Urban Bettag, Running Coach


Running Coach Urban

Helping out at the Palm 100 mile relay

“Urban is a highly experience and knowledgeable endurance coach, who’s expertise need to be passed on. He has a wealth of practical coaching experience at beginners and club standard runners.”, Neville Taylor, National Coach Mentor for Endurance Coaches / South of England.

UK Athletics Level 3 Performance Coach (Endurance – Middle/Long Distance)

UK Athletics Level 2 Athletics Coach (Run, Jump and Throw)

UK Athletics Level 1 Coaching Assistant

Note: A running or athletics coach who holds a current UKA pass and licence in the discipline being coached is automatically provided with public liability insurance cover which applies while involved in “athletics activities”. UKA coaching license holders have undertaken an enhanced CRB check.

Personal Sports Background

Running Coach Urban

3000m individual pursuit county championships

Urban started at the age of 14 as a youth/junior cyclist competing on the road and track, winning county medals in the 3000m individual and team pursuit. After a serious accident in a road race at the age of 18 he stopped cycling and didn’t pursue any sport for a number of years. In 2002, a friend introduced him to jogging. Since then his running has progressed and he has taken more than one hour off his marathon time. He especially enjoys the 3000m/5000m on the track as well as the big city marathons. Besides running, Urban has ventured into the sport of triathlon. Amongst others, he has finished the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon three times.

Professional Background

Urban studied Computer Science at the University of Karlsruhe, Germany and Business Administration at the Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, England. Currently, he is working for a leading integrated energy company and is involved in major business transformation programmes. Within his subject area, Urban demonstrated thought leadership by publishing papers, attending conferences and networking across Europe/US.

Coaching History

  • 2006 Started coaching at the Serpentine RC
  • 2007 UK Level 1 Coach, continue to assist at track sessions
  • 2008 UK Level 2 Coach, leading the 5k/10k improvers group at Battersea Park
  • 2009 UK Level 3 Coach, starting the 5k/10k performance group
  • 2009 Joined the England Athletics Area Coaching Mentoring programme
  • 2011 Joined the England Athletics National Coaching Development programme (Associate)
  • 2011 European Endurance Coaching Conference
  • 2012 London 2012 Games Maker for the Triathlon
  • 2013 England Athletics Flying Coach
  • 2013 England Athletics National Coaching Development programme (Full Member)
  • 2014 Run England Workshops and Coach Mentoring
  • 2015 Visiting Iten, Kenya – High Altitude Training Camp
  • 2015 Coach Development & Flying Coach visit Dagenham 88 Runners
  • 2016 Endurance Coach Mornington Chasers
  • 2017 Dr. Jack Daniels VDOT O2 Certified Coach
  • 2017 Lydiard Foundation Level 1 + 2 Certified Coach
  • 2018 England Athletics Club Run Programme Coach

Coaching Philosophy

Urban’s approach to coaching is very much athlete-centred. Too often athletes end up putting their running club’s goal ahead of their very own goals. In most cases this results in over racing, injuries and sub optimal performances. In order to sustain the athlete’s motivation and maximise athletic potential our view is that the athlete’s individual needs and demands are most important.

Running Coach Urban

Class of 2012 – Tuesday Night Tracksters at Battersea Park

As a coach Urban guides athletes to the very best by adopting a long term performance development approach. This is not done by enforcing a fixed and one-size-fits all training programme against the athlete, rather than as a result of a two-way conversation. He balances the physical, technical, psychological and tactical fitness components in the athlete’s training programme, which will lead to a more effective training. Besides the technical aspect of athletics Urban uses Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) techniques to build the athlete’s confidence and unlock the athlete’s full potential and ultimately help them to maximise their perform.

