Growth in Athletics participation in England announced
The combined efforts of people across the sport have been hailed after figures released showed even more people have been taking part in running and athletics.
Chris Jones, England Athletics’ Chief Executive, and Dave Moorcroft, Chair of Run Group, have both praised the combined work of volunteers and organisations across the sport in creating a wide range of opportunities for people to enjoy running and athletics.
Sport England’s Active People Survey measures participation in a wide range of sports and activities. It found a total of 2.162million people aged 16 and over taking part in athletics for at least 30min a week the year from October 2013 to October 2014. This was an increase on the figure of 2.016million for the previous year. With the 14-16 age band included the figure now reaches 2.288million.
Chris Jones, Chief Executive of England Athletics, said, “It is fantastic news for the whole sport to see athletics and running growing. This year we have seen record numbers of registered club athletes and tremendous work being done by volunteers and organisations across the sport in taking running and athletics to an ever broader spectrum of people.
“We at England Athletics know that we must continue to work hard to support the club volunteers, event organisers, running group leaders and other partners in all their endeavours to ensure more people become involved in our sport and are able to enjoy all the experiences and benefits it has to offer. We are very grateful to the people we work with across the sport for the expertise, enthusiasm and innovations they provide.”
Dave Moorcroft, the former 5,000m world record holder is now chair of Run Group, a group made up of representatives of major organisations in the running community. He said, “It is brilliant news that running is continuing to grow in this country. It’s a joy for me that over the 40 years I have been involved in the sport I have seen so many different people of all abilities enjoying running.
“It is the most natural, effective and simple form of physical activity. The growth is the consequence of the good work of so many people, particularly the volunteers in clubs and those who organise the thousands of events across the country who have made the sport incredibly accessible and attractive.”
The survey found that both running and track & field athletics had seen an increase in participation. The number of over 16s running for 30min a week grew from 1.95million to 2.08million and the figures for track & field rose from just under 92,000 to almost 108,000.
In the past year running and athletics have seen a number of notable milestones reached including:
- The number of club athletes registered with England Athletics currently standing at just under 135,000 for 2014-15, already more than 2,000 up on the previous record set in the year of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
- parkrun celebrating its 10th anniversary on 2 October 2014 – after 10 years 5,135,983 runs had been logged in parkruns in the UK alone and the phenomenon had gone global
- The Great North run saw its millionth finisher, Tracey Cramond, crossing the line at the event on 7 September 2014 – the first time such a milestone has been reached in any mass participation event.
Find out more about an athletics club near you at clubfinder.englandathletics.org.
Find out more about parkrun at www.parkrun.org.uk
Visit the Sport England website at www.sportengland.org