The R.W.A. is keen to encourage the promotion of walking events in new areas and a number of items of information may assist the inexperienced organizer.
If you are used to promoting running events, you will find that the same general principles apply with variations arising from the technical requirements of race walking. The following subjects are dealt with here.
PROMOTING RACE WALKS I THE BASICS: Why do it?
date Track or road?
PROMOTING RACE WALKS II THE TECHNICALITIES: Category
race Permits Levies
PROMOTING RACE WALKS III PUBLICITY
PROMOTING RACE WALKS IV IN CONCLUSION
WHY DO IT?
Whatever your reason may be for wishing to promote a race walking event you should bear in mind that it is not a way to make a lot of money, as entry fees (and perhaps the sale of programmes containing paid advertising) will have to meet the costs of hire of premises, numbers and pins, prizes or trophies, refreshments for the competitors in longer events, officials' expenses and first-aid cover. If you are able to attract sponsorship from a local company or organisation, so much the better, but remember that they will want their name publicised in return. There is no objection to calling an event something like "The Bloggs & Co. Open Race Walks".
The main reason
for promoting a walking
event is simply to provide the competitors with a race. This may
be an event open to anyone who wishes to enter, or you may feel
inspired to put on a County, Area or National Championship. You
may, again, wish to give an opportunity for race walking in one
of the "fallow" areas of the country, in which case
you will need to make your race attractive enough to encourage
the participation of walkers from far afield, as well from nearby.
FINDING A DATE
The number of active race walkers is
limited, so if you wish to have
a good level of participation in your event, you should try to avoid
clashing with another one, especially one that is well established and
has its own loyal following. In fact, if you choose a date that does clash, you may well find that
you are refused a Permit! You are, in particular, very unlikely to be
given a permit if you clash with a National or Area Championship. The
R.W.A. has a National Fixtures Coordinator, who will be very willing to
give advice on the subject. You should start by checking the Fixture
Pages of this web site, which contain all events know to the
Coordinator. A new set of fixtures is produced every six months (in
September and April) and, as events change or are added (or, of course,
deleted) the pages are modified; they are not updated periodically but
are changed as soon as an alteration is notified; the main Fixture Page
and the individual Lists
show when the last modification took place. The six-monthly lists are
published in paper form when first assembled but the philosophy of
fixture lists is that they are out of date as soon as they are printed!
You should keep your eye on the web site.
Although shorter races are frequently on the track, longer ones – say above 10 kilometres – are usually on the road, partly from tradition and partly because walking long distances on the track is boring. The standard international distances of 20 and 50 kilometres (at 50 and 125 laps respectively) are thought by many walkers to be positively mind-rotting. It should be noted that "road" includes any decent surface (tarmac, concrete, etc.) and is not necessarily the public highway.
Both track and road walking have advantages and disadvantages of their own.
|Not usually many casual bystanders to offer their inexpert and facetious opinions||Expensive - perhaps £200 to hire|
|It is occasionally possible to share with a track and field meeting; there are often times, especially in a combined events meeting, when the track is spare||The difficulty of sharing, perhaps with runners warming up and with throws going on in the infield while the walkers occupy the track|
|Safe for young competitors who cannot easily wander off and get lost||The young competitors' parents may well be present, shouting advice all the time|
|There is always another walker perhaps a lap behind or a lap in front to have a fight with||The depressing effect of being lapped several times|
|Progress is rapid; you soon knock off another lap||Dropping out is very public and so is being disqualified|
|Very cheap and generally free||Difficulty of finding a suitable venue – park, industrial estate on a Sunday afternoon or public highway|
|Not many recorders needed to keep count of the laps, which are larger and therefore fewer||More marshals needed to stop people from taking the wrong turning; no-one ever got lost on a track!|
|Varied terrain; ups and downs to make it more interesting||Possibility of not seeing any other competitors for some time|
|Scenery may or may not be more attractive than on a track||Traffic, children, dogs and hecklers|
|Experienced walkers prefer road walking as more "real"||The police don't like it and do their best to
discourage it when it is on the public highway
When you have decided on track or road, there are a number of things to be considered.CATEGORY OF THE RACE
The following races must be Category A: National, Area and County Championships and international events. For all other events, the category is at the discretion of the promoter. There are certain other conditions attaching to various particular events such as relays, long-distance events (i.e., more than 50 kilometres), etc. These are detailed in the R.W.A. Handbook, which is available for a modest fee from The Editor.
If you propose to promote an event, therefore, you will have to decide what it is for, at whom it is aimed and whether you are, in fact, free to choose the Category.
Any open race walk in the United
Kingdom, the Isle of Man or
the Channel Islands must have
a Permit, to show that it is properly
recognized by the walking authorities. The Permit carries with
it considerable insurance cover. For England, the Isle of Man
and the Channel Islands, the Permit is issued by the R.W.A. This
Web Site contains a Permit
Form that you may print off and send, with the appropriate
fee, to the address given. Permits for events in Northern Ireland,
Scotland and Wales must be obtained from the Head of the U.K.
Athletics Race Walking Competition Policy and Support Team, who
can be contacted by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Within the territory of the R.W.A., it
is a condition of issue of the Permit that the
results of all Category A
events be forwarded to the three Area Honorary Handicappers; in
the case of events included in the Younger Age Groups' Grand Prix, the
results must also be forwarded to the the Grand Prix Co-ordinator.
Stamped and addressed envelopes will be provided for this purpose.
The Permit system is used not only to
ensure that promotions are up to scratch but also to try to maintain
some order in the Fixture Lists. Please note, therefore, that if you
try to organise your event on a date that causes a clash with an
existing event you may be refused a Permit. There is no hard and fast
rule about what constitutes a clash and, in general, commonsense
applies. A small local event in Lancashire would not be regarded as
clashing with a similar fixture in Kent, but a major open fixture in
Surrey probably would be
regarded as a clash with a similar one in London.
You will be very unlikely to receive a
Permit for an event that clashes with a National or Area Championship,
although even then commonsense would prevail; the General Secretary
would probably not object to a local 3000 metre race on the same day as
the National 100 Mile Championship, for example.
An important source of income for the
Race Walking Association arises
from levies on race entry fees. For each entry fee received in an Open
Race, the organisers are required to remit to the R.W.A. the sum of
50p. Certain races are exempted from this requirement: National
Championships: Area Championships: events
for which the entry fee is not at the discretion of the promoting body:
events for which no entry fee is charged: such other events as may from
time to time be determined by the General Committee. For the avoidance
of doubt, when a National or Area Championship is held in conjunction
with an Open Event, that Open Event shall be subject to the levy.
The Permit issued for an event will be accompanied by a Levy Return Form which is to be
completed and sent to the Honorary General Secretary of the R.W.A. in
the stamped and addressed envelope provided.
It is entirely up to the promoters of an event how they provide for the levy; an obvious solution is to add 50p to the entry fee, but they are at liberty to provide the amount from their own funds or to use any other means available to them. If they were receiving sponsorship they could – subject, of course, to the sponsors' agreement – use that to provide the sum required.
[At quarterly intervals, the income from these levies is distributed by the R.W.A., with one-half being retained nationally and one-sixth being transferred to each of the three Areas.]
To put on a successful race walking
event, you will need the
appropriate officials. If you have experience of organising track
or road running events you will already know what officials –
starter, recorders, timekeepers, marshals, drinks and sponge
stewards, etc. – are required. [If you are not familiar
with the requirements, please refer to the page on General Officials.]
For a walking event, you
need walking judges, whose job is to ensure that the
comply with the definition of race walking. As with other types
of official, the judges will have a Chief Judge who will
be in overall charge of the other judges. Since the judges issue
"cards" recommending disqualification of any walkers
who, in their opinion, are not complying, you will need "runners"
to collect the cards and take them to the Chief Judge; this is
not a technical job and any reliable person can be used. The cards,
when collected, are displayed on a "disqualification warning
posting board" – often know colloquially as a "penalty
board" – so you will need a suitable board and a Chief
Judge's Recorder to look after the paperwork; if the event
is of low level and there are not many competitors, the Chief
Judge will often act as his own Recorder. Until you have some
experience of organising race walking events, you would be well
advised to consult the Judges and Officials Secretary for
your area; to find that official's name and address, please enquire
of the relevant Area Secretary
who should also be able to help with other officials. (The R.W.A.
maintains lists of Officials and Timekeepers who are experienced
in officiating at race walking events.) When you are told who
your judges are, you should contact the designated Chief to ask
what particular facilities he will need.
