Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Membership of Cork athletic clubs is getting older

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Membership of Cork athletic clubs is getting older

One of the most dramatic changes in the composition of athletic clubs in Cork and Ireland over the last few years has been the adult age profile.

Most members of the public would probably assume that adult members of athletic clubs are in their 20's and early 30's. The reality is the exact opposite with relatively few adults in their 20's and the vast majority aged between 35 and 50.

In terms of membership of an athletics club, a Senior is aged from 20 to 34 where as a Master is aged 35 and over.

The age profile of four large Cork clubs illustrates how the adult membership profile has gotten much older of late.

All four would be considered to be large clubs involved mainly in running and road races as opposed to the traditional track and field.

Over the last six years, the change has been dramatic as younger adults in their 20's are generally not attracted to running as a sport.

The membership of St Finbarr's AC typifies this. This club based in Cork City usually had a younger membership than most clubs and back as recently as 2014, roughly one third of its members were Seniors. As of the end of 2018, the club has the same age profile as the rest which is up around 90%.

Just to highlight how dramatic a change that is, consider that in 2014 one in three of its adult members were aged 34 or below. As of the end of 2018, that is now one in ten.

Changing Senior Profile

None of this is the fault of any individual club. It has more to do with the fact that younger adults are not being attracted to the sport.

For example, the nature of a 'Senior' member of a club is changing.

The number of Senior members in athletic clubs in Cork reached a peak in 2014 and hasn't grown since.

A large part of the Senior membership of clubs now are those aged 28-34 who joined via Couch to 5k programmes and the like all over the county. With that being the case then the actual number Senior athletes being active in actual track and field must be very small indeed. Possibly less than 100 in the county if even that many?

The membership figures for the end of 2018 can be found on the Athletics Ireland website.

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