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The Challenge Ahead

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Amy Woodman
The final will feature the full track and field programme


29 April 2009

Article by Paul Aldridge as seen in Athletics Weekly

Once again we find ourselves on the threshold of another outdoor track and field summer , and as in previous years the competitive thread of the McCain UK Challenge will run through our domestic season.

Like previous years the competition will tie in existing events, plus additional fixtures to ensure there is a range of events where athlete performances will be recorded and tallied up towards qualifying for a place in the challenge final toward the end of the summer.

But also, as with previous years we have tweaked the format ever so slightly based on feedback and feel there is once again a winning formula in place.

Details will be available soon on www.uka.org.uk, but just as a taste of what’s to come, here are some of the areas to look out for.

As before the prize pot will be as generous – and there will be a range of rewards on offer for athletes who compete in at least four of the qualifying events across the summer. But there will be an increased emphasis on performance related prizes. This is to further enhance the aim of the series to raise standards for those athletes competing at this level.

