Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Cork now has more Masters club members than Dublin

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Cork now has more Masters club members than Dublin

Athletics Ireland released their latest membership stats yesterday for the end of March 2016. For the first few months of the year, the relative size of a club can be down as much to how good they are at getting their membership renewals in as to how big they actually are. Once May comes around, it's easier to compare the size of the clubs as most people will either have renewed at that stage or not.

Still however, even 3 months of membership figures show some interesting stats.

Cork V Dublin...One of the most suprising stats is that the Cork has now more Masters club members than Dublin.

(Masters...Aged 35 and above, Senior...20-34)

Just to put that into context. The population of Co.Dublin is 1.27million as compared to 519k for Co.Cork. It's pretty suprising that that Cork would have more Masters club members.

This is possibly explained by the relative size of Cork County. There are perhaps more community based groups running whereas in Dublin, everything is a lot more concentrated.

As you can see, there has been been strong growth in the number of masters in Cork over the last few years. A lot of this would be due to new community based groups that started up...e.g. Bweeng, Aghada, Rosscarbery and so on.

You'll also notice from the chart that the number of senior members (20-34) has been pretty flat for both counties. If a comparison is done with the stats of March 2015 with March 2016 then it shows some interesting trends.

1) The number of masters in Cork is up 23%. The vast majority of these would fall under the term 'recreational runner' as opposed to say someone doing track and field athletics. Again, the main reason is probably the new clubs and some growth.

2) Dublin masters are up 1.4%. No great change.

3) The number of Cork Seniors is about the same, down 0.4%.

4) The number of Dublin Seniors is down 8.4%....a worrying sign.

Seniors.....Besides the fact that the number of Cork Masters has passed out Dublin, the big story in all of this is that of the seniors. If you look at the club figures for the end of March 2016 then you'll see that for a lot of clubs in Cork, their overall numbers might be roughly the same but their number of senior members is falling. For example, at the end of March 2015, 75.5% of adults in Cork athletic clubs were masters. Now, it's 79.2%. In brief, the adult members of athletic clubs in Cork are getting older.

If you look at the number of senior members over the last few years, it has been flat. If the number of those aged 35 and above has grown by 23% in Cork alone then it's very likely that those aged say between 28 and 34 probably went up as well. If that's the case, what has happened to number of senior club members aged between say 20 and 27?

The overall numbers for Athletics Ireland membership show the situation more clearly...
Over the last year, the number of masters went from 13335 to 13702, a jump of 2.8%. The number of senior members however dropped from 3807 to 3321, a drop of 12.8%. That's a lot in just one year. The overall total figure for adults went from 17142 to 17023, a drop of 0.7%.

That raises the obvious question? Where are all the senior members? Why are there fewer people aged 20 to 34 in athletic clubs? Is it the improving economy? People are busier? Less time?


Anonymous said...

Maybe younger runners are seeing elite and top level athletes 'juiced up' or 'doped up' and thinking thats not for me. Same in other sports too as we all heard in news recently. Credibility gone in elite athletes. Sad but true.Who;s gonna watch Rio and think they are all clean? How many female runners in 2012 1500m were caught cheating? No wonder numbers are down for senior runners at club level.

Anonymous said...

Some good points there...

Anonymous said...

I don't think its that at all. Competition from other sports is a big thing especially triathlon and cycling. Juvenile carry through not happening . The top end runners are still there but not the next 80% . No way you can suggest top irish athletes don't have credibility surely ?? They are the role models for Irish youth.
Clubs need to retain juveniles via coaching structures and development plans. Wont keep them all but more than now. Also maybe links with other sports in their off seasons to use their talent. plenty of GAA and tri lads for instance can run 17-18 min 5ks off their own training , get them in.
Other factors are more people working again, and people with a few bob more going away at weekends and not racing /training, running for a year or two and moving on to next trend etc
Worrying trend , echoed in galway where I am living. Demographic in adult running is well 40+ these days,

Anonymous said...

Agree with cycling and triathlon points, they are taking from running. Don,t think anybody mentioned top irish athletes though, even though every country probably thinks their top athletes are clean.I,d like to think majority of irish athletes are playing by the rules; although just being irish is no guarantee.(Michelle Smith, Martin Fagan, Cathal Lombard Colvert the sprinter.

Anonymous said...

I am not surprised that the senior athletes are disappearing . Not so long ago I spoke to a few junior athletes thats u 20 that had retired from athletics and asked why.
Answer we have been competing since we were u 8 and that's almost 12 years . The fun has gone out of athletics and if you are now not given 6days a week then it's time to get out and enjoy life they said. Today's children are high achievesrs and do not what to be paddy last.

Anonymous said...

Not too sure what last poster's last sentence is about. Good points about competing since u8 though, only the real commited stick with it' as they get older training becomes bit more stressful and if they are not winning things a lot of them opt out.

Anonymous said...

Try and keep as many juniors in the sport is one way. Things like local leagues or distance runs 3/5k on grass for eg less competitive but fun races for 17-early 20s,
recruiting new talent should be done by clubs , get onto colleges and unis, advertise with gyms for short programmes 6-8 weeks, look at other sports and target them in close seasons, invite GAA teams to run an open cross country race for eg. loads of talent out there. Most GAA lads and ladies are as fit as any runner up to 5k distance.