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So who really is interested in athletics?

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So who really is interested in athletics?

Postby james montgomery » Mon Jan 02, 2006 1:43 pm

Only 223 people are signed in as members of this forum 81 of those have never posted a message and 50% of those left have only posted 1 message. There is a hard core of around 10 contributers with multiple postings. AW, "the World's No.1 Athletics Magazine" (Runners World, Running and Fitness magazine, The Runner, Track & Field Magazine and I am sure a few others must surely be doing better ?) has a weekly sale, I believe, of around 12.000 which shows a considerable decline over the last 20 years. Of those sold how many actually bother to read all articles, letters and features? Most get it for results. The conclusion from this generalised analysis is that most people apparently in the sport are not interested in what goes on around them or what influences act on the sport or how they might themselves influence change. Pretty much the same as in local and national politics. This leaves a very small group to maintain power and exploit the sport as they wish without much effective challenge. This is why more people need to wake up and make their voices heard. Why more need to vote on issues through the channels available to them and to help develop the real pathways to excellence. But the way things are now and the way they look likely to go with the establishment continuing to impose itself, the sport will be in a very sorry state within the next four years. Running and Fell clubs will expand and prosper but mainly for the hobbyists. Serious Track & Field will be continued only through a few major clubs (a government and UKA Ltd., aim anyway) and the rest will be purely community "athletics" activity centres for fun and fitness.
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Re: So who really is interested in athletics?

Postby roadrunner » Mon Jan 02, 2006 4:08 pm

james montgomery wrote:Running and Fell clubs will expand and prosper but mainly for the hobbyists.


Is there a difference in a running club and a fell club?
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Postby alf tupper » Mon Jan 02, 2006 7:08 pm

The main difference is that magazines such as Runners World have developed a website specifically for their market. Advertise a race, have an online entry system, have a discussion about the race, rate the race afterwards etc... Kit reviews, links to stores all draw the crowds in. The event forums alone are self renewing as there are new races being added every week, and last weeks races to be commented on.

Any muppet can lob a PHP Bulletin Board onto a website. It takes a lot more effort to get people to the site. And more importantly, keep returning to the site.
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Postby alf tupper » Mon Jan 02, 2006 7:13 pm

Oh, and by the way, at least half of the last 30 registered members are web-bots using auto signup software to create logins and promote un-related websites, mainly online poker sites.
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Postby james montgomery » Mon Jan 02, 2006 7:33 pm

alf tupper wrote:Oh, and by the way, at least half of the last 30 registered members are web-bots using auto signup software to create logins and promote un-related websites, mainly online poker sites.



Oh my God, how insidious and parasitical is that?!!! (does anyone want to buy a car?)
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Re: So who really is interested in athletics?

Postby james montgomery » Mon Jan 02, 2006 7:41 pm

roadrunner wrote:
james montgomery wrote:Running and Fell clubs will expand and prosper but mainly for the hobbyists.


Is there a difference in a running club and a fell club?


One attempts to cruise along at an optimum pace on tar macadam road surfaces and the other haul themselves up impossibly difficult unrouted mountainside gradients and then throw themselves down the other rock strewn side. The sheep look on in amazement! Great scenery though.
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Postby alf tupper » Mon Jan 02, 2006 7:45 pm

james montgomery wrote:
alf tupper wrote:Oh, and by the way, at least half of the last 30 registered members are web-bots using auto signup software to create logins and promote un-related websites, mainly online poker sites.



Oh my God, how insidious and parasitical is that?!!! (does anyone want to buy a car?)


Actually it's 50% of the last 40 registered users.

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Re: So who really is interested in athletics?

Postby roadrunner » Mon Jan 02, 2006 8:46 pm

james montgomery wrote:
One attempts to cruise along at an optimum pace on tar macadam road surfaces and the other haul themselves up impossibly difficult unrouted mountainside gradients and then throw themselves down the other rock strewn side. The sheep look on in amazement! Great scenery though.


That tells me how road running differs from fell running which is great, but I did actually know that. the point I was trying to make to you is about you seperating running clubs and fell clubs. Lots of running clubs are affiliated to the fells. they are the same thing. Very few people have different running clubs to fell clubs.
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Re: So who really is interested in athletics?

Postby james montgomery » Tue Jan 03, 2006 1:19 am

roadrunner wrote:
james montgomery wrote:
One attempts to cruise along at an optimum pace on tar macadam road surfaces and the other haul themselves up impossibly difficult unrouted mountainside gradients and then throw themselves down the other rock strewn side. The sheep look on in amazement! Great scenery though.


