ECCA Annual Open Meeting 2013
18th May 2013
The past year has continued to deliver successful and popular events made possible by the many voluntary helpers on whom we rely to deliver our two annual ECCA Championships.
The problems endured by Mansfield Harriers at Berry Hill Park continue but once again their members rallied to our aid to provide support at the Relays in November. 2012 was the second year of a three year agreement with the park authority and there was a feeling on the day that it might be the last. However we are pleased to be able to report that we will return in 2013 and that Mansfield H. members will once again be assisting. It would be with great reluctance that we would move away from Berry Hill Park given the popularity with the cross country community, even though we are probably reaching the maximum numbers that the park can accommodate.
The “National” delivered its own challenges – as it often does – this time the weather forecasts were fairly accurate and snow arrived with a vengeance, although it was centred on Sunderland and travel wasn’t disrupted until getting close to the venue. Fortunately parking was done on a park and ride service; it could have been a real problem if we had been allowed to park on the site.
Steve Gaines took on the role of Event / Meeting Manager and conducted all of the difficult negotiations about finance, car parking and event safety with Sunderland City Council but the financial support that the City provided was greatly appreciated. Steve was ably supported by North East personnel Kevin Carr, Mike Bateman and Michelle Whittle from the City along with the many helpers from the clubs.
Entry numbers were significantly reduced on recent years – there seems to be a reluctance to travel to the far north! Fortunately the snow stopped soon after competition started but conditions were never going to be easy.
We receive generous praise in the athletics press for the standard and popularity of our championships but we must be alert to the comments raised in Athletics Weekly by the Editor. The Championship committee will be considering the various comments (and criticisms) and determining whether there are any practical solutions that we can apply.
The other area of activity managed by the ECCA is the selections and management of small teams competing in the UK and Europe. Once again our four team managers worked well as a group to provide an effective programme and we look forward to hearing their reports on the season at General Committee.
Your Officers give many hours throughout the year to the work of the ECCA and the wider cross country community and I can only repeat my thanks from previous years to Ian, Richard, Joe, Graham and Jean for their continued commitment and congratulate Pat on her year as President. Sadly we lost Vera Duerdin early in 2013; Vera had done more than many of us can imagine for our sport and she will be greatly missed, not least for the silent stare from the back row when she wasn’t happy with something – the number who attended her funeral service was recognition of how much she was valued.