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Survey of ARC clubs - Summer 2008

We have been asked to put on the website a note of the results of the Membership Questionnaire that was carried out earlier this year, so here is a brief summary of the responses.

Level of Response
The Questionnaire was sent to all ARC member clubs. We had a response from 19%, which, at first glance, is disappointing but is not, we understand, far from typical for such surveys. Could, of course mean, that everyone is totally satisfied!

The following is a brief summary of the Survey results.

 1. Reasons for joining ARC
The weighted responses indicated that decisions to join were chiefly influenced by:
Less administration                                 
Support of grass roots running 
Fees and costs                              
Simple Permit procedures

(ARC Comment: we were quite pleased with these reasons because they tally closely with why ARC was established)

2. Did club vote about joining.
Asked whether their club had voted on whether to affiliate to ARC, 35% had done so without a vote by members.

3. How many held dual membership (with EA)
80% of the responding clubs said they also belonged to EA and gave the following reasons for joining that body

·                    Members want to enter EA races and championships.

·                    To avoid the unattached levy.

·                    To secure London Marathon places.

·                    To allow juniors to compete in T&F.

·                    Training and qualification for coaches.

(ARC Comment: These reflect the concerns some clubs expressed when ARC was founded and which stopped many from affiliating to ARC. We said at that time that such worries were overstated and the past 18 months have proved that to be the case, although we fully understand why many of our members have taken a cautious approach)

4. Views on having ARC Championships
Only 15% of responding clubs said they did not want any ARC championships.  Most favoured staging 10k and ½ marathon races, but 30% also wanted to see a 10 mile and marathon included.

A hefty majority thought any championship should be staged in conjunction with an existing race.  Regionally based races were favoured. Any championship must be held at a weekend to stand any chance of success.

(ARC Comment: We will take these comments into consideration in planning for 2009. We do agree that ARC championships should be staged in conjunction with existing ARC permitted races and we feel that race location should be such as to ensure a championship entry of at least 100 ARC club members). 

5. Views about the Website  (
All clubs thought that the website fulfilled current needs of the membership.  The following additional comments were offered:

·                    There should be a Diary for races staged by ARC members with a link to the  
     entry form.

(ARC Comment: There is a complete list of ARC permitted races on the website with links to the race/club website whenever supplied by the organiser. The entry form/online entry is, with very few exceptions, available on the event website).

·                    More advice for race organisers would be welcomed.

(ARC Comment: Agree the desirability of this. Some very useful advice already exists on the ARC website but we will endeavour to continually build on this).

·                    Not enough current news.

(ARC Comment: AGREE! We hope to improve this but ARC is run by a small group of unpaid volunteers and we would appreciate receiving news from right across our membership. So if you have something you think might well feature just email it).

·                    Find your nearest club by inserting a postal code.

(ARC Comment: We have an England map (with key) upon which the location of all ARC clubs are shown. This is updated regularly).

·                    Change membership page so that club links are HYPERLINKS.

(ARC Comment: The club membership list is based on an SQL database. These links are not live due to a limitation with the script that displays the links on a web page. The links can be copied and pasted into the address area of an internet browser. However, we are seeking ways of improving on this set-up).

·                    What about on-line permit applications?

(ARC Comment: Forms are already available on line but because associated documents need to be sent through the post we believe on line application is not currently practical. We believe that most members are happy with the system and many have favourably commented on the speed and ease of the ARC permit process).

 6. Should we have a Newsletter.
Over 80% of those responding thought we should The majority wanted the newsletter, if produced, to be downloadable from the website. Suggestions for topics included:

·                    News of committee meetings, areas of development, club news, What are EA up to,
     national perspective.

·                    Feature member clubs

·                    General running related topics e.g. health & safety legislation

·                    Committee member profiles (UGH!)

·                    Race reports of all ARC races not just championships

·                    Progress and benefits of ARC

·                    Hints for race organisers

(ARC Comment: Agree in principle, and a web based Newsletter would be the economic way to go BUT in practice there are two difficulties – first, we need to have a dedicated editor and, secondly, it won’t work without a constant flow of news from members. If there is anyone out there who would volunteer to edit a newsletter please get in touch with the ARC Secretary. The problem of getting news in was touched on in the Website comments above and we repeat the request for members to not hesitate in sending news, views, reports etc.)

7. Other Comments
A number of respondents added ad hoc comments, many of them congratulatory (e.g. “Keep up the good work”) and we have noted all of them for future reference and action where relevant.

Ely Runners win first ARC Long Distance Relay Title.
The first ARC Long Distance Relay Championship was incorporated into the Round Norfolk Relay held over 15/16th September 2007.  Divided into 17 different road and multi-terrain stages, 50 teams (850 runners) in various categories started in waves from Lynnsport and ran through the night.  The ARC closed championship for ARC member clubs (10 teams) was one of a number of team competitions within the race.

In an extremely close affair, Ely Runners just got home ahead of Norwich Road Runners by a mere 90 seconds over the 193 miles!  Some way back in third place were North Norfolk Beach Runners.  A special mention must be made of Norwich Road Runners Ladies who won their category from City of Norwich AC Ladies in a new course record time for the RNR and came a very creditable 4th in the Arc trophy.
Individually, there were some outstanding achievements lead by Garden City’s Terry Fowler who won the Paul Evans Trophy for the Best
master performance with an age-graded score of 84.48%.  Individual stage wins were achieved by Tracey Curl, Norwich Road Runners; Ian Day, Ely Runners; Nicola Corn; Wayne Utting; Penny Edwards and Emma Combes all of Norwich Road Runners.

Ian Day - Winner of stage 2 in a record breaking time

Adam Etches finishes the
final stage at King's Lynn
for Ely Runners

Alan Rutterford (Ely Runners) receiving an award from Dick Meredith, the ARC Chairman

The ARC Shield and individual medals were presented to Ely Runners by Dick Meredith, Chairman ARC.
It is to be hoped that more ARC clubs will take up the challenge of this unique event in 2008 over the weekend 20/21st September.  For more information see:

Ian Vaughan-Arbuckle
    Race Director RNR.

               Team Results
                                                                  Time            Pace per mile
1.         Ely Runners                                 21:34:13              6:42.2
2.         Norwich Road Runners (C)            21:35:43              6:42.7
3.         North Norfolk Beach Runners (A)   22:26:09              6:58.4
4.         Biggleswade AC                           24:34:29             7:38.2
5.         Norwich Road Runners (Ladies)     24:52:24             7:43.0
6.         Garden City Runners                    25:51:39              8:02.2
7.         Wymondham AC                         25:59:58              8:04.0
8.         Ramsey Road Runners                 26:07:29             8:07.0
9.         Norwich Road Runners (B)            26:24:22             8:12.4
10.       North Norfolk Beach Runners (B)   27:04:38             8:24.9

      ARC Half Marathon Championships - Sunday 9th September 2007

The first ever ARC Championships were hosted by the 17th Grunty Fen Half Marathon near Ely, Cambs on Sunday 9th September 2007.

In these early days of our organisation we considered it important to show our members that we had a commitment to providing the kind of activities they expect from an affiliating body.

Given our start-up situation and hence comparatively low level of publicity, we always expected that the entry would be largely confined to East Anglian clubs yet were delighted that 103 runners entered these first ARC Championships. Those ARC club members who ran seemed pleased to be involved with something new. The winners and category placed runners were rewarded with the elegant new ARC shields and gold, silver and bronze style Championship medals.

Mayor of Ely, Cllr Ron Bradley, started the 633 entry race. The runners follower a relatively level course of two different loops around the levels of Grunty Fen and twice through the village of Witchford where there was enthusiastic support. Conditions were hotter than expected, slightly humid but with little wind.

The 1st ARC (senior) man was Mark Dickinson of Garden City Runners in 1:16:15 and the 1st ARC (senior) woman was Martha Hal of Garden City Runners in 1:27:33. Werrington Joggers won the men's team race (4 score) by 1 point from Ely Runners and also the women's team race (3 score) by 2 points from Garden City Runners. For the full results go to and click here for details of ARC awards.

The ARC 1st man and 1st woman shields and individual medals were announced by ARC Chairman Richard Meredith and presented by the Mayor of Ely, Cllr Ron Bradley.

Our thanks go to Race Director John Turner and his team for incorporating the ARC Half Marathon Championships into this popular and well organised event.

For 2008, we plan to have 4 or 5 championship events, in different parts of the country, covering the popular road running distances and probably one cross-country. We hope that these will become well supported features of the road running calendar.

Athletics Weekly article - 13th June 07
13th June. Today’s issue of Athletics Weekly carried an article by Charles Gains, former Chairman of England Athletics NW Region who, last March, along with three colleagues, resigned because of dissatisfaction with the way that organisation was being run. The main purpose of his article is to warn potential candidates for election to regional positions that, despite the fine words in the job description, their autonomy is in reality constrained by the dictats of Sport England. In addition he also poses the much asked question – who pays for the EA set up when the current lottery funding runs out? Well worth a read.
(We don’t mention this article for the sake of “knocking copy” about EA but rather to underpin ARC’s contention that EA is a costly option for clubs, especially long term, and has no effective democratic basis. It’s useful to have this supported by someone who has seen it from the inside.)

The complete article has been published on the ABAC web site with the permission of AW.
Please click here to see the entire article

ARC's first permitted race - 13th May 07

The Marlow 5, organised by ARC member Handy Cross Runners, was held today in torrential rain! See photo left. For more photos, information and results see

ARC is Operational
A letter from Dick Meredith, Chairman of the Steering Committee. Click here to view

ARC Launches officially - 1st April 07
In a few months ARC has already received paid-up membership applications from over 100 clubs and organisations - a total exceeding 10,000 individual members. Many more clubs have advised ARC that they will be affiliating but have not yet submitted the paperwork. See Membership list.

ABAC advice on registering with England Athletics - Click here

The Round Norfolk Relay joins ARC 07

The prestigious RNR, now in its 21st year, has affiliated to ARC.  Unique as the only continuous, long distance, multi terrain relay in the British athletics calendar, the RNR attracts entries from all over the country.  This year a team from Holland has entered. After starting (and finishing) in King’s Lynn, the 193 mile course follows the boundary of Norfolk.

 The course is divided into 17 unequal stages, the shortest being around 5 ½ miles and the longest, run at night, just under 20.  Unlike other long-distance events, the RNR is a true relay with a standard baton passed from one runner to another.
The event is a real challenge which will test a clubs ability to organise a major undertaking, but the rewards and memories of a great weekend are quite simply unforgettable.  For further information see

ARC Half Marathon Championships    For details click here
ARC will be integrating its championships into open events, the first of which to be announced is the ARC Half Marathon Championships incorporated into the popular Grunty Fen Half Marathon (awarded a Gold graded rating by BARR), held annually in September. This year's event is taking place on Sunday 9th September at Witchford. near Ely, Cambs. (see ) .

Athletics Weekly - 1st March 07
The 1st March edition of Athletic's Weekly (Page 12) carried two items about ARC. One was a succinct explanation from Michael White of why ARC had been founded. The other was an interview with Dave Bedford by Jason Henderson, Editor of AW, in which DB stated that he shares similar frustrations to ARC but felt that they had jumped the gun. He claimed that his requests to meet up and talk with ARC had been ignored. That claim requires some elaboration. It is correct that we had two emails from him asking us to delay the launch of ARC pending some discussion with the RRLG. That request came just two days before our launch date (the mail out envelopes were already stuffed). Since that launch had been carefully timed to ensure that running clubs received an affiliation option in plenty of time to consider it in advance of the England Athletics start date of 1st April, any delay at that point was quite impractical.