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UK Athletics

Eight Lanes On - Part Two!

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In a special departure from our usual service, this month we have a second ‘Eight Lanes On’ article – this one to explain more about the up and coming McCain Indoor City Challenge series. 


Stone me, not another Challenge?

Yes – this is the Indoor part of the series – to complete the popular event series, and unlike the McCain UK Cross Challenge and the McCain Challenge series the McCain Indoor City Challenge succeeds in creating a team ethos to the popular competition series.


Teams? But athletics is an individual sport… isn’t it

Usually yes, but the team format allows athletes to access high quality domestic competition during the indoor season and ensures that all disciplines are well attended. The format has been a resounding success in it’s short life so far – many of our top athletes competing at that sub elite level set their PBs and SBs in one of the three ICC fixtures that take place early in the new year.


So how do the teams get split?

This is where it needs a bit of explaining, but stick with me  - to quote our principal partner – it’s all good. There are 12 “City teams” although the geographical split is more regional in some areas. For example London is a big enough area to have two strong teams, and so there is a Team London North and a Team London South – however Team Sheffield consists of athletes from Yorkshire and some of the surrounding areas such as Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. All in all it makes for some excellent competition. If you are unsure as to which team you would be able to compete for – you can view the competition outline on the website next month.


So I’m interested… where and when does the ICC take place?

There are two semi finals followed by a final for the overall title. Semi Final 1 takes place on 24 Jan 2009 at Lee Valley High Performance Athletics Centre, London, and those taking part are

Team London North, Team London South, Team Birmingham, Team Oxford, Team Bristol, Team Belfast. The second semi takes place on the 8 Feb 2009 at the EIS, Sheffield and will feature Team Cardiff, Team Edinburgh, Team Newcastle, Team Glasgow, Team Sheffield, Team Manchester.

The top three in each semi final make it to the final – with the next two highest scoring teams reaching the final also – that takes place on 28 February at UWIC, Cardiff.


Okay – but one of the reasons I enjoy the other Challenge events is because I can win a bit of prize money – what’s available here?

There is £20,000 of prizes available – including £16,000 cash and being part of a team means there are more opportunities to win with team, individual, performance-related and series prizes. And with the quality of competition so good, chances are the least you will walk away with is a season or personal best which can’t be too bad!


Alright – so it might not fit in with my competition plans for the indoors but it sounds like a good competition – how much is it to watch?

It is absolutely free to watch this high-quality competition and the best part about it is that it takes place in some of the best indoor facilities in the country giving both athletes and spectators the best possible backdrop for a fantastic day of competition.


Or maybe I DO want to take part – have teams already been picked – do I stand a chance of getting involved?

When the team managers are announced in November, make sure you get in touch as soon as possible and make sure they know you are interested – after all – how can they select you unless you tell them you are interested!


So who do I have to beat?

The beauty of the competition is that the teams can vary each year but Team Sheffield and Team London North always put in a good showing, as does the Team Birmingham outfit. At the end of the day there is something for everyone in this popular athletics series and it looks set once again to rule the domestic indoor schedules.