GB endurance running coach to dozens of international athletes has died
Lynsey Sharp, Charlene Thomas and Bud Baldaro are among those to have paid tribute to endurance running coach Dave Sunderland, who died on Sunday.
During his career, Sunderland coached numerous medallists at major games, including former world indoor 800m record holder Jane Colebrook and dozens of other internationals such as Paul Davies-Hale and Spencer Duval.
Sharp, who Sunderland guided to the 2012 European 800m title, took to Twitter to say how she will be “forever grateful”.
“So devastated to hear of the passing of the man who made me an Olympian and European champion,” she said.
Thomas, who won the UK Indoor 3000m title in Sheffield this month, tweeted: “Devastated that Dave Sunderland has passed away. Massive support to many athletes & coaches.”
Baldaro, a fellow endurance running coach, emailed AW to say: “He was an absolute rock in the coaching endurance world. Totally passionate about the sport he did so, so much at all levels.”
Baldaro added: “Dave was a man of strong opinions and forceful views with a great sense of justice and fairness in how athletes and coaches should be treated. He was also a wonderful friend. Beneath his superficially gruff exterior he was a loyal, caring, sensitive friend, or mate – a word he loved to use – nothing was ever too much trouble for him no matter how busy he was. Dave was a man amongst men and the athletics world mourns his passing.”
A founder member of Cannock & Stafford AC, Sunderland went on to become the England Athletics national coach mentor for endurance and authored two coaching books and numerous coaching articles – some of which were published in AW – as well as being a senior lecturer for the IAAF and part of the British Milers’ Club set-up.
Toni Minichiello, coach to Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill, was among other coaches to pay tribute, tweeting: “Sad to hear of Dave Sunderland’s passing. An honest, straight talking man with integrity, there are few in athletics, now there’s one less.”
Tim Brennan, chairman of the BMC, added: “Dave Sunderland has been a great supporter and a crucial part of the British Milers’ Club. He was uniquely qualified for his role in producing the BMC newsletter, which is a fantastic source of information, as he was a very respected coach and was able to pull everything together for the publication. He also made a huge contribution to the coaching seminars. He was not only a great coach but also a great coach who could communicate.”
Brennan added: “We were so pleased that we awarded him the Lifetime Coaching Award at the European Coaching Conference recently and I know he was extremely pleased to receive that in front of his peers – he really deserved it. We are deeply shocked and saddened by his death and our thoughts go to his family.”
Sunderland died following complications after surgery in January and he leaves a wife Aline and daughter Alison.