Wednesday, 14 September 2011

A problematic weekend for Yorkshire Athletics

 Last weekend.  A  difficult time for runners, club captains and team managers of the county's many clubs.    With the open age Yorkshire Road Relays on Saturday and the Yorkshire Veterans Road Relay Championships ( now for over 35s,male and female) the following day with the Wetherby 10K, the Sandal Castle 10K and the Yorkshireman half and full off road marathons  added into  the mix,it was interesting to see how the various Yorkshire clubs would cope.
 Racing so often  over in Lancashire nowadays, I  popped up to the Carnegie Campus in Leeds to  see so many old friends, looking forward to some keen competition.  
 All  options seemed to have been covered  judging by the turnout.
 Several clubs  supported both Yorkshire relays. Many veterans running both days.
 OTLEY winning bronze on Saturday and silver in the M35 on Sunday.  KEIGHLEY took advantage of teams failing to appear and won gold on Saturday and followed up with silver in the M35s and bronze in the M40s on Sunday. A great show of club organisation and commitment.
 Some , perhaps struggling to find under 35 talent, decided to focus on the Sunday's vets championships.  The home club LEEDS surprisingly, fielded incomplete teams in both mens and womens events; no doubt "keeping their powder dry " for the Northerns.  Some  clubs boasting large memberships failed to appear at either event.   Surprisingly failing to use the county event as a trial event for the Northern Relays  the week after next.  
  So in the 4 leg senior womens event   from over 40 Yorkshire clubs just 10 clubs put teams out and 11 in the mens,  several, including some top Yorkshire clubs fielding incomplete teams.
 With clubs relying so heavily on veterans nowadays many I spoke to felt that Yorkshire athletics generally suffered by having the 2 events on the same weekend. 
 In  theory there should not have been a problem.   In an ideal world,  teams turned out on Satuday consisting of mainly under 35s and the vets turning out the next  day.   But as we all know  the under 35s are in the minority nowadays, consequently, of the top 6 womens teams,  only 10 runners of the 24 were under 35.
 Of the top 6 mens teams,. only 11 of the 36 were under 35.  
It's really not  boding well  for the future of this  traditional branch of the sport.  But I'm confident that the NORTHERN 6/4 relays at Warrington on September 24 will be fiercely contested no matter how many teams turn up.   See you there! ?

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