While running a marathon in is an admirable feat for anyone, inspiring the next generation of local athletes is equally as laudable.

That’s what a primary school teacher from Liverpool has been doing, while preparing to run the London Marathon in April

James Ellis, coaches at Kirkby Milers Athletics Club, and has been for the last five years. He spoke to Mersey Sport Live about how he got involved in his local club.  He said: “It initially began as I was taking the boy I look after, who’s 12, down to train. I was jumping in and helping out the head coach there and he said if I was going to come down and do that every week anyway, the club would pay for me to go away for the weekend.”

Ellis received a Coaching Assistant qualification after a training course at LJMU and aims to create a fun and inclusive environment in his training sessions, even getting parents involved. He said:” We welcome everybody, there’s no elitism, no times you need to hit before you train with us, anyone can come along, so it works for everybody.”

“I always encourage them [the parents]. For example, if you had a little one you brought up to the track, I would say to you, do want to bring your trainers next week? I would make the session work for them all. It’s quite a fun environment.”

Ellis has experience working with children in his professional life as a schoolteacher and has brought some of methods from the classroom onto the running track. He said: “I think I take a lot of the elements of teaching to the training. So, it’s just about building relationships with the children and the children in my class are awesome. Through the school I’ve probably taken upwards of 30 children to the club. Some of them have gone on to represent the county.”

When he’s not inspiring the next generation of young runner he enjoys the gruelling 42km jaunts himself, setting a remarkable personal best at the London Marathon last year. He  has qualified for the event this year without the need for the ballot after running an exceptional 2:54:58 time last year.

That personal best time was good enough for qualification. He said: “I’m 40 now. It’s called ‘good for age’. So, they have set times for certain age groups and if you beat that time you can apply to good for age and you’re very likely to get a place. So, I applied through that and got in.”

It’s not all about the Marathon. Ellis also competes in track and field. He said: “I run five days a week, I race and do athletics events. I do the 1,500m or the triple jump. I’ll race 5ks, 10ks and half marathons and I’ve done about 15 to 20 marathons as well.”

On April 21st Ellis is hoping to cross the finish line on the world-famous Mall, beating his time from last year, and with another 26 miles of inspiration and teaching to pass on to the next generation.

Kirkby Milers Athletic Club can be found here: https://www.kirkbymilers.co.uk/

Listen to a clip from James’ interview here: