Monday, February 25, 2013

Two steps forward, one back

It's been a busy week, athletics-wise.

The focus has been next Wednesday's Network meeting, the first since England Athletics revealed how much money the network is going to get. It's half the money we were getting and for only half the time. But maybe we can get off to a faster start than we did last time.

I was given the news a fortnight or so ago and started writing a plan for the county's athletic development. There are still several questions that we don't have answers to - but at least we're moving. I called up the two people who had shown themselves most willing to engage with this work and I must pay tribute to them for the time and effort they have put in.

Keith Brackstone is well-known as a development officer for Bristol & West and he also coaches at the University. He's a long distance man through and through, but I have always found him to be fair and sensible where other clubs and their athletes are concerned.

John Robbins is unattached though in his time he has played a big role in athletics admin. I suspect he was also a runner at some time in the past. He is a major player in the organising of the track and field open meetings, and he has some really good ideas for the sport, though I'd like to break him of the habit of addressing me as Mr Chairman!

Together we put costed plan together and we were joined by Cy Knibb, B&W's chairman, who brought another perspective to the discussions. He was particularly keen to have the network grow into a major force for growing athletics in the region, over and above what is possible with EA's money.

The discussion continued by email; Cy and I fell out briefly; ideas continued to flow and we have a plan! Very shortly - in about half an hour - I'm heading off to meet Matt Foad to show him the plan. Keith is going to join us and the meeting could be fairly crucial. I'm feeling a bit tense to be honest with you.

Matt has promised to be at the network meeting on Wednesday night because that really will be crucial if the network is to be the force for change and growth that it could be. It would be really nice if a few more people turned up to that meeting than has been the case in recent years. But not everyone is addicted to meetings, like I am.

Wish me luck, people.

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