As a coach, I often get asked about different running clubs and what they have to offer. It’s easy to be objective as every running club has its own style of delivery and ‘core offer’ in terms of training, competitions and the social side of running club life.
What Helps Make the Right Choice?
It really depends on what you want, firstly from your own running, secondly, from the club. So why would you join a highly competitive club if all you require is the social element that a club has to offer? Conversely, if you want to compete and let’s say improve your Run Britain ranking through road racing why would chose a club that offers little opportunity to compete?
Decision making is largely very personal and based on the needs of the athlete, but, other contributing factors can be geography, cost or simply the size of the club. Is the club local, or do you prefer to train alone? Are there accessible coaches, if so what sessions do they provide? Are there track and field options as well as good winter training with cross country competitions or fell championships? It’s a big decision to join a club, it’s also a big decision to change clubs when/if you feel the club can no longer meet your needs.
How Does This Work?
Firstly, you need to formally resign in writing in the first instance this is usually to the club secretary. Secondly, you need to complete a transfer form from England Athletics.
There is a small fee for this transfer process which in essence is for the administration of the transfer. You will retain your EA affiliation number so there is no need to relearn for future race applications!
There is also the option to run for a second club which is commonly referred to as second claim status. This is a simple process and you will simply need to make an application for membership and acknowledge that you require second claim status. Why would an athlete need to do this? Simple, sometimes competitions require that you hold first claim status to count in results. Athletes may well want a second claim club to run different types of races or for the social element of a club but don’t want to compete under the club name. There are lots of options out there and aside from registered clubs there are also registered running groups available which may suit some runners who require a less formal arrangement.
Whatever you decide, make a decision that meets your needs at the time of registration. Don’t forget your running is about you making sure that you do what you can to ‘be the best you can be’