Track and field is back!

Vicky Griffiths is the England Athletics Competition and Delivery Manager, having joined the organisation in 2022 following a successful career as an athlete.

The middle-distance runner, who represented Great Britain, has been a member of Liverpool Harriers for more than two decades.

During her competitive years, Vicky was an English Schools’ AA and BUSA medallist, a North of England, England, AAAs and CAU Inter Counties champion over 800m, as well as representing England at a number of events home and abroad.

Following her first year in the role at England Athletics, we caught up with Vicky and asked her how 2022 had gone and what her thoughts are ahead of a new year.

Welcome Vicky, and Happy New Year! How was your first year at England Athletics and what were your highlights over the last 12-months?

My first year has been a whirlwind! I joined in March and more or less jumped straight in with Championships delivery which was great! I have learnt a lot! Being a former athlete who had competed at the England Championships, I had some knowledge of the champs but there is A LOT to it that you don’t see or really appreciate as an athlete.

It’s the start of a new year, what are you most looking forward to in 2023?

I am looking forward to applying the learnings from my first year to future champs and putting my own ‘stamp’ on the events. Athletics is changing as a sport with new formats being introduced (for example Dynamic New Athletics) and I am looking forward to being creative and bringing some innovation to England Championships.

Last weekend saw the welcome return of the indoor season and the England Athletics senior and U20 combined events championships – how did it go from your perspective?

It was a great championship! A lot of the athletes achieved personal bests and we had some of the best Combined Eventers in the county open their 2023 season. It was great to incorporate the England 3000m walk championships and to collaborate with BMC, both showcasing some great races and again, some of our best athletes on show.

Is there anything we should expect to see at England Athletics events in 2023 that might be different from last year?

We will continue to collaborate with other providers to provide more competition opportunity at our championships. We will focus on ensuring we provide the best possible experience for everyone who attends our events and that we provide a day to remember for all, regardless of the result on the track!

How important is it for competition providers to seek out new and innovative ways to deliver events and championships – and what might some of those innovations be?

It is so important that as a sport we are continually developing and raising the standard of events. We face a lot of competition from other sports, and as competition providers, we need to ensure that we are bringing innovation into what we provide so that we can offer the same experience that other sports offer.

As a former athlete, how do you think the experiences you had then will help you in this role?

I often relate back to my experiences as an athlete when planning and making any decisions. It is critical that we put the athlete at the heart of what we do and being able to relate back to my experience helps me to do this. There were times when I was competing when I would have liked things to have been done differently or perhaps had a negative experience. These are the things I can now control and change.

What was your experience of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, and do you think it has helped inspire not just new athletes into the sport, but also the next generation of competition and event managers like you?

Joining the organisation during a Commonwealth year was very exciting! It was great to see the planning involved and to be part of the success my colleagues worked so hard towards for four years. I now am now excited to start the planning of the next Commonwealth Cycle. I think a home Games always makes the sport more ‘touchable’ for young athletes and as spectators, we invest more into our athletes. Now is the time to capitalise on the success of the games and ensure a legacy is sustained. We will be planning to host some of our events at the Alexander Stadium to ensure we provide opportunities for our athletes to experience a world class venue on our doorstep!

What made you apply for the role at England Athletics?

As a former athlete, I love the sport and was excited to see the role advertised. My previous role involved working with lots of different sports and I wanted to focus on one – athletics of course was my preferred choice!

How can fans of the sport get involved in athletics, other than competing and spectating?

If they are not at an athletics club already, I would advise heading down to their local athletics track and volunteer in the various roles – such as official, coach, club volunteer or club secretary. Start observing or shadowing people doing the various roles and find something you enjoy most. There are lots of different courses and qualifications for the various aspects of the sport which can be supported by clubs.