Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Athletics Ireland membership growth grinds to a halt in 2018

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Athletics Ireland membership growth grinds to a halt in 2018

Athletics Ireland have just released their membership stats for the end of December 2018 and here are some of the key points...

1) Membership numbers have effectively stopped growing

2) A drop in Juvenile numbers

3) Masters numbers (adults aged 35 and above) continues to grow

4) Senior numbers (adults aged 20-34) level off

The stats in more detail....

Overall Membership...At the end of 2018, the membership figure for Athletics Ireland stood at 60,670. This is just 0.3% up on the figure for 2017.

As can be seen from the chart above, Athletics Ireland set an ambitious target back in 2016 of 70,000 members by 2020. The growth for 2017 was reasonable but 2018 was a watershed year when the growth in membership effectively stalled.

The chart below shows a breakdown of the membership of Athletics Ireland by category...

Juniors... This a small group aged about 19 years old sandwiched between the Juveniles and Seniors. As the chart shows, the numbers are reasonably steady.

Juveniles... These are the Juvenile numbers in more detail. After years of growth, there was a drop in 2018.

Masters (Adults aged 35 and over)... This is the one sector that has continued to grow and this is due to what are termed 'recreational runners' joining clubs and Couch to 5k programmes.

Senior Membership (adults aged 20-34)... This chart is perhaps the most telling. Senior membership reached a peak in 2014 and it is now roughly 1,600 lower. The one positive from the chart is that the decline in Senior membership seemed to have stopped.

Athletics Ireland is getting older.... The one effect of all these extra masters runners joining is that the Athletics Ireland adult member is getting increasingly older. It has gone from about 71% in 2012 to 82% in 2018.

This is almost contrary to what most people expect from an athletics organisation where the bulk of adult members would be expected to be under 35 years old.

As many of those Senior members aged between say 28-34 are recreational runners then the actual numbers involved in track and field athletics must be pretty small and dropping. Nationally, it would probably be only several hundred adults.

The full stats can be seen on the Athletics Ireland website.


Anonymous said...

I guess in Ireland a big thing is Hurling and football, add to that soccer and Rugby. Most younger people would be involved in these and there would be a big push from school and the community. Its not until people are older that they may get into running. I know that is what I'm seeing with a lot of people, they finish up with teams sports and look for a new outlet and running is a popular choice

Anonymous said...

If that drop off of Juvenile into Adult occurred in any other sport there would be a National emergency plan put in place. Why work so hard to get children up to 18 as good athletes and then not ensure a smooth transition into Senior ranks.
Our Clubs and races are more interested in Category Prizes for older runners. Yes keep these but put some incentive to the younger people who are not elite to keep them in the sport.
Free entry to races for students, prizes for under 25 category.. So much could be done but we are trying the same old things in a generation that has completely changed what it wants

Anonymous said...

Added to which, so many "athletics" clubs seem to be solely dedicated to running at juvenile level. I would love to see more coaching and participation in the field events, if nothing else to provide variety for those who don't necessarily excel on the track or cross country. Of course competent and confident coaches required!

Anonymous said...

I have been saying this for ages, we need more junior incentive, allow them in more road races, too many races have age limit, while i understand reasons we need to overcome them