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Sports clubs: Not just for students

POSTED Monday 1 July 2019

Ever wondered if you could join one of the University’s sport clubs if you aren’t a student? UoB alumni Stephen Garrett did just that, and with the help of the University of Birmingham Athletics Club has been selected to compete at the upcoming NatWest Island Games.

We spoke to Stephen about his experience of joining a University sports club as an alumni, and how it has helped him get to this extraordinary event.

What made you want to join the UoB Athletics Club, and stay on with them after graduating?

I was aware of BUAC (University of Birmingham Athletics Club) long before I started at the University of Birmingham due to their success nationally at BUCS (British Universities & Colleges Sport), and the world class athletes who continue to train alongside the squad. As a result, the University of Birmingham’s sporting ethos was a real driver, alongside its academic prestige, in terms of where I chose to go to University at the time. I knew I wanted to remain in Birmingham after graduating, and deliberately based myself close by in Harborne and now Edgbaston so I could continue to train with the group day in day out.

How do you find the club as a non-student?

The club is very welcoming and supportive even as a non-student. I still receive the same coaching and similar support as I did when I was a student. There are many athletes who continue to train with the group, including several of my friends who graduated at the same time as me. It a really inclusive group who remain in touch with one another long after graduating. When attending any regional or national competition, you are bound to bump into someone who is or was a member of the club.

How have the Athletics Club supported you in events and competitions that you’re doing off campus?

The club has supported me massively on the lead up to the Island Games. My coach Dean Miller has provided me with a great programme and race plan and continues to support me each day with my training. The club run several track sessions a week, which are key to my training. The team atmosphere, and level at which they train is second to none.

And after all that support and training, tell us a bit about your upcoming event?

The Gibraltar 2019 NatWest International Island Games XIII will be held from 6th to 12th July 2019. There is currently 24 islands which compete. The games are held every other year, and the host island gets to choose from 18 different sports. To get to compete in the games you must either be born to a member island or have lived on one at least 12 months prior to the Games. I am participating in the 1500m and 5000m. As a Manx athlete (Athlete from the Isle of Man) this is one of the highest levels of competition (only surpassed by the Commonwealth Games) and as a result, a massive personal achievement.

‘’The University of Birmingham Athletics and Cross Country Club has provided, and continues to provide me with the perfect environment to develop my running. Throughout my time as a student, I trained everyday with the male endurance squad, and received world class advice from the coaches, including Luke Gunn, Bud Baldaro and Dean Miller. The club has a real team atmosphere and ethos, and it was a real privilege to wear the red vest during my time as a student, especially at major BUCS competitions.

“The club is going from strength to strength and the depth of the squad provides a great training group for all involved, and really pushes you to be the best you can be. Their support on the lead up towards the Island Games has been invaluable, especially from my coach Dean Miller’’.



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