Podcast #62: CEO looks ahead to 2024 outdoor season

In the latest episode of the England Athletics Podcast, our CEO Chris Jones sits down with host Alex Seftel to look ahead to the 2024 season and discuss priorities within the sport.They talk about changes being made this year, including innovation within competition formats, given England Athletics' decision to trial a three-day format for national championships.

Chris Jones said: "We are moving to a Friday to Sunday format now to free up more space in the calendar for other events and to try and test new approaches to make sure that we can use that Friday evening to create some sort of spectacle and experience for athletes and supporters."

"We are bringing back the Manchester International in August and introducing the inaugural England National Relay Championships the next day after the Manchester International, in Birmingham. So, lots of activity to look forward to. All of that is reliant upon a hard-working volunteer base."

Other topics include work being done to refine qualifications for coaches and officials, as well as how the sport can adapt to the rise in popularity of ultra running.

Chris added: "The number of athletes that are performing really well domestically and further afield in endurance challenges and races is astounding.

"A number of larger commercial organisations are involved in staging some of the longer distance, more risk-laden events where there is a big need to focus on health and safety. As governing bodies, we have got a responsibility to try and share and connect providers together.

"Having that open mindset and being prepared to collaborate, to listen, learn and to share, is fundamentally important in providing services for our athletes. They might not have found their right event yet of course. That is the great thing about the choice that is provided within our sport."

Finally, Chris discusses the 2026 Commonwealth Games, while the search for a host venue continues: "We wait for that decision with anticipation. We believe there are discussions going on with other nations. Even if the competition is put back deeper into 2026, rather than the earlier part of the year, we all hope that takes place. 2022 in Birmingham was a fantastic experience, as it was in 2014 in Glasgow, as it was in 2002 in Manchester and let's hope that the Commonwealth Games remains."

Katarina Johnson-Thompson high jumping at Birmingham Commonwealth Games

We are working with Commonwealth Games England on what Plan B might look like, whether that be some sort of domestic-based Commonwealth Championships or some sort of festival involving specific federations, but more work is to be done on that. Let's hope that the main event is scheduled for 2026 and watch this space."

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