So that we don't contaminate another thread, let's have one about this. Let's keep it free from cynicism if we can and make contributions that are with a purpose.
There are lots of questions and the answers are probably even more numerous, so rather than getting in to a debate on the rules and race lengths which is a relatively minor issue perhaps we should try and answer some of the questions first.
The first minute a junior athlete walks through the doors for their first session what is the end goal? Should we even have one? What would be deemed success? When can that success be judged.
Should coaches have more say in the competitive structuresif they are those with most responsibility for the outcome.
What is the FRA role in this as the governing body?
Dealing with the first point, when I first get an athlete I try to engage with them and their parents. Enthuse them about how much fun they can have and the wide range of positive experiences out there for endurance runners. They can take part in events as varied as National Young Athletes League, Road and Cross Country Relays and Junior Fell races as well as the wide variety of Championship races out there in all disciplines.
Then we have the relationships. Best friends can be made for life, not just within your own club, but with athletes from other clubs. Travelling to some of the most beautiful places in the country - and eventually perhaps the world.
If I can enthuse them and immerse them in the sport, there is then a much better chance of achieving success. Success for me is seeing that athlete and perhaps their family still involved and loving the sport in to adulthood.
As a coach, I do think we should have more say. We should be consulted - but that's as far as it goes. We will have too many differing ideas. That's the nature of coaching. But there will be some common threads and the custodians of the sport should put more faith in coaches than they do at present.
The FRA is doing more or less what it should. Itr provides a framework for the sport and in most areas it does a fantastic job. Unlike many other governing bodies I also feel that it looks to improve, listens and adapts. Perhaps because the FRA is made up of people who also have a love for the sport, there is a greater link to the grass roots than you find with UKA/EA where paid officers seem to be of the opinion that their degrees and salary count more than years of experience.