Home Forum General Stuff BMC event trumps County Champs

This topic contains 24 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Mark W 10 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #157975 Reply


    Sadly the County Track and Field Champs are dead at senior level. So what’s the new plan? BMC caters well for middle distance, but senior competition fir other events are an uninspiring relic.

    #157978 Reply


    My club promote the track and field county championship (all 4 days!), but we certainly don’t see it as an inter club event (unlike the XC). It is traditionally an ‘open’ event, that anyone meeting the eligibility for the county can enter. It is not a team event. We don’t have a team manager ringing around ensuring everyone is entered, but do flag up the opportunity via notice boards, website, social media, word of mouth, and via our coaches. We also celebrate the success at the event in news letters and local press. The club does its part, but a good number of athletes still don’t engage like in past decades.
    If it was not for school entries we would struggle equally in the younger age groups too.
    Some observations:
    – Traditional competition structures are not promoted via formal coach education. Many new coaches will not of had contact with the County Championships, and over 1/2 of our coaches did not have any athletes entered, and did not attend themselves. This is a new dynamic…
    – EA did flag up the opportunities, and I certainly always get reminders via various social media channels. AW promoted it too. Never the less, the parents in the stand, the kids at the track, and many of the coaches are not aware of it.
    – You always get an overwhelming feeling that UKA don’t values it. In fact, you have the overwhelming feeling that UKA don’t value anything that clubs or counties do…
    I would say that the majority of athletes now, don’t value a county title, which devalues it for those that do.
    I would rate winning the A race at a BMC greater than a county title btw…

    #157991 Reply
    Profile photo of Mark E
    Mark E

    The County Championships were a major event before the inception of Leagues, BMC etc

    They are not as relevant now for Senior athletes in particular. Where there is no electronic timing there is also reduced relevance for U20 athletes.

    It is easy to be critical of County Associations, however, they are largely run by older people who have the time to devote to them, outside of their club involvement.
    Issues like photo-finish are not easy wins. There is not enough equipment to go around unless Counties club together and hold joint events. This requires a lot of give and take regarding venues and organisation. The latter creates a lot of challenges and the further the travelling distance the lower the entry level.

    I believe that resistance to change within the sport, mainly at club level is bringing athletics down. This happens at all levels from within clubs to the competition framework.

    Personally I devote too much time to athletics and get frustrated by lack of ambition from others. Sadly there are people who think our aim (as a club in our case) is to provide respite care for parents, effectively an after school club/crèche. They also believe Open competitions can be run like school sports days with helpers rather than Officials. This kind of attitude is fostering an environment where Athletics is for 8 to 14 year olds.

    #157992 Reply


    MarkE – agree with everything you have said. Keep at it. The sport desperately needs people like you, whether it knows it or not.

    #157993 Reply
    Profile photo of southlondonllad

    MarkE.and MarkW …always good to here your comments….based on your local experiences. Like you both, most other posters on here are either still currently active ,or in recent past, given many voluntary hours to Athletics…at Club and County level.

    In regard to this specific Discussion topic. MarkW says he was ‘appalled’ . What say you MarkE ? If our NGB stated, and keep saying ,they are in partnership and support the Counties…..Do you think the BMC GRAND PRIX, detracted from the County Champs in numbers and status ?

    Lets not forget that the winners of County Champs often have the kudos and race opportunities of the subsequent Inter County Champs ?
    Surely better than a Race C or Race D at a BMC ?

    #157994 Reply


    Athletics means different things to different people. The various interpretations of athletics can often rub alongside eachother in harmony so long as one branch does not undermine the other, intentionally, or unintentionally.

    The definition of athletics I adhere to is the traditional pyramid. Within the pyramid different levels exist which are marked by Club Championships, County Championships, Regional Championships, National Championships, Continental Championships and World Championships.

    Serious athletes will target one or several of those championships depending on their level. The targeted championship for that athlete represents their Olympic Games. It is the day when all serious athletes in the area will aim to be at their peak ready to contest the crown.

    These championships are not negotiable commodities which can be merged or moved geographically away from their roots by some other nefarious means.

    If a club, county, region or nation cannot organise themselves to hold a championships in any given year, it is an indicator that for the period in question, the flame has dimmed in that area. The flame will always spark back to life in the future when the locality or wider society redescover’s its way.

    Leagues and Open Graded Meetings, or Closed Graded Meetings like the BMC are merely competition opportunities in between the serious athletics championships. They compliment athletics so long as they do not seek to undermine the championships structure.

    In 2012 England Athletics and UK Athletics tried to undermine the structure by merging the regional championships into a single competition in order to supplement their income by stealing the commercial rights. The regions objected, but few understood the nature of the attack.

    The BMC appear to be devoid of any athletics philosophy beyond the childish wish to create multiple Olympic Champions, and claim the credit for every half decent middle distance runner that emerges in the UK.

    These organisations simply do not understand the destructiveness of their actions in scheduling a competition on the day of a county or regional championships. It is the same as the IAAF scheduling the World Athletics Championships during the same week as the Olympic Games, or Club Coaches scheduling their warm weather training on the same day as the club championships. It is just a demonstration of ignorance that has the impact of putting out the athletics flame in that area.

    #157995 Reply
    Profile photo of Mark E
    Mark E

    SLL – answering your question! The BMC meeting should not have been permitted on the CC weekend.


    The NGB should assist all county associations to get Photo-finish for their championships and facilitate online entry facilities.

    There should also be an agreed format for inclusion of U11 athletes, probably a standardised quad competition.

    Where practical a 2 counties event could be held, as long as travelling distances are not prohibitive.

    #157996 Reply
    Profile photo of Mark E
    Mark E

    Zac, somebody stole a large number of blocks from your pyramid.

    The club championships are pretty buoyant.
    The next 2 levels are failing, particularly the Area Championships.
    National Championships are still a relevant competition.

    For the younger ages the schools provide a parallel path to the top, with the caveat that we have athletes in our club who’s schools refuse to enter the district events, therefore they miss out on county, regional and national schools.

    We also have athletes who’s school enters the Schools Cup and in some cases they are dissuaded from doing other events to ‘save themselves’.

    Probably too many events for U15 and U17 athletes, before you add in Counties and Regionals (Area).

    #158000 Reply

    Mark W

    “Lets not forget that the winners of County Champs often have the kudos and race opportunities of the subsequent Inter County Champs ?”
    No they don’t. you MUST enter the England Athletics Championships meeting the entry time requirement. Athletes then indicate on the entry if they wish to be considered for selection by their county, these names are then prelisted in a dropdown menu in the online county entry the manager making the selection. This has been the case for 2-3 years. The exception of course is the athlete who has county qualification but not England qualification, provision can be made for the. they are a distinct minority.

    From my observations of what counties are saying about results this is less likely. A county will not sacrifice points if they can help it unless you have a policy demanding competing in the County champs (we have and the team manager has a hit list of people who are banned from selection).

    I can hear mutterings about hijacking by EA etc but funding here is key, it articulates to the Manchester International where winners of the EA title can represent England.

    #158001 Reply

    Mark W

    I refer of course to the UKCAU titles not incidental Geographically limited level Inter county meetings of course

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