Women in athletics
The Initiative: UK Athletics and Aqua-Pura Natural Mineral Water teamed up to provide support for women and girls. Christina Boxer, former International track and cross country runner, explains more about the Initiative.

Women in athletics

Women's Athletics Centres

Back in 2001 UK Athletics established a number of Aqua-Pura Woman and Girls Athletics Centres across the UK to help encourage more women and girls to take up athletics and to assist with their progress. Additional funding was also secured, via Sportsmatch, for an Aqua-Pura Outreach Programme for Women's Athletics for an additional centre in London, specific activities in various other locations, and enhanced coach education. This initiative was operational for several years.

Women and Girls Regional Centres  

  • 16 regional centres were established throughout the UK to encourage women and girls of all abilities to take up athletics. The centres deal with:
  • Talent identification
  • Support and guidance on nutrition and conditioning
  • Support and education for female coaches and volunteers to help them advance in coaching, officiating and management.
Talent Identification
Tailor-made programmes of activity from school level through to talent identification squads will be created specifically for women and girls.  

Support and Guidance
Advice on nutrition and conditioning will be provided and many centres will support women wanting to take part in local races and create women's training groups.

Female volunteers involved with athletics will be encouraged and supported. A fast tracking programme will also ensure more women advance in coaching, officiating and management. 

As part of the Aqua-Pura Women in Athletics Initiative, 15 Women and Girls Centres have been selected. These are at:

Edinburgh, Wigan, Chelmsford, Glasgow, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Bournemouth, Cardiff, Leeds, Windsor, Deeside, Stafford, Eastbourne, Belfast, Nottingham and a South London Partnership involving Bromley Council, local athletics clubs and the South Bank University. As part of the Outreach programme, a North London centre has been established at the New River Stadium, Haringey.

In all, a total of 16 Aqua-Pura Women and Girls Centres and two additional specialist centres have been created to help enhance athletics for women and their coaches. Many of the centres are working in partnerships involving local authorities, education establishments and athletics clubs.

Specialist Centres

In addition Horsham, in Sussex is now the Aqua-Pura Centre for Women's Steeplechase under the guidance of former Olympic bronze steeplechase medallist, Mark Rowland, who is the World Class National Potential Coach for the event. A three-year development plan is being put together for this new event for women.

St Martin's College in Lancaster is the centre for coach education and will be named the Aqua-Pura Training and Education Centre for Women's Athletics.


Kelly Holmes, MBE, double Olympic Gold medallist is the Aqua-Pura Women in Athletics patron.


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