Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Licence to Compete

In my wallet there is all sorts of useless stuff, but there's one thing I'm quite proud of. My England Athletics "Competition Licence". Or as I like to think of it, a driving licence for athletes. Apparently, it "confirms my eligibility to compete as an individual in all competitions held under UK Athletics Rules".
In some ways it's a bit of a misnomer. Or certainly for distance running it is. You don't need a competition licence to run in most of the events I do, because you can run as an unaffiliated runner and just pay the £2 extra. If you have a competition licence, you're certainly not forced to use it by entering races. And if you do turn out, there's certainly nothing in the rules that says that you have to actually be competitive...
There are some events I've done which I probably do need the licence for, the northern cross countries are the ones which spring to mind. And maybe if I was good enough, I'd need it to compete at more elite events, or for track and field stuff. So maybe not having a licence would be a good thing, if it meant I was ineligible for that type of torture. But overall I like having it, and I take it out and play with it. I don't like it because it's actually any use, it's more the fact that I am a registered, approved, properly licensed athlete that puts a smile on my face.
On a different subject, I despair at the state of school sports in this country. When I'm out for a run, it's quite pathetic that the local chavs can only keep up with me for a matter of metres before running out of steam. Particularly when I've just run up a nasty hill the day after a half marathon PB.
Obviously, I don't want them to suddenly get impressively fit, because for my own safety I prefer to be able to outrun them (particularly when there's a pack of them as happened last night on a record three occasions). But it would be nice if their sprint pace was a bit closer to my easy run pace...


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