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I’ve just had a letter from England Athletics regarding future registration fees. As expected, there will be a steep rise. The club affiliation of £50 stays the same but the others with planned year by year increases until April 2017 are:
2013 2014 2015 2016
Seniors £20 £21 £22 £23
The fee details were accompanied, by the usual waffle and not one, but two glossy booklets (more cost!) 'justifying' the rise, for example comparing affiliation fees to other (selected) sports.
I'm a member of a tiny running club - of only 8 members. We've worked out, that our club (& individual) affiliation costs would rise from £90 to £210 . . . . . . . a considerable increase.
We started out some 8 or 9 years ago; after enthusiastic discussions in a pub - after which our club is named. We wanted to become a 'proper' club, so with that in mind, we affiliated to England Athletics - we have been affiliated ever since.
We are very 'average' runners and do not compete on the track; we just stick to road, trail & fell events. Thing is though, most of the other runners that we meet, are also 'ordinary' runners. In fact, I've never even met anyone who competes regularly in track & field events.
In the past, we've been to various events and others have assumed that we are just a 'pub team'; we have always been pleased to say that we are affiliated to EA and that we are a 'proper' club. From our perspective, the ability to say this, has been the only benefit of affiliation.
For our club and possibly the dozens of other small running clubs dotted about the country, I suspect that being affiliated to EA brings few other tangible benefits. I receive 'glossy' brochures every so often, but they relate to an entirely different sphere to that in which our club exists. In a sense, we don't begrudge the increases that EA are proposing; we can see the benefits that athletics brings to thousands of youngsters throughout the country. However, 'we' aren't part of that world, nor do we wish to be.
We are just a few guys who like to go out for a group training run once a week and to take part in a few races now and again; it is a very simple & basic concept and appears to be far removed from EA's agenda and bureaucratic style of operation.
As an organisation, we feel that EA is not 'interested' in small road running clubs such as ours. We believe that the increases will be the catalyst, which will lead other road running clubs to move over to the ARC.
We have discussed the fee increases and have decided that the best course of action for our club, would be to join the ARC. Oh yes, the whole process of affiliation is much easier, than it is to join EA.
We feel that apart from saving money, the ARC is an organisation which is more closely aligned to what we do. I like the 'simple' and uncomplicated ethos of the ARC . . . . . . . which accurately reflects the sport that we do.