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Challenging Clubs to show Track Pride

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16 June 2008

 

 

Article as seen in Athletics Weekly magazine

 

 

Earlier on in this issue of Athletics Weekly magazine you will have seen coverage of the latest part of the Track Pride scheme – the announcement of club night visits where club members can get the opportunity to hear more about the offer and also have the attendance of an athletics VIP speaker. I for one look forward to hearing how you, the clubs, are responding to Track Pride.

 

Track Pride is continuing where it left off from this winter’s indoor events, offering club members the opportunity to watch our major events, raise money for their clubs and to benefit from a range of exclusive offers.

 

If you attend one of our major events through the Track Pride offers, you’ll get access to an exclusive club lounge with refreshments, merchandise and a guest speaker to make your day all the more memorable.

 

As a former club athlete I’m well aware their can be a perceived gap between the type of events that occur at venues like Crystal Palace, Birmingham, Gateshead and Sheffield, and the week in week out competitions that take place at the club level of our sport.

 

But with the clock counting down towards what we feel will be a memorable 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, it is all the more essential that clubs realise how significant a part they can play in our build up – and we in turn recognise the part they  have played in bringing the athlete through those grassroots levels of competition.

 

 There are many ways in which our major events benefit from the support and opportunities given by clubs. Some of our top names are a product of their clubs impressive youth schemes and it is great that they are still wearing those club vests come the trials. Likewise some athletes leave the club they were at as a youth or junior athlete to find other competition opportunities at another club – which can in itself help those athletes progress.

 

On that basis there is now the chance for that famous club rivalry to shine through, after all the British League and UK Women’s league effectively capture that team ethic during their fixtures throughout the summer, yet how often do we see that passion recreated in the crowd at a major event? Could we soon see a head to head between Christine Ohuruogu and Nicola Sanders being billed as Newham and Essex Beagles versus Windsor Slough Eton and Hounslow? Will Marlon’s Coventry Godiva support out-cheer Craig Pickering’s Milton Keynes following.

 

We’ve seen in many other sports that all the pride and club loyalty can be focussed into one match, fixture or tie. Regardless of who won the last fixture – that next match or tie carries as much weight if not more than before – in athletics we can easily have the same atmosphere at our major events, and club support will be paramount.

 

None of this is even a remote possibility unless club members are out in force as spectators at these major events- I hope that the opportunities offered by Track Pride helps to make this happen. If you have already booked your seats for this summer I look forward to seeing you at one of these events, if you’ve not yet got round to it, the clock is ticking - don’t you or your club miss out.

 

 

For more information visit the Track Pride section.