Blog from our Chair and CEO

On behalf of everyone at England Athletics, we wanted to thank you all for everything that you have committed to our great sport during 2023. We also wish you and your close ones a very happy holiday season, and hope you are able to recharge your batteries ahead of an action packed 2024 athletics and running season across England.

It won’t be long until the opening events of the 2024 EA indoor season are upon us, with athletes preparing through area and regional competitions ahead of the national stage. Our first indoor track and field competition takes place on the first weekend in January, and as ever this promises to be a fiercely competitive environment as athletes start as they mean to carry on in the forthcoming calendar year. Many of these athletes will have their hearts set on representative honours during the season - we wish them all the very best of success in these endeavours whilst thanking all the volunteers who work tirelessly to provide the foundations for athletes to perform.

National championships

The England Athletics National Indoor Championships, staged at the EIS in Sheffield, are always a real highlight and an opportunity for us all to witness some fantastic performances by those talented athletes taking part. Many of the past and present stars of our sport in England and across the UK have competed in these championships, so this year’s participants are following the path towards greatness.

Many will mark the indoors as the start of the countdown to the first outdoor track and field competitions and as a sign that spring is just around the corner. With 2024 rapidly approaching, let us all hope that this marks yet another year of fine performances from our athletes, following a successful 2023. English athletes performed magnificently on the global stage when representing Great Britain and Northern Ireland at senior and age group level and also when wearing a Team England vest. It was particularly pleasing to see the performances of our Commonwealth Youth Games team in Trinidad and Tobago during the summer, delivering a fantastic medal haul of 24 for Team England. We are all extremely proud of their achievements but also of the feats of all the athletes that represented England during 2023. Throughout 2024 we will continue to deliver our varied programme of international team fixtures, and to those competing in early 2024 with hopes and aspirations to compete for your country - we wish you all the very best of success.


We continue to produce extremely talented young athletes in England, thanks to the tireless work of clubs, coaches, parents and carers, and competition providers at all levels of the domestic sport. We of course need to continue to work hard at all levels to evolve our sport and to embrace change, and to innovate to retain participants in our sport, all the while putting the interests of the athletes at the forefront of our thinking and action.

Local competition

As a sport we face competition from other sports and other activities – the world is a busy place with many pulls on people’s time - so we need to think creatively about how we deliver our sport in an age where choice is rich, and we live in an era where the digital age is central to informing those choices. This is not going to change, and we need to adapt as a sport and to not be complacent. What worked 5, 10, 30 years ago will not necessarily work now and we all need to acknowledge that and move with the times. Thankfully there are many people in the sport who recognise this and who are tackling this opportunity and challenge head on, particularly in the competition space where often 'local' is better with shorter timetables and overall athlete and spectator experience being at the heart of planning and delivery. At England Athletics, we are focused on supporting those who share that ambition for evolution and modernisation to ensure that we can continue to develop talented athletes, quality coaches, high class technical officials and a breadth and depth of volunteers to sustain our sport. We cannot do this alone naturally and it will take a collective effort at all levels. It is best that we work collaboratively at all times to ensure that the future of our sport is healthy – what better legacy is there to leave than that we ask?

International competition

Over the years we have seen many athletes enjoy their first taste of national championship indoor competition at England Athetics events, with many of our youngest athletes taking important steps in their development towards future success as seniors. With the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games taking place during 2024, and with athletes competing for places to be in the European Age Group champs this year too, I am sure that some athletes competing in the coming weeks will have set their sights on selection for those competitions, if not in this year, then certainly in the future, as well as other representative fixtures during the next few years including a home European Championships and future Commonwealth Games events. We should not forget that as we write this blog, there continues to be a plethora of cross country and road/multi-terrain competition taking place across England, and this varied and diverse range of competitions is fundamentally important to supporting the athlete journey, whatever age, background, or ability level.

Volunteers supporting athletes

Each athlete competing during this period represents the efforts and commitment of the many people who have supported them, giving their time and expertise to helping the athlete prepare as well as they can. Their coach, club team managers, the athletes they have trained and competed with, many other volunteers in the club setting, and, of course, parents and family have all made significant contributions to the performances we will see during the next few weeks and deeper into 2024. We would like to thank, as ever, each person who has given help, in whatever form, to the athletes. The advice, encouragement and input given through good times and harder days is essential to these athletes and it is essential to our sport.

Our Technical officials

We would like to thank every technical official who is involved in our sport for their contributions during 2023 and the many other events they are involved in throughout the year, without them these events would not be able to take place. We are actively working at England Athletics to increase the number of volunteer officials coming into our sport and those working at these championships serve as role models for those coming into our sport and as standard bearers to those who have ambitions to follow in their footsteps. In October 2023, England Athletics took greater responsibility and accountability for the licensed coach and officials education pathway in the UK. This is a significant development and one that we are all committed to at EA. We want the views of coaches and officials as to what they feel is working well, what could be improved, and how this could be done. We are here to build a healthy breadth and depth of coaches and officials and will do all we can to ensure this happens, always keeping in mind that our volunteers are pressurised for time and that we need to remove unnecessary barriers and bureaucracy to ensure a great experience when signing up to undertake a qualification. The same principles apply as outlined earlier in this foreword when talking about athlete experience.

Our affiliated clubs and member bodies

We would also like to thank our 1800 member clubs and bodies and the 172,000 registered athletes and runners across England whose annual affiliation and registration fees are invaluable in helping England Athletics to be able to put on a large number of these events and competitions across the country during the calendar year. Without this support our job would be so much more difficult. Thanks also go to our sponsors and funding partners, particularly Sport England, for their continued support of athletics and running across England. We would also like to thank all the facility providers across the country for their ongoing support to our clubs, competition providers and schools that utilise those purpose build indoor and outdoor facilities to further our sport and its participants.


Our sport contributes so much to the physical and mental wellbeing of our nation. Our sport is diverse, rich in opportunity and choice, and inclusive and accessible by nature. We must all celebrate this and champion it wherever and whenever we can. We are indebted to the countless individuals and organisations that make our sport what it is but remember that we are far stronger together and that there is much more that unites than divides us as we look to develop and leave a healthy legacy for those that come after us to enjoy.

Enjoy the coming period of indoor competition and we trust you will continue to have an enjoyable and rewarding involvement in the sport during 2024, whatever your role may be.

Chris Jones – CEO England Athletics

Gary Shaughnessy – Chair England Athletics