Six young athletes, one team that will redefine the next generation of running. Meet On Athletics Club Europe: Our brand-new track team for up-and-coming runners who dare to Dream On.
Zürich, Switzerland – Wednesday, May 4th: The first chapter of On’s mission to shake up the world of competitive running began in Boulder, Colorado in August 2020. Eleven international athletes came together under to guidance of three-time US Olympian and running legend Dathan Ritzenhein to form the On Athletics Club (OAC), On’s first-ever track team made up of elite runners from all over the globe.
Now, the next chapter of this journey has begun – the On Athletics Club Europe is here. The vision: finding the next generation of European runners and supporting the young athletes to become the next World Champions and Olympic medal winners.
OAC Europe, On’s youngest track team yet, will focus on developmental athletes between 19 and 23 years of age and offer the full professionalism of an elite track team: innovative coaching, medical and physio support, top class housing and training facilities and a balanced scheduled of high-altitude base training and different training camps throughout the year.
“On Athletics Club Europe is the next step in our journey to partner with the world’s best athletes to push human limits, perform on the highest stages and inspire everyone to move,” says Olivier Bernhard, On Co-Founder. “I know from my personal experience as an athlete how crucial it is to find the right support and a good team early in your career. With OAC Europe, we aim at giving young athletes with a big potential the little extra push to make it to the starting line of the big races in the future.”
First signings for OAC Europe include UK 2020 National Champion George Mills, German U-20 champion Fabiane Meyer, double Dutch Junior Champion Noah Baltus, the runner-up of the British U23 Championships, Cari Hughes, four-time Swiss Champion Tom Elmer and Spanish Indoor Champion Marta Garcia.
The team will be led by renowned coach Thomas Dreissigacker. The German sports scientist brings extensive experience from his tenure as German National Coach Diagnostics (2012-2016) and worked with the best young German female middle distance runners from 2014 – 2016. In 2017, he was called up to be the German National Head Coach for Distance Running. Before joining OAC, he led the federal training base in Leipzig.
“After several years as head coach and federal base coach for the German athletics federation, I welcomed the chance to become the Head Coach for OAC Europe because it is the first real professional middle- and long-distance team in Europe. The professional setup enables us to get the best out of the athletes in practice and all other areas. In the short term, we would like to establish the team on the European running scene, mid and long-term, we aim to develop world class athletes, too”, Dreissigacker says.
True to a brand born in the Swiss Alps, the young runners will benefit of a high-altitude base in St. Moritz where the team will enjoy the beautiful running trails, Alpine nature, and a 1.800 m elevation from June to October. The team’s winter base will be Berlin/Leipzig, a central European location with excellent training facilities and trails for running. Winter high-altitude camps are planned in South Africa, a popular training destination for the world’s top runners.
Cooperation with the top athletes from OAC Boulder is at the heart of the programme. The global coaching philosophy and direction is set by Coach Ritzenhein and top performers of the team will graduate to OAC Boulder and train with the likes of Hellen Obiri (KEN), Joe Klecker (USA), Alicia Monson (USA), Oliver Hoare, (AUS) and Geordie Beamish (NZL).
On is enabling athletes to run on clouds from the tracks to the trails but the focus of its engagement in high-performance running is on mid- and long-distance track racing and long distances (marathon & half-marathon) on the road. OAC Europe’s focus lies on the 1,500-metre distance.
Over the next year, the OAC Europe team will have their sights set on different individual goals like national championships, the European Championships in Munich in August, or the World Championships in Eugene in July. The mission for OAC remains to develop and support a group of talented and disciplined individuals in their quest to become champions in their sport.
OAC Europe Founding Member Athletes:
Noah Baltus (NED)
Date of Birth: 3rd of February 2002
2021 Dutch U20 Champion
3:41 1,500m PB
Tom Elmer (SUI)
Date of Birth: 1st of April 1997
3x National Outdoor Champion
3x National Indoor Champion
3:37 1,500m PB
Cari Hughes (GBR)
Date of Birth: 15th of March 1999
2021 2nd UK U23 Championships
4:16 1,500m PB
Marta Garcia (ESP)
Date of Birth: 1st of January 1998
2021 Spanish Indoor Champion
4:08 1,500m PB
Fabiane Meyer (GER)
Date of Birth: 29th of November 2002
2020 & 2021 German 1,500 U20 Champion
4:18 1,500m PB
George Mills (GBR)
Date of Birth: 12th of May 1999
2020 National Indoor Champion 1500m
2020 National Outdoor Champion 1500m
3:36 1,500m PB
On was born in the Swiss Alps with one goal: to revolutionize the sensation of running by empowering all to run on clouds. Twelve years after market launch, On delivers industry-disrupting innovation in premium footwear, apparel, and accessories for high-performance running, outdoor, and all-day activities. Fuelled by customer recommendation, On’s award-winning CloudTec® innovation, purposeful design, and groundbreaking strides in sportswear’s circular economy have attracted a fast-growing global fan base — inspiring humans to explore, discover and dream on.
On is present in more than 60 countries globally and engages with a digital community on www.on-running.com.