Virgin Money London Marathon Young Athlete Camp

Following his success in winning the Junior Boys 1500m at the English Schools Championships, Max Pearson received an invitation to attend the Virgin Money London Marathon Young Athlete Camp. This is a five day residential camp hosted by St Mary’s University, Twickenham.

In August, Max joined 84 other selected young athletes at St Mary’s for a week of training and workshops.  A typical day included a training session together with a number of workshop sessions which included an introduction to the Steeplechase, circuit and strength training, cooking and nutrition.

Mick Woods, coach to Steph Twell, Emelia Gorecha amongst others, had planned a comprehensive training programme which proved challenging for many athletes. Max, once recovered from a slight knock sustained prior to the camp, went from strength to strength. The track session proving to be particularly intense but a favourite.

Max relished the challenge of mastering the water jump during the introduction to the steeplechase; possible an event to explore in the future. The circuit session planned by James Brewer, who is based at St Mary’s, tested muscle groups not normally called upon and some young athletes were tested to their limits. For some reason, Max particularly enjoyed the experience! Cooking enabled Max to demonstrate talents other than running.

During the evenings a number of elite athletes joined the camp to talk with the youngsters. Matt Centrowitz, training partner of Galen Rupp and Mo Farah, shared his experiences of training and racing which proved both entertaining and informative. Andy Veron, Jenny Meadows and coach Trevor Painter also talked about their careers including highs and lows. Mo Farah entertained all with his ice-bucket challenge.

I was lucky to attend with Max as his coach and was able to experience first hand the benefits that accrue from attending such a camp. Max not only had the opportunity to explore different aspects of developing as an athlete but also to live and train with athletes who are normally rivals in Championship meets.

By Peter Venus

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