Saturday, December 29, 2012

PRO Report to 2012 convention.

The past year has been quite good for the promotion of athletics in the
county. The Meath running league continues to improve in terms of numbers
taking part and new races on the calendar. There were a number of
developments during the year which benefitted the club running scene in
Meath. Most notable were the comprehensive results and race report features
which the Meath Chronicle began last spring. The photographic coverage and
the full classified results from local road races gave the sport a great PR
boost. The decision of many local clubs to use chip timing facilitated these
features and is to be encouraged. During the past year Meath clubs and their
events featured very prominently in the  FIT magazine supplement which comes
with the Irish Independent each Thursday.

These are positive developments which represent opportunities to bring more
people into the club system. The clubs need to reach out and encourage new
comers into the sport. The revival of road running, meet and train groups
and the return to grassroots sport presents clubs with fresh opportunities.
There are many former athletes now coming back into the club system and this
can have long term benefits particularly for underage athletics. Family
traditions and allegiances count for a lot in sport.

. The races of county Meath are well noted for their hospitality and good
organisation. These factors are important when attracting support. Club
races offer the new runner something different. Lets play to our strengths.
In the current economic climate I would encourage clubs to be mindful of how
they price their races and how they distribute their prizes. Lets ensure
that value for money is another positive aspect of Meath races which will
ensure their continued support.

There are areas for improvement in the coverage of underage track and field.
I feel that the board should be using the schools competition to better
effect. We need to examine how the board and its clubs can derive greater
benefit from work of the development workers. The relationship between the
MLSP and the sport in Meath has great potential and could benefit both
parties. Promotion of local clubs through the schools, meet and train groups
and at events need to be improved and can be by cooperating with schools,
community groups, the community games organisation and the MLSP. The two new
clubs in the county Rathkenny and Duleek made their presence felt from the
word go. Well done to all involved.

The chip timing of the Leinster cross country championships this year was a
great development. It enabled clubs get their results and reports in to the
media much quicker than in the past. Speed is of the essence when you want
coverage. When this is coupled with a report and a few photographs the local
press a very cooperative.

I would like to thank my colleagues on Meath Athletics Board , the Sports
Development office staff , and the club PROs who provided me with results,
reports and photographs during the year.
Thanks to the Meath Chronicle, LMFM, Irish Runner, FIT magazine in the Irish
Independent, Drogheda Independent, Lindie Naughton, Frank Greally, John
Quirke, Racepix365, Leinster Athletics all the media outlets for their
cooperation, coverage and support during the past year.

Ciaran Tobin

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