That tells me how road running differs from fell running which is great, but I did actually know that. the point I was trying to make to you is about you seperating running clubs and fell clubs. Lots of running clubs are affiliated to the fells. they are the same thing. Very few people have different running clubs to fell clubs.




I take your point but does it really matter? My point was that most clubs are not T&F. and that's what the gov. and UKA are apparently meant to focus on, i.e., they are not interested in "running" clubs except as a potential source for membership fees.
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Postby DMulvee » Tue Jan 03, 2006 2:46 pm

Not sure what can be read into this. The relatively low uptake of membership indicates that if track athletics were to cease few people would miss it? I'm sure this isn't entirely the case, though it would be hard to see how it would impact the majority.
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Postby james montgomery » Wed Jan 04, 2006 10:08 am

DMulvee wrote:Not sure what can be read into this. The relatively low uptake of membership indicates that if track athletics were to cease few people would miss it? I'm sure this isn't entirely the case, though it would be hard to see how it would impact the majority.


Athletics for the "majority" IS track and field. I don't think anyone disputes that. The government, the media and the public view athletics (literally) as championship events, Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European. The fact that the majority of participants are in road running, cross country and fell is irrelevant and mostly uninteresting to them and will only change if the Olympics includes cross country and road (other than the marathon, of course) In a (part) similar way, tennis for the majority is Wimbledon and soccer is the World Cup. So the fact remains that track athletics is regarded as the "real" thing and therefore that's where the sponsorship, gov. funding, and media interest is.
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Postby james montgomery » Wed Jan 04, 2006 10:10 am

alf tupper wrote:
james montgomery wrote:
alf tupper wrote:Oh, and by the way, at least half of the last 30 registered members are web-bots using auto signup software to create logins and promote un-related websites, mainly online ***** sites.



Oh my God, how insidious and parasitical is that?!!! (does anyone want to buy a car?)


Actually it's 50% of the last 40 registered users.

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CAN THE ADMINISTRATOR REMOVE THIS BUNCH OF SPAM ?
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Postby alf tupper » Wed Jan 04, 2006 10:43 am

They already have.
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A P A T H Y

Postby Max » Wed Jan 04, 2006 11:15 am

Yes James, it's called APATHY. :x
As you know in Scotland we've had this system imposed on us because of the clubs' apathy & now some have seen the light; but is it too late? :cry:

Regards,

Max. :P
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Postby XCrunner » Wed Jan 04, 2006 12:06 pm

james montgomery wrote:Athletics for the "majority" IS track and field.
Why should the majority of athletes who run because they enjoy it support a minority who particiapte only in track and field?
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Postby Paul A » Wed Jan 04, 2006 3:10 pm

Well I think Track and Field is the top of the sport and the part that most supporters and the public see.

Although there is good public support for the really big road races e.g. FLM, there isn't really much for your average road, cross country and fell race.

Sunday League footballers probably wouldn't call for the abolition of the premier league for instance.

As for road racing funding track and field.

It does but

a) You don't have to join a club
b) Although the above means you pay as an unaffiliated runner, races don't have to be run under UKA rules but could be a fun run.
c) B usually doesn't happen because getting a permit for the race, provides access to course measurement and certification, insurance cover and no doubt in some cases is pre-requisite for the police/local authorities to allow it.

So road racing does get something back for its contribution.

Put simply there is a difference in all sports between the grass roots and the elite end but you hope people feed through and of course the governing bodies are looking to ensure success at the top level for their sports. it is this success that provides external funding and sponsorship for the sport as a whole.

Also while you couldn't play in a world-cup final with David Beckham, your average runner could find themselves in a race with say Paula Radcliffe where a world record is set. It is one of the attractions of our sport, although admittedly for most of us the world record setter would have finished, done the the TV interview, gione home and had dinner before we cross the line.

Personally I was in FLM when Paula set her 2:15, I was in a 5 mile race in Welwyn Garden City where a Kenyan set the world best (not ratified as it turned out the course was 11 yards) and once got in a sprint finish with Rob Denmark in a Stevenage 5km - well OK he was finishing and I had a lap to go but I wasn't going to let him lap me ! Reckon it would have taken a photo to separate us but am confident I did indeed stay ahead.
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Postby alf tupper » Thu Jan 05, 2006 10:41 am

alf tupper wrote:They already have.


They're coming back again!!!
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Postby james montgomery » Thu Jan 05, 2006 11:22 am

XCrunner wrote:
james montgomery wrote:Athletics for the "majority" IS track and field.
Why should the majority of athletes who run because they enjoy it support a minority who particiapte only in track and field?



You are quite right and I would not disagree with you. I was merely pointing out the fact that the government is responsible for spending our money (tax or lottery) on "athletics" and they are spending it badly, unaccountably and to all effect, down the drain.

