England Athletics to lead road race licensing

We are pleased to announce that England Athletics will take over the day-to-day leadership of road race licensing and support services to race directors in England from 1 September.

This transfer of responsibilities from UK Athletics [UKA] represents one of a number of ongoing developments in making accountability for servicing and supporting the domestic sport in England/UK ever clearer.

We are also delighted to inform people that experienced road race director Barry Hopkins has joined the organisation to head up our road race services activities and to oversee the future development of the road race licensing system and support services in England.

In consultation with road race providers, we will also be reviewing our approach to licensing, road race standards, guidance and training in the coming period and will communicate any further planned developments as and when appropriate to those affected.

As part of these changes the runbritain brand will be phased out and the responsibility for the website and review of its ongoing development will move across to England Athletics. In the immediate term users will notice little if any difference to the look and feel of the race director portal and website but we will put together a plan for positive change during the coming months and users will gradually notice this as we look to improve the functionality accordingly.

In the meantime, it is our aim to ensure we focus on enhancing the value and service that we provide in support of the road race community, knowing how important running, and running events are to our nation.

CEO of England Athletics Chris Jones said: “Coming out of the pandemic there are some real challenges faced by road race organisers that we need to work to better understand and address through a collaborative approach. The world is very different to the one that we realised pre pandemic and whilst the number of road races continues to recover to 2019 levels, with rising costs and less overall participants entering races, we feel this is the right time to ensure that our support services for road race organisers are as good as they can be, and this will mean review but also change to the way in which we work as National Governing Bodies.

“This period has given us all the opportunity to review where licensing and support services to road race organisers best sit and the conclusion we have all come to is that the home country federations are dealing with club and local facility and infrastructure matters daily, so it is right for the responsibility to sit with that organisation hence these changes. We will very much continue to collaborate with UKA to ensure a smooth transition over the coming months, particularly when it comes to reviewing the UKA rules of competition that are updated every two years and which directly reference road racing regulations.

“It is important that we collaborate with event providers of different nature, size and focus and better understand how we can add true value to their important work. Road racing is vitally important to this country and not only supports the development of road racing performance standards and positively impacting the physical and mental wellbeing of the nation but contributes so much more in terms of impacting the local economy and raising valuable funds for charitable causes. We also established a cross parliamentary group for running during 2021 and will look to align all this work together under England Athletics as we work to support the road race calendar across England but also influence government at all levels to benefit road racing across the nation.”

It is expected that Welsh Athletics and Athletics Northern Ireland will establish their own schemes for their own nations because of these changes too. Scottish Athletics already operates its own licensing programme.

For any question relating to this announcement and Road Race Licensing queries in general please contact our Road Race Services Manager, Barry Hopkins: barryhopkins@englandathletics.org