Brighton athletes launch coffee products for runners

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Haile Coffee is named after distance running legend Haile Gebrselassie and has been created by Joel Kidger, Richard Nerurkar and Spencer Thomas

Three Brighton-based former British international athletes have teamed up to launch a new coffee brand targeting runners who love their coffee.

Haile Coffee is the creation of former British international marathon runner Richard Nerurkar, Friday Media Group Director Joel Kidger and web developer Spencer Thomas.

Nerurkar is a former Olympic marathon runner turned race organiser who from 2011 to 2016 arranged the elite athlete fields at the Brighton Marathon; Kidger competed for England in the 800m at the 2002 Commonwealth Games and is now coaching a number of Britain’s rising stars; while Thomas won the British 800m title in 2019. Both Kidger and Thomas are members of Brighton Phoenix AC.

The idea for their business came out of a friendship between Nerurkar and Ethiopia’s double Olympic champion Haile Gebrselassie from the nine years Nerurkar spent in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa. In 2014 Gebrselassie became a coffee producer and over the past three years Nerurkar has been selling coffee from Gebrselassie’s farm in western Ethiopia to big international importers.

Haile Gebrselassie (Mark Shearman)

Nerurkar explains: “Coffee is such a big part of the culture in Ethiopia, and Haile is such a big name in international running circles, so it felt natural to connect the two and present a quality product to runners who love drinking coffee.”

When Nerurkar shared his idea with Kidger, who also coaches his daughter Almi Nerurkar, the plan quickly started to take shape.

“I love coffee and have wanted to get involved in a coffee business for some time,” said Kidger. “I also believe that coffee can be good for performance if used sensibly.”

Using their networks in running in Brighton and internationally, the trio are now hoping to build a following for their products which are described as “premium Ethiopian coffee”. They are offering three different coffees (Champion’s Choice, Emperor’s Delight, and Haile’s Blend) which evoke memories of Gebrselassie’s star-studded athletics career.

“With his two Olympic titles and 27 world records, Haile is known as one of the sport’s great champions,” says Nerurkar. “In the same way we hope that people who drink our coffee will appreciate its quality and associate Ethiopia with world-class coffee as much as they do with their world-class athletes.”

» Haile Coffee goes on sale on September 27

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Credit TO Owner