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Olympic star Dame Kelly Holmes at Warwick to work with leading young middle distance athletes

Double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes will be visiting the University of Warwick this month to work with 21 talented young middle distance athletes who are part of her ‘On Camp with Kelly’ mentoring and education initiative, supported by Aviva. 

An ‘On Camp with Kelly’ get-together will take place at the University on the weekend of 11-12 September to help the young athletes take their first steps on the athletics coaching pathway. On Sunday 12 September Dame Kelly will be on the Gibbet Hill campus to take part in the courses, which are delivered by England Athletics. 

Nine of the athletes will complete the new Coaching Assistant course which qualifies them to assist in the delivery of training sessions under the supervision of a UKA accredited coach. The other 12 athletes will take part in the Leadership in Running Fitness course which is designed to enable them to deliver fun and safe sessions to multi-ability running groups and give advice and support to the new runner as well as assist those who want to progress. 

Participants are expected to include U23 athlete Claire Tarplee from Solihull and three athletes who study at Birmingham University – Lucy Dowsett, Katie Knowles and Chris Smith.  Two members of University of Warwick Fitness Development staff will also take part in the Leadership in Running Fitness course.  With 21 of the participants being female, ‘On Camp with Kelly’ is also contributing towards UKA and England Athletics’ targets of increasing the number of females in the coaching workforce. 

Dame Kelly said: “‘On Camp with Kelly’ is about the athletes’ personal development as well as assisting them in their competitive athletics careers.  Giving the athletes the opportunity to achieve coaching qualifications enables them to work with young athletes and pass on their knowledge to the next generation as well as setting them up for a possible career in coaching when their competitive careers are over.” 

Fourteen ‘On Camp with Kelly’ athletes completed the Coaching Assistant course in March and feedback was very positive.  Some of those have already put their skills into practice by assisting in the delivery of a coaching session for 65 young athletes in Dame Kelly’s home town of Tonbridge in Kent in July. 

Dame Kelly began her ‘On Camp with Kelly’ mentoring and education initiative in 2004, with the support of Aviva, as she wanted to help the next generation of British middle distance athletes to fulfil their potential.  Eight athletes were selected by Kelly to take part in the first education and training camp in South Africa in autumn 2004 and since then the initiative has gone from strength to strength and there are now 60 athletes, including 14 young male athletes, who are part of the initiative. 

For more information about ‘On Camp with Kelly’ and latest news and updates go to A range of UKA coaching and leadership courses, as well as coach development opportunities, are delivered by England Athletics. For more information on how you can get involved visit


Notes to Editors 

Dame Kelly Holmes will be available for interview on Sunday 12 September. If any members of the press would like to attend, please contact Emily Lewis  

‘On Camp with Kelly’ ‘On Camp with Kelly’ (OCWK) was started by double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes in January 2004 and with support and sponsorship from Aviva has grown from strength to strength. Over 60 athletes have been involved in the initiative to date.  Dame Kelly set up OCWK because she wanted to help talented young female middle distance athletes to achieve their dreams and to retain them in the sport.  Her vision of OCWK was that it should be an educational development programme so that the athletes who are part of it gain life experiences as well as learn what it takes to become a world class athlete.  Since 2008 15 talented young male athletes have also been involved in the initiative. Eight girls were given the opportunity to participate in the first OCWK camp in South Africa in October 2004, funded by Aviva, and since then there have been regular Get-Togethers, a training camp in Spain and camps in Melbourne during the 2006 Commonwealth Games and at the GB Team Preparation Camp in Portugal and the IAAF World Championships in Berlin in 2009.  OCWK athletes also have the opportunity to race in international meetings across the UK and Europe and benefit from mentoring from Dame Kelly as well as medical and financial support funded by Aviva. For more information about ‘On Camp with Kelly’ visit 

About Aviva Aviva are proud to have been the No. 1 sponsor of UKA since 1999 and are committed to developing the sport at every level, from playground to podium.  In 2010 we will have hosted six world class athletics events on home soil and have helped and supported the Aviva GB & NI junior, senior and disability teams as they prepare for all major events and championships.  Through the Aviva UKA Academy, it is anticipated that by 2012 we will have given every child in the UK the opportunity to get involved in athletics.  Aviva is the world’s fifth largest* insurance group, serving 50 million customers across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific.  We are the largest insurance services provider in the UK and one of the leading providers of Life and Pension products in Europe.  For more information on our athletics sponsorship please visit

For more information about Aviva’s support of athletics please contact Steph Burke at Hill & Knowlton on 0207 413 3000 or