Dizzy, the difference between clubs and many other organisations who jump on the bandwagon is that the latter are usually trying to make a profit and the former are run by hard working volunteers. Come down to my club if you want to see how things can be done successfully, with new Coaches joining us every month and a conveyor belt of new members.
The model adopted by many sports is for an embattled NGB (like ours) but with the grass roots being run by individuals as a commercial exercise. Look at virtually all Martial Arts and Gymnastics. Add to this the well paid Head Coaches of prominent Swimming clubs and the extortionate coaching charges associated with sports like tennis, you can see where this is headed.
Run fast model is blatantly about recruiting emerging talent into their club. This is clear from their website. It does seem like the rule book has been ripped up… but it is probably about time. How long before we get a club vs country situation. Athlete gets selected for a low key GB event, but the athlete is contracted to some commercial event somewhere.
The more I look at this new ” Affiliated Club” the stranger it looks. Run Fast are the Commercial Organisation that also runs the ” City of London Mile” and no doubt make a decent profit from it. I have no problem with that. ….. But under their list of Sponsors for this event is England Athletes controlled RUN and London Athletics. (plus several commercial other sponsors)…… ? Am I being over sensitive ?
Maybe a little. I don’t think that the people at run fast have any intention of doing the sport damage. For me we need something that operates above community club level, and commercially sponsored teams could be a better solution than ‘club on club combat’ we have at the moment, if you get my drift.
Progressive clubs do not want to put huge amounts of voluntary effort into developing athletes through the age groups, for all that hard work to be taken away when they reach 16,17,18 etc. We already have a small number of clubs who openly adopt a ‘relaxed policy’ in terms of young athlete development, in the knowledge that other clubs will be working hard to provide them with Senior talent. To add insult to injury, the media indirectly champions those clubs, either due to affiliation or naivety.
The rise of commercial organisations who hoover up the talent will further polarise the sport beyond 18. We will effectively marginalise athletics further and push young athletic talent into other sports. The power and means of soccer and rugby academies, along with the growth in gymnastics, martial arts, cycling etc will demote us further.
All those who slag off clubs, league competition and the NGB may end up scratching their heads in a few years time, wondering what went wrong.
This is why I have argued for abolition of the national league, we need to have top level national comps as something that is individual and league competition for clubs where the social and local element really matters.
You shouldn’t have to leave your club to get better competition if you are at the top end of the national spectrum, no matter how small that club is.
I’m going to take a guess that the only reason for this organisation needing I be an affiliated club is so they can plaster their brand across the vest and wear it at championships.
I feel like I have been scratching my head, looking for solutions for the last 10 years Mark. The reality is clubs like mine, engage hundreds, and develop scores of young teenagers. This has been the case for decades. The biggest issue, and the increasing problem is the drop out rate at 16yrs, not other clubs. We need something better for our u20 and senior athletes, and I don’t think it is an inter club solution. I believe in this sport, and think all these problems are solvable. The sport muddles along, season to season with very little cleadership or vision.
Now from a competition perspective, virtually every club struggles to field u20 and senior track and field teams, and actually some reputable clubs struggle to have complete cross country teams. The traditional is not working. I agree with PIAA for the urgent need for a non club national level competition format. Why not embrace organisations like run fat to see if they can give the necessary team/commercial edge.