Hannah England and Luke Gunn: The happy couple running a family

The newly-weds, who appear for GB at the Euro Teams tomorrow, talk about competing as a duo

Friends like to call them the Posh and Becks of the track but, in truth, Hannah England and Luke Gunn could not be further removed from the Beckhams.

The understated pair would rather be doing a crossword puzzle or being competitive watching University Challenge than launching a fashion label à la Mr and Mrs Beckham.

This weekend, for the first time as husband and wife, they will represent Great Britain at the European Team Championships in Braunschweig, Germany – England in the 1500 metres and Gunn in the 3,000m steeplechase.

England, as for so much of their careers, is the one in the limelight. A previous World Championship medallist, she is captaining the team, her husband joking he has taken to saluting her in the build-up. But the slight disparity of their positions on the global athletics stage is not, as one might think, a problem for the pair.

Gunn explains: “My whole best man’s speech at our wedding was basically how much better an athlete Hannah was than me. Having to answer to the captain has led to a whole new onslaught from my mates this week.

“But it’s not difficult. We’re very much on the same team. I probably celebrate her success more than she does and I’m under no illusion that, if it had to come to a decision who we were going to look after, Hannah would take preference as for us she’s a medal chance and also our livelihood in a short career. I happily at times play Mr England. To go through this together as a couple, it’s amazing.”

The couple live and breathe running. They both ran on the morning of their wedding, although it has not always been such a happy medium. “For a couple of years, we couldn’t run together as we’d argue,” recalls Gunn. “She’d run too fast, me too slow.”

They first came into contact through athletics at a training camp when Gunn was 16 and England 14 but did not meet properly until England started her first year at the University of Birmingham, where they both still train, living just a mile away.

“Ironically, when we first met, I was by far the best athlete,” says Gunn, his wife joking it was “the speed goggles” that attracted her to him and that “he taught me everything I know”.

Their career paths have been different. While England, 27, is a full-time athlete on National Lottery funding and backed by Nike, Gunn, 29, has to double up his athletics ambitions working as sport scholarship manager at the university.

The ultimate dream for husband and wife is to run together at the next Olympics. London 2012 had been the initial ambition but England, who overcame an Achilles injury, made it while Gunn did not. “It was hard to do that without Luke,” she said. “It was crap. You should have seen Luke when he came to visit me at the holding camp with all the kit laid out. It was too much. He was like, ‘I can’t be here’. Gunn added: “It was too raw”.

At that point, Gunn took a step back from running until after their wedding last year but steadily he has got the passion back with the help of the pair’s coach Bud Baldaro, who, they joke, doubles up as a marriage counsellor. It was by his own admission “a long road back”.

Braunschweig, combined with the couple’s joint selection for England’s Commonwealth Games team, is reward for the hard work. In the former, they will run moments apart, England’s 1500m finishing 10 minutes before the gun goes for the men’s steeplechase, hardly ideal for a couple who admit they do not like watching the other race because of the nerves it entails.

The aforementioned Baldaro has both of their four-year plans mapped out up to Rio, taking in even the more personal details.

Gunn said: “It’s very odd having a coach instigate the discussion about when you’re going to have a baby. I’ve seen him write our four-year plan and put baby at the end. I’m like ‘Bud, I think we need to discuss that as a couple first!’ ”

England admits that the pair are “both a bit broody”. Unlike the Olympic heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill, who is set to give birth this summer, England says: “I’m putting it off as a female athlete as I want to achieve all my goals before we move on to that. I’m looking forward to having that other dimension to life after athletics.

“I personally feel I don’t want to gamble that I’ll get back to this level after pregnancy. That’s not to say I won’t put my trainers on straight away after that but I want to feel satisfied with it.”

The ultimate this summer would be for them to come away with a championship medal of some description. Some couples ooze an easy, likeable charm. The Englands, the Gunns – they answer to both – are just that. You cannot help but will them to win.

Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
News
news
News
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living