Karen Hancock


Karen Hancock

Karen Hancock


UKA Level 3 (endurance, children in athletics)

Experience and Achievements

Karen has been a runner since 1966 and a running coach since 1996, first with City of Edinburgh Athletics club. She started coaching with Serpentine after moving to London and joining the club in 2003.  She set up the club’s first regular hill training sessions on Saturday mornings in Greenwich Park in 2004, which she continued to lead until 2020. She also ran Tuesday evening threshold sessions at the Dome from 2007 to 2014. Karen qualified as a Level 3 Endurance Performance coach in 2007. In 2023 she obtained her PhD from Loughborough University on the topic of healthy ageing. She has helped many runners reach their goals, particularly at the marathon distance.

As a runner, Karen has represented Scotland in the Home Nations Veterans Cross Country matches; was Scottish W35 800m and 3,000m champion in 1989; 1st W45 (out of 987) at the 2005 London marathon in 3:07:46; and 3rd W55 at the 2010 London marathon in 3:18:08. She also set a British W50 record for 20 miles at the Bramley 20 mile race in 2006 in 2:15:08. She has run 7 marathons, ranging from 3:22 to 3:03. In early 2024 parkrun took the decision to scrap many of the statistics it had previously published without warning. One of the consequences was that age group course records were permanently deleted. Until then, Karen had been the W60 or W65 course record holder at a number of UK and European parkruns. Karen regularly achieves age-gradings of 80% plus at a variety of distances when she races.


Interests and Activities

Karen provides personalised training advice to individuals that is rooted in scientific research evidence, her own lived experience as a runner and years of coaching practice. She specialises in marathon training, advice on overcoming psychological barriers to training and competition, and balancing work, life and training. She has particular expertise in the health and fitness of veteran athletes.


Karen was a consultant coach for the Rough Guide to Running (Rough Guides, October 2007).

She has published academic articles on a variety of topics.

Involvement with Serpentine

Karen established Saturday morning hill sessions in Greenwich in 2004 – 2020. She was the running coach at the Serpentine annual Lanzarote training camp from 2005 to 2009 and oversaw the coaching programme for the 2024 trip. Karen was awarded Life Membership of Serpentine Running Club for her services to coaching in 2013.