I completely agree that getting lots of people to go out jogging, and kids to sign up for fun runs like this, is only a start. By itself, it won't produce any Olympians.
But it's a good start.
1000 kids in one location would be a good place to showcase what the athletics world has to offer. Not sure if the AI Development Team will be there but would be a good idea.
Would be nice to have some other races on the day for them to watch, something like the great north run, with some of our elites on show.
The main point for me is not the cover story. The lady featured could be considered inspirational or not depending on your point of view. Either way fair dues to her and continued improvement. My main problem with IR is the direction its taking especialy since AAI started having an imput. Its starting to look like Runners World which has a formulaic monthly template. This issue of IR didnt address or even mention the Martin Fagan drug story. Surely a running magazine should deal with running stories as a priority. But that is only my opinion.
Eh, the national 10K is on that day aka the GReat Ireland Run, so some of our elites will be on show along with some of the world's best.
I think you will find that many of these kids are already club members and have progressed through the LTAD programme. Have a look at last year's junior run results and you will see familar names from juvenile nationals and maybe a few new ones.
National road 10k . The national 10k is on the track .
Yep apart from that there is the option to put on extra events ala the great north run, they put on a 2mile and some sprint events around the area the day before, think they also have a shot put in the city center. Seems to go down very well.
I take your point, but I think we're arguing two separate things. You're totally right about the two different groups- the group aspiring for medals is far far smaller than the group of recreational, couldn't-care-less-about-medals, runners.
The problem is that you DO seem to care about these recreational runners- they irritate you with their uncompetitive ways and I'll guess that you feel they lower the standing of your sport in other people's eyes. Way back 0407....said that most of the people on the start line of the marathon wouldn't know the distance of an athletics track. So what? Why is this in any way a problem. Far far more important in my opinion that there's 10000 people out there doing it, being active, making running a normal thing to do, than worry about its effect on the precious 0.0001% of top performers in a minority sport.
And in the context of the Irish Runner- nothing about its name or previous issues suggests that it should solely concentrate on this 0.0001%. Maybe they'd be better off representing the reality of running in Ireland today.
Wrong there, where do you get that from? What irritates me is the concept that celebrating recreational running will inspire and promote competitive athletics, a view expressed by some here. Celebrate it, its great and gets people running and active but not as a means of promoting competitive sport.
There are 20,000 kids part of this 0.0001% in Ireland. There are say 6,000 adults part of this % (half of the 12,000 adult who are members of clubs aspire to win medals, could be more actually). Thats 26,000 people who are into competitive athletics. They want to win or see their athletes win medals relative to their ability. From a club race to a county or provincial or national or european or world or Olympic championships and not merely to be fit or lose some weights. My maths suggest, by your reckoning, there are 26 billion (yes billion) people in Ireland (yes, just Ireland) who run but aren't into the competitive side of things.
Even if you suggested 1% instead of 0.0001%, that would be 2.6 million runners/joggers/recreational runner [choose which is the least offensive term] in Ireland.
What I am trying to say is there are more people into competitive athletics in Ireland than you think, over 30,000 club members.
I'm talking about elites- olympic medallists- as you have been up to now. And we've had, what, 3 medallists in t&f in the last 75 years. That's 3 in say 10 million- or 0.00003%- lower than my numbers above.
Now if you want to talk about club runners- they're still just recreational runners, even if taking part in races. It's still just a hobby for them, they might be faster but they're in no way "elite". No difference to average joe back-of-the-pack runner really, even if they might take it a little more seriously.
The attitude that's coming through from some posters is that it's somehow more worthy being a serious/competitive/club runner than a recreational one. And I'm saying it's not- both (hopefully) run for enjoyment mainly- there are only professional/elite runners and everyone else is a fun-runner.
Its not as black and white as that. There would be no elite athletes if everybody had that attitude. Elite athletes arent born they're made, so called fun runners can become elite athletes, its about choosing to do so. If you wanna be a fun runner grand, nothing wrong with that, but its a choice you made but you could also make a choice to strive toawards an elite standard.
Talking about the percentage of peple who win olympic medals is nonsense really. It has no relevance.
The point of it is that you cannot categorise it as simply, international class athletes/olympic contenders and label everybody else as fun runners who don't care about elite athletics. Thirtyfoot made this point very well earlier too.
As someone who spent my 20's and early thirties as a mid pack club runner I would strongly disagree with you and here is an example why.
I (and hundreds like me around the country) tried to be competitive and improve the standard of local domestic races. Several up and coming juveniles and juniors would complete their long runs and tempo's with us average club runners. At times we adjusted sessions to accomodate these lads and help develop them and some went on to be successful nationally and one obtained a scholarship to the USA. This story is not unique - it happens in many well structured clubs around the country.
No one in my group of training partners ever fooled ourselves that we were anything close to elite but we were all interested in being competitive (sub 27mins 30 for 5 miles) and were interested in the elite aspect of the sport. However I think that it was more than fun running. For fun, we went to Pairc Ui Chaoimh to watch a game!
What I'm saying is there are two groups:
Group 1- You run for money- then you're a professional. It's your job. These tend to be the elite athletes.
Group 2- You don't run for money. You run for enjoyment/fun. You're a fun runner. Dress it up however you like, but that's what you are. This is not to say you can't be fast or get enjoyment from winning races. But you're still a fun runner.
My own opinion is that the more of group 2 you have in a society, at all levels, the more likely you are to get people getting into group 1. Because of competition, more clubs, healthier clubs and especially because running is seen as a normal thing to do.
Group 2 is a far more varied group than group one and I think it is far too simplistic to categorise them as a homogeneous group. For example you are calling a 14 mins 25 5000m runner a fun runner just like the 15 stone beer swilling 30-35 minute performer. There are also a huge number in between. Both run for hugely different reasons - it is not all just for fun. It is simply innaccurate to state otherwise.
I love to see all levels and standards in races. However, as a sport we need to see what the long term benefit can be. There is a running boom now that accompanies the current economic climate. What can be done to tap into this and look at the future of the sport? For me that is the real issue. How can the next Mad Len be identified? Is he running already? Has he got a good coach?
Absolutely the second group is totally heterogenous. The ways they enjoy it might be different- the back of pack runner might be happy to complete the distance, the middle packer a time and at the front maybe a trophy. But there's no material gain so it's still only for enjoyment for all the different groups.
As for the elites- get the numbers in, make it inclusive and have a decent and experienced high performance structure in place to help them once they identify themselves. The natural competitiveness that most people have means the fastest runners will soon identify themselves. But only if they try it first of course- which is why an inclusive rather than an elitist attitude is the way forward.
Like the old pyramid analogy- the wider the base (numbers of nonelite runners), the higher the peak (chances of finding a world challenging elite).
Yeah I think this is the issue. How do you motivate people to aspire to reach the next level, to aim high and not be content to just show up or only use running for weight management.