If they wanted to enourgage a fitter nation, reduce obesity and to a large degree reduce costs in the NHS they would be better off promoting purely running, in schools and the community, whether on roads, tracks, fells or country. But unfortunately, for the running fraternity, as I have previously indicated, "athletics" is seen as Track & Field only.
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Postby Paul A » Thu Jan 05, 2006 2:08 pm

James - you say that the Government is responsible for spending our money on athletics. I think we should bear in mind that they have no obligation to spend it on athletics at all and actually could be giving the sport nothing. One of the points behind modernisation was to get the legacy funding and actually is is a good reason. What I think the government wanted was a clear national run plan for the money rather than sending individual cheques out to clubs and saying "see waht you can do with that"

I think another issue is that encouraging kids and links to clubs is fine but a key problem is that you generate the interest and the clubs, because they are voluntarily run, are unable to meet the demand. The kids then get disillusioned and you lose them. That is why funding to enable some full-time coaches is important and why the coaches need to spend some of their time on the younger groups. At the same time they shouldn't be seen a child-minders.

However while Star-Track is undoubtedly the scheme that some think of only as childminding, I would point out that it does get kids involved.

All I can state is personal experience. My son went to a couple, then joined the local clubm then I joined the local club,and actually ran a track race for the first time in 20 years, then became an official, as has my wife and now help with local administration. So in my case the scheme provided three active people to the local club. Not all bad I say.
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Postby WALDORF » Thu Jan 05, 2006 3:40 pm

The general public provide billions of pounds many of the donators wish to see that money go into athletics....the government have hijacked this money and attached many P.C strings to it...they have a duty to pass it on to athletics...in fact they should not be in charge of this money, especially when they have been found out hoarding it...£9Billion in the bank?.

It should be given to a reprensentative body such as the ABAC, so it can be used wisely for a change.

I see hundreds of kids do star track every year, and as many in special groups in clubs, both with paid coaches, a nd we are lucky to see one or two carry on intp mainstream club activities, this is happening all over the country and gives very poor value for money, all this does is keep people in paid jobs.


WE need a complete review of the system, given that the proffesionals have clearly failed in the duties.
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Postby james montgomery » Fri Jan 06, 2006 12:12 am

Paul A wrote:James - you say that the Government is responsible for spending our money on athletics. I think we should bear in mind that they have no obligation to spend it on athletics at all and actually could be giving the sport nothing. One of the points behind modernisation was to get the legacy funding and actually is is a good reason. What I think the government wanted was a clear national run plan for the money rather than sending individual cheques out to clubs and saying "see waht you can do with that"

I think another issue is that encouraging kids and links to clubs is fine but a key problem is that you generate the interest and the clubs, because they are voluntarily run, are unable to meet the demand. The kids then get disillusioned and you lose them. That is why funding to enable some full-time coaches is important and why the coaches need to spend some of their time on the younger groups. At the same time they shouldn't be seen a child-minders.

However while Star-Track is undoubtedly the scheme that some think of only as childminding, I would point out that it does get kids involved.

All I can state is personal experience. My son went to a couple, then joined the local clubm then I joined the local club,and actually ran a track race for the first time in 20 years, then became an official, as has my wife and now help with local administration. So in my case the scheme provided three active people to the local club. Not all bad I say.



Paul,

You are perfectly right when you say that the government does not have to spend money on athletics. The fact is, though, they do and they spend it very badly indeed with no real idea of how it is being used (or wasted!) Nobody suggests, as you appear to, that the only alternative is to send cheques out to the clubs.....complete nonsense. But what they could do is bring in ABAC, who some in their quangos have occasionaly met with, and actually listen to what they are being told are better alternative ways to spend for what they want to achieve. (medals!)

As for legacy funding being a good reason for accepting their blinkered view of modernisation. I am afraid not too many would agree who know the facts and the agenda. £20m is peanuts for the showcase sport of the Olympics and how much of that do you really believe will get to where it's needed for the clubs. It's like most charities and aid programmes except far worse. Whatever you are told most will go to increased administration and highly selective elite club support. So you and the rest of the hard working, voluntary small clubs can go on banging your tin cups but they'll stay empty.

You really think the legacy money will pay for coaches at your club? You'll be lucky. If every club thinks the same that amounts to less than £30 a week. (before UKA/England Athletics and the Regions/Hubs expenses) And in five years time (that's how long the money is supposed to last!!) you'll be standing in the middle of a desolate and barren club landscape looking up at an exclusive mount Olympus but you won't see many, if any, Brits.
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Postby athletic coach » Mon Jan 09, 2006 9:40 am

[quote][color=red]So the fact remains that track athletics is regarded as the "real" thing and therefore that's where the sponsorship, gov. funding, and media interest is[/color][/quote]

Lets get some facts in this thread.

