the London Marathon since Eamonn Martin in 1993 and Niels de Vos, the chief executive of UK Athletics, hopes that the new partnership will help raise standards.

He said: "The mutual expertise in endurance running will form a successful partnership and make a significant impact on endurance running by giving British athletes access to a programme perhaps unrivalled in Europe.

"The London Marathon’s involvement in projects such as this and the laying of Olympic track at the UKA National Performance centre at Lee Valley shows their commitment to the sport."

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