Great Britain Ultra Trail Runner, Meryl Cooper, supports the BRIT Ambassador family & BRIT Challenge
We are delighted that Meryl is part of our BRIT Ambassador family and championing the annual BRIT Challenge to support young adult and student mental health and fitness in Scotland.
Meryl is an ultra-trail running athlete who represented Great Britain at the 2019 Trail World Championships. In July 2021, Meryl won the Lakeland Trails 100k race which was the British Athletics Ultra-trail Championship, thus gaining the title of British Ultra-trail Champion 2021. The race also counted as the trial for the World Championships and Meryl was once again selected to represent Great Britain.
Having now returned to Scotland after living and working overseas, Meryl is focussing on training to represent Great Britain again in 2022.
"It is a pleasure to be part of the BRIT Ambassador family to support and improve young adult mental health throughout the UK. Having worked as a PE Teacher and pastoral leader for 12 years, I have seen first-hand that mental health is affecting the lives of so many students and young adults. As a health, lifestyle and running coach, I am passionate about helping others to overcome challenges with a more healthy, active and fulfilled lifestyle; I am both excited and delighted to be able to support students and staff at the University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University as they take on their BRIT Challenge.
The British Inspiration Trust’s annual BRIT Challenge is a great way to unite students and young adults wherever they are (at home or on campus) through an inspiring challenge to improve mental health and fitness. It is also a super feelgood February fundraising opportunity; BRIT are inviting every university and college team to choose a second charity to raise funds for, alongside BRIT, to support local, regional and national charities.
I hope every Scottish university, college, specialist college and Students’ Union embraces and champions the BRIT Challenge and encourages their students and staff to participate. Once a university or college has entered a team, students and staff of all abilities can then contribute distance to their team’s 2,022 mile target in many different ways; by hand-cycling, cycling, wheelchair pushing, swimming, walking, jogging, running, rowing or paddling (canoeing, kayaking or paddle-boarding).
I will do all I can to invite fellow athletes in Scotland to join our BRIT Ambassador family to promote the BRIT Challenge at universities and college of their choice, help destigmatise mental health and champion equality, diversity and inclusion. I’m thrilled that the University of St Andrews will be hosting the BRIT Regional Steering Group in Scotland and inviting representatives from every Scottish university and college to unite in support of young adult mental health and making the annual BRIT Challenge a firm fixture in Scotland’s Calendar of Events."
Great Britain Trail Runner and British Ultra-trail Champion
Meryl grew up in the countryside on her parent’s farm in Aberdeenshire and always loved being active and running around. Her love for sport continued and she pursued a career as a PE Teacher in Secondary Schools.
For the past six years, Meryl has been living and working in Dubai and Spain. She has returned to Scotland and now lives and trains near St Andrews.
Meryl’s main discipline is ultra-trail running (over hills and mountains) and she prefers distances of 65 to 100 kilometres. In training she continues to improve her 10K and half marathon times and race shorter ultra distances like 50K hill and mountain races.
She only started competitive ultra-trail running in 2018 and one of her biggest achievements was representing Great Britain at the Trail World Championships in 2019. That same year, Meryl competed at the Courmayeur Champex Chamonix and the UT Cape Town, and raced against extremely competitive and experienced trail runners.
In May 2021, Meryl placed 1st female and 2nd overall at the Ultra X 50k Scotland that was held in Loch Ness.
Meryl was crowned British Athletics Ultra-trail Champion 2021 after winning the Lakeland trails 100k race in July, which was the British Athletics Ultra-trail Championship.
In 2021, Meryl took part in the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (Courmayeur Champex Chamonix) in Chamonix, France. Meryl came 6th in a time of 14 hours, 18 minutes and 49 seconds; improving on her position of 13th in 2019.
Having won the British Ultra-trail Championship, which counted as the trial for the World Championships, Meryl was selected to represent Great Britain at the 2021 Trail World Championships in Thailand in November 2021. The World Championships were postponed to November 2022, due to the pandemic, so sections are now void. Meryl 's performances in 2021 will count towards her selection and her selection to represent Great Britain will also be based on her performances in the first half of this year.
Meryl’s ambition is to focus on her preferred distances of 65 – 100 kilometres and continue to climb up the world rankings so that she can compete for Great Britain again in 2022.
Coaching helped Meryl go from living life with stress and long working hours to establishing a much healthier balance between sport, work and other important areas of her life. Her physical health has drastically improved and she is better equipped with the internal resources required to bounce back easily from challenges and setbacks.
Meryl’s passion is helping other people to overcome challenges and live a more healthy, active and fulfilled life. Since 2019, Meryl officially started coaching as a profession, alongside her training as a GB ultra-trail runner. She is a certified Health Coach and NLP Coach and provides health, lifestyle and running coaching online and from her base in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
For more information about Meryl, please visit her website.
For more information about the GB Team, please visit the British Athletics website.