A team of Olympic hopefuls will use Stockport as their training base as they try to get to Rio this summer.
Team New Balance, under coach and Stockport althlete Steve Vernon, has joined forces with Life Leisure, which runs 13 sports and leisure centres across Stockport, to make sure its eight long-distance runners have access to the very best equipment and facilities.
Following the athletics training model so successful in the United States, New Balance, a world leading sports brand with UK headquarters in Warrington, is supporting an elite group of endurance athletes.
Provided with accommodation, private medical and physiological support, professional coaching and access to warm-weather and altitude training camps, the athletes are able to focus their attention on attaining international medals.
The team has its sights firmly set on Olympic success, both at Rio this year and Tokyo in 2020.
The runners, including Stockport native Ross Millington, have access to all of Life Leisure’s training facilities.
The not-for-profit trust has made significant investments over recent years to ensure that people across Stockport are able to access the latest gym and leisure equipment the industry has to offer.
That equipment includes an AlterG anti-gravity treadmill, usually only available at exclusive health clubs and used by some of the world’s top athletes.
Steve Vernon said: “I grew up in Stockport so I knew its potential as a great base for our team.
“Not only does it have great transport links and access to excellent running locations like the Peak District, it can now boast top-of-the-range sports facilities thanks to Life Leisure.
“Access to equipment like the AlterG machine has been vital for our athletes when recovering from injury. It’s clear to see the investment that’s gone into making the Life Leisure centres worthy of elite athletes, while still being friendly and welcoming to the general public.”
Life Leisure chief executive Malcolm McPhail added: “Having Team New Balance training at our facilities is a ringing endorsement of the quality of the spaces and equipment.
“We introduced machines like the AlterG to Avondale to help people who were overweight or injured take up exercise again, but it’s great to see that it’s also attracting elite athletes through our doors.
“We all wish the team the best of luck for the forthcoming Olympic qualifiers.”