Coaching Accomplishments

It’s very difficult to single out particular highlights or achievements. During the last 10 years Coach Urban supervised the training of hundreds of male and female distance runners. In most cases Coach Urban helped to transition the athletes from being ‘average’ to ‘good’ club standard runner and in a couple of instances from ‘good’ club standard runner to a ‘regional/national-level’ athlete. Regardless of the standard most athletes have improved, have become more knowledgeable about running, achieved their goals and managed to set PBs.

  • Top 10 Finisher in ING Amsterdam Women Marathon.
  • Medal winners at county and regional level – indoor, XC, road, relays, track and masters.
  • Winners of track, road and XC races
  • Coach for the Serpentine Lanzarote Camp.
  • Serpentine Running Club Coach for 5k/10k improvers.
  • Coaching Coordinator and Committee member
  • Coach Development and Mentoring
  • England Athletics LCDP
  • Organised talks, seminar and training runs
  • Organised Sprints and Jumps introduction sessions
  • England Athletics NCDP
  • Coach of Middle and Long Distance Performance Group
  • Coach of Corporate Running Teams
  • Multiple Flying Coach Visits
  • Run England Coaching Sessions
  • England Athletic Networks
  • Hundreds of PBs during last 10 years

Coach Urban has not only been active at the top end of the sport, but also guided many recreational runners through their first 10k, half marathon or marathon.

Running Coach Urban

Dave Morgan, Reuben Woodruff, Pau Herrero

Coaching Influences & Mentors

Running Coach Urban

Coach Urban and Geoffrey Mutai, winner & CR holder 2011 New York City Marathon

Urban has met many elite endurance athletes (Haile Gebrselassie, Patrick Makau, Mizuki Noguchi, Geoffrey Mutai, Robert Cheriyot, Ryan Hall, Stefano Baldini, Fabiano Joseph, Lornah Kiplagat, Deratu Tulu, Meb Keflezighi, Mo Farah, Jon Brown, Luc Krotwaar, Marilson Gomez dos Santos, Dick Beardsley, Grete Waitz, Richard Nerurka etc.)  and coaches from Kenya (John Ngugi, Brother Colm O’Connell), Ethiopia (Yilma Berta), USA (Jack Daniels, Brad Hudson, Bill Squires, Terrence Mahon), Italy (Luciano Gigliotti), Great Britain (David Sunderland, Bud Baldaro, Martin Rush, George Gandy, Frank Horwill, Bruce Tulloh, Geoff Williams, Mick Woods, Neville Taylor) and Japan (Nobby Hashizume). He shows a great interest in their long term development, training and lifestyle. In addition, Urban has developed a network of athletes, coaches and technical advisors thoughout the years and enjoys exchanging and discussing the latest developments in athletics and distance running in particular.

In the world of running there are many great coaches achieving phenomenal performances with their athletes. However, the ones listed below are the ones who influenced Urban’s thinking on coaching athletes the most:

Arthur Lydiard, Bill Bowerman, Kassa Tadesse, Toby Tanser, Brother Colm O’Connell, Brad Hudson, Kevin Hanson, Renato Canova, Pieter Langerhorst, Jay Johnson, Jack Daniels, Vern Gambetta, Jan Fitschen, Peter Coe, Bruce Tulloh, Lorraine Moller, Harry Wilson, Geoff Williams, David Sunderland, Neville Taylor, Stella Bandu, Bud Baldaro, Martin Rush, David Chalfen.

Personal Bests

Running Coach Urban

Coach Urban raising awareness for Shoe4Africa (here in Iceland).

  • 5k 15:59
  • 10k 33:56
  • Half 1:16:41
  • Marathon 2:43:39

Competed in all world marathon major marathons – London (1x), New York City (10x), Boston (1x), Chicago (1x), Berlin (3x), Fukuoka (1x), Rotterdam (1x). Other marathons, Copenhagen and Munich.

Triathlons, finished 3x Escape from Alcatraz, San Francisco and IRONMAN 70.3 Santa Cruz, California.

Please visit the PowerOf10 web site for more detailed information on the type of athletes Urban coaches.

Urban Bettag MBA