The amount of sponsorship money drawn into the track and field section is tiny compared to the sponsorship obtained by road and charity races. Even a good size childs football club brings in more than an athletic club. None of the cross country or T & F leagues to my knowledge have sponsorship nor do the southern champs. Unlike many of the other sports of a similar standing.

The funding is probably the highest in T & F.

More is written about and spoken about road running than T & F in the media. Interestingly the amount of information about athletics (TF) in the national media has dropped dramatically over the last two years.

Government funding is not only about "medals" it is about developing the sport and "medals" are only one of the criteria laid down when money is given. Taxes are not their to fund medals and elite athletes only.

The more the debate about Foster goes on the more it becomes about money and who controls it. The more I see of the situation the more it is becoming clear that the sport is killing itself as a top line sport in the UK.

We blame UKA/government but fail to accept our own responsibility, some of you see ABAC as the saviour of the support,but who are ABAC and who do they represent, and please do not say the majority. The majority did not vote in any poll or organised vote, is it because they are apathetic or just fed up with the stance of all the self interest groups.
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Postby WALDORF » Mon Jan 09, 2006 12:35 pm

Given the dismal failure of UKA over the past 8 years, with this year showing the highest levels of spending and employing, coupled with the lowest tally of medals ever, I think it is everybodies responsibility to start afresh.

The Government are sat on Billions of pounds of publicily donated lottery money..... the interest alone could fund athletics for life. I bet it is being sidelined for the Olympics?


Given all the bullying and blackmailing and behind the scenes behaviour by those wishing to own OUR sport, it is clear they have lost the confidence, trust, and support of most in the sport!


This is why we need a new independent body whose sole interest is athletics (not social politics) even if we have to fund it our selves. Some things are worth paying for, and when it is up and running, such a body would have a legal claim to lottery funding!


So out with old and in with the new. :D
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Postby james montgomery » Mon Jan 09, 2006 1:01 pm

"Government funding is not only about "medals" it is about developing the sport and "medals" are only one of the criteria laid down when money is given. Taxes are not their (there) to fund medals and elite athletes only."

"officially" you are right but the reality is different. The government HAS to declare that money is being used for all aspects of development because that is a PC requirement but I can assure you that the not so hidden agenda is medal driven only, because medals prove the value of the investment and that's what gets the publicity that the goveernment needs to justify the spending. Look at the other sports. They got funding according to their success in Athens. UKA was saved by Kelly and the sprint relay team otherwise the money would have been withdrawn.
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Postby athletic coach » Mon Jan 09, 2006 1:44 pm

We are probably both partly right. I apply for grants from a number of funding bodies and it is not easy.

Clubs need members to stay alive, both for thier money and their talent one source of both is schools, where we have to complete against all the sports currently available. We have to comply fully with the written specifications or we do not get the money. We tend to get 5% of what we need or want.
The result is we have to do things as we can afford them, football, rugby, cricket can do it because they have clearer guidelines.
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Postby WALDORF » Mon Jan 09, 2006 3:01 pm

Been there , done that, and worn the T Shirt, applied for so much so many times that I gave up....as I am not here to ensure social inclusion (where most of the money is offered.) Just how much is being directed to specific areas rather than to the whole?

The major lessons I learned were,

Athletics cannot be compared to team sports, individuals require more time and energy to retain and develop them, many only continue with a deal of support especially U13s, which beggers the question is it good value for money to attempt this type of low return investment?

Of course ALL potential athletes come from educational establishments, the real question which has to be asked is how many children today are prepared to undergo a modicum of physical development required to achieve some level of success.

Should we be a little more elitist in our thinking, just spend time energy and money on those with some interest, potential, ability, and most importantly drive and ambition, irregardless of colour, creed or social standing.

Until we increase our level of good coaches 10 fold, very little will happen, other than a massive turn around in new kindergarten material and level one coaches...great for the figures...bad for athletics, and scares other coaches away.

Athletic clubs are wonderful things they shrink and grow over the years
but generally stay in existance despite the attempts of UKA to undermine the coaching structure which helps the clubs so much?

So who comes first the eggs or the chickens, which are most important?
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Postby Javelin Sam » Tue Jan 24, 2006 1:31 pm

you lot do a fair amount of talking on here but how many of you actually put your opinions out there in the big wide real world...

I am one that expresses myself on the net and in person...

i have been in the sport for over 24years...all the time i have been alive. i am an athlete..coach..team manager and chairman of an event specific club who have thier own website and discussion forum with more discussion going on in that single event than on this forum full of every concievable event to fall under the athletics umbrella.

Sam

www.thejavelinclub.com
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Postby james montgomery » Tue Jan 24, 2006 2:59 pm

Javelin Sam wrote:you lot do a fair amount of talking on here but how many of you actually put your opinions out there in the big wide real world...

I am one that expresses myself on the net and in person...

i have been in the sport for over 24years...all the time i have been alive. i am an athlete..coach..team manager and chairman of an event specific club who have thier own website and discussion forum with more discussion going on in that single event than on this forum full of every concievable event to fall under the athletics umbrella.

Sam

www.thejavelinclub.com




Sam, You are not the only one. Plenty of us are also "out there" doing what we can. I've been involved in this sport for over 45 years and I seen and been part of the changes throughout that time.

Posting on this website is just one small area of involvement and although the effect may be minimal it is at least an opportunity to air views whether they be agreed or not. The point is, anyone can have their say and if that in anyway stimulates change and others involvement then its worthwhile. I for one always encourage others, as I do, to directly contact those in influencial positions, e.g., their MP's, the national press, the relevant quangos (UK Sport, Sport England) to register their concerns. I also believe that the Association of British Athletics Clubs set up solely in the interests of the clubs by long standing club members and officials is the ideal vehicle to help ensure change is truly beneficial for the sport and not just the administrators.

Referring to your own "event specific club" for the javelin can I ask you what direct benefit you have seen in the last 8 years from the services of the Event National Coach for UKA Ltd., , now in charge of "Speed."?

(on a slightly different track -no pun intended- I notice that there are totally different governing bodies for winter sports events: They all compete on snow and ice but unlike athletics where totally disimilar events are all under one umbrella, Skiing, speed skating, toboganing, figure skating, snow boarding, ski jumping and curling (!) all seem to have have their own federations. Maybe athletics should go the same way? Just look at the list:

Road running
Cross Country
Fell

Sprints (inc relays)
Endurance One: 800-1500
Endurance Two: 5000-10.000 (inc steeplechase)

Long jump
High Jump
Triple jump
Pole Vault
Shot
Disc
Jav
Hurdles
Hammer

or perhaps grouped as:

Sprints
Endurance
Jumps
Throws
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Postby motherhen » Tue Jan 24, 2006 3:02 pm

Ok a fair amount of generalisation has been said here. Whilst I appricate personal opinion generalisation isnt something I always agree with.

There is a lot of talk about professionals failing in their job, duty, ability etc etc. How exactly are they failing to do it? I think these statements need clarifying
Is it because the job they are actually doing isnt what you think they should be doing?
Is it because they lack the skills, knowledge and experience to do the job? Is it from personal experience?

Secondly, You mentioned funding. yes there are criteria surrounding lots of funding pots and a lot of money goes into inclusion and equity. You say your not here to ensure inclusion. Who is? Besides surely your club has women and girls, people from ethnic minorities, people from areas of social deprevation and low incomes and surely you would welcome athletes with disabilities. If you can answer yes to half of these questions you could get funding. It depends why you asked for it and how you phrased it. i know clubs who have got funding to offer free memberships / training to individuals from low income families, to buy spikes for children, to run sessions to encourage womens road running, to pay for a coach to go into schools where a high potential of ethnic minorities attend etc etc. Inclusion isnt there only role but it is something they do.

Finally, you have mentioned about these session springing up and individuals not going into mainstream clubs. Has it occured to you the reason why there not going into a mainstream club is that the other sessions are providing what they want? Are your junior sessions fun? Is competiton something the athletes choose to do rather than is expected to? Do they cover all athletic actvities? Do you use award schemes such as shine or golden mile or something similar? Is there a good adult/child ratio? Are actvities varied? Children and parents vote with there feet. Ask yourself why are they choosing these other sessions. You say they offer poor value but they cant be that bad if they keep going.

Clubs, coaches and volunteers are the lifeblood of athletics. They are the heart of our sport and it is important we keep that beating but sometimes to solve a problem you need to look internally as well as externally. For future sucess perhaps you should look at working more closely with local professional and give them a chance. When you work alone you may achieve something but working together you may achieve a lot more!

Pehaps you should ring you nearest RDC, County Sports Partnership, Development Unit and discuss these issues regarding your club and funding etc etc. You may be surprised at the response you get if you give them a chance.
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Postby WALDORF » Tue Jan 24, 2006 3:22 pm

James, How dare you! what about the multieventers (real athletes)?

Mother Hen can we take it from your postings that you are a well paid part of the failing system?
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