Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Huge drop in Cork Novice Cross Country numbers...

Saturday, October 02, 2021

Huge drop in Cork Novice Cross Country numbers...

I got an interesting email from a reader of the blog during the week about the recent Cork county 'novice' cross country championships and how the numbers have collapsed this year.

The results which were posted on the MyRunResults website show how the numbers for men dropped about 66% this year and the women were down 62%.

In 2020, there were 13 teams from clubs in or near Cork City in the men's race while this year, that number was down to just 6. 

In the women's race, the number of teams dropped from 10 in 2020 to just 3 which means that the team in the Bronze position this year also finished last.

Why the drop???... There are probably several reasons. As the blog reader wrote... "the Cork Athletics board are living in their own bubble of self importance" and it's hard not to agree. The majority of runners in Cork are not members of an athletic club and most of those that are have little or no interest in cross country. It wasn't very bright going head to head with the Charleville Half-Marathon which WAS the main event last Sunday and not some cross country race that they thought should be the main event on the day.

The big drop in numbers may also reflect the big drop in athletic club membership this year. Club membership runs from January to December every year which meant that in 2020, most members had already joined a club before the pandemic started in March last year. At the start of 2021 with no training and no races, there was very little reason for people to join a club this year.

€300,000+... About a decade ago, the Cork athletics board pushed though a controversial motion to spend over €300,000 on a dedicated cross country course near Riverstick, about 3 miles to the south of Carrigaline. At the time, it was passed by a very slim majority with a lot of the clubs believing the money would be better spent helping to establish training facilities around the county.

As the blog reader pointed out, here is a facility that probably cost well in excess of €300,000 at this stage, lies idle for 11 months of the year and is used for a race that attracts just 61 adults. Meanwhile, all of the other normal counties all over Ireland seem to be getting on fine holding their cross country races without spending hundreds of thousands of Euro.