Launch 2010

The Essex Athletics Network is up and running!

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After months of planning, discussions and a successful bid for funding to England Athletics, the Essex Athletics Network was officially launched on Saturday 23rd October 2010.

The new Network, one of over 50 nationwide under an England Athletics scheme sponsored by McCain, brings together seven Essex athletics clubs – Basildon AC, Benfleet Running Club, Chelmsford AC, Harlow AC, Havering Mayesbrook AC, Southend-on-Sea AC and Thurrock Harriers – and external partners Chelmsford Borough Council and sportessex. They will work in partnership in a three-year programme to drive up the quality of coaching, improve performance and develop athletics locally by such initiatives as:

  •  Setting up joint projects and sharing coaching and other expertise.
  •  Developing and recruiting more coaches, helpers & officials.
  •  Improving links between clubs, schools, colleges & universities and coordinating initiatives better.

The launch was hosted at the Chelmsford Sport and Athletics Centre by Network partners Chelmsford Borough Council.  Members of the Centre’s Saturday Morning Athletics Fun group took part in relays and GB U18 Internationals Nicola Hill (Havering Mayesbrook) and Georgia Atkins (Chelmsford) presented tee shirts to the winning teams.  Members of the Dovedale Flyers who train at the centre also joined in the occasion.

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Basildon’s Head Coach Steve Reynolds, who has been the leading light behind the new partnership, said “Essex has a strong athletics tradition and many club athletes have gone all the way from school playgrounds to podium places.  By clubs and other partners working together to improve athletics we aim to build on and sustain this fine tradition.”

Tony Benton, who has been appointed as the Network’s “activator” to implement the work programme, said “I’m privileged to be able to be work with so much local talent and to share the wealth of current good practice between clubs and to help them put in place arrangements that will grow the next generation of  champions”.

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Rob Thickpenny, England Athletic Club & Coach Support Officer for Essex, concluded “The McCain’s Athletics Networks bring a much-needed boost to the efforts of hard-working club volunteers and I look forward to these Essex clubs and partners working closely together to build a lasting legacy for athletics in Essex. The next few years will be both exciting and challenging, but this is a great opportunity to develop a system that can be used for years to come.”

25th Oct 2010

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