When you are proposing to hold an event
on the public highway,
you should inform the local authority and the police. The local
authority will be able to tell you of any restrictions in force
(such as diversions, road works, etc.) and it is highly desirable
to obtain the cooperation of the police. Although the police cannot
prevent the use of the public highway for walking events (provided
that the laws and bye laws are observed) they are likely to take
severe action against anyone whom they think has caused any obstruction
or an accident. On the positive side, they may be able to provide
assistance to the event organizers, although they may charge for
this. Events that are so large that road closures are needed will
not be of concern to the new race promoter!
RISK ASSESSMENTFor any event you promote on the public highway, you must carry out a risk assessment; details of the procedure will be found on the U.K.Athletics web site under Risk Assessment. The documents there are all in terms of road running, but the details are identical.
It is, of course, vital to have third party insurance cover for any event you promote; this comes free with the Permit and the details of cover are to be found on the U.K.Athletics Insurance Pages.
Walking races are like parties - there is no point in having one if nobody comes – so you will need to advertise it. The scope of the advertisement depends on what sort of event you are promoting, but you should always consider using the R.W.A. monthly magazine Race Walking Record. Unless the event is very big, it is probably not worth your while to advertise in the general athletics press, but publicity – which often comes free of charge under the guise of "news" – can often be obtained in local newspapers, particularly the free ones. Obviously, any advertisements will need to specify date, location, age groups, distances, category, whether or not there is team competition, scope of awards and entry fees. The entry fees will need to be pitched low enough to attract entries but not so low that you incur financial hardship! It is normal for non-championship events to have entry fees in the range £3-£6. (If you are promoting championships on behalf of a body, they will normally specify the entry fees). It is not necessary for the promoters of race walking events to charge the unattached levy customary in road running events.
Please do not
forget to publicise the
results – especially if there were good performances – in Race
Walking Record and the local press. Even if the race was not advertised
in the general athletics press, such as Athletics Weekly, the
results should be sent to them as soon as possible after the event.
If you wish to keep your sponsors happy, you should always ensure
that their name is publicised in the results as much as in the
pre-event material. It will also be useful if you send your results
which will ensure their appearance on the
excellent web site http://www.RaceWalkUK.com,
where many useful
statistics are to be found.
when your event is organised and you have finally submitted it to the
Fixtures Co-ordinator, it will automatically will automatically
appear on the R.W.A. web site Fixture Page for the appropriate month in
the following form:
||London Open Walks
If you wish to
provide further information
about entry conditions, etc., you may use the space provided on the
Fixtue Submission Form to give contact numbers, entry fees, etc., and
these will be linked on the web site to your fixure. You may also wish
to put the entry details – or an actual entry form – on the excellent
RaceWalkUK site mentioned above.
If you need to
change any of the details – such as starting time or venue – you should
notify the Co-ordinator, so that the published lists can be modified,
or you may have intending competitors turning up late or in the wrong
place. You cannot change the date
without first clearing the new date with the Co-ordinator. Changing
small details will not affect the Permit, but changing the date will invalidate it; if the
alteration of date does not cause a serious clash, a replacement will
be issued free of charge.
The process of
promoting and organising a race walking event may seem dauntingly
complex to the newcomer to the enterprise but, in fact, it is merely a
matter of formalising what would occur to anyone sitting down and
inventing the system from scratch. The new promoter has the advantage
that walking events of one sort or another have been promoted over the
space of a century and a half and we might reckon that all possible
errors have been committed and all possible mishaps and fiascos have
occurred during that time; we now reckon that we know how to do it.
There may be
points of detail that the intending promoter would like to discuss and
it is always possible to contact the General Secretary
problems that may arise. Recent experience in this country ranges from
putting on local races with a dozen competitors to setting up the
entire organisation for the European Cup of Race Walking, so any
problems should find a ready solution.
If you decide to
go ahead with an event, you can be sure of support from the
Association, its Officers and – most importantly from your point of
view – the walkers.
Welcome to the
ranks of Event Promoters and GOOD LUCK with your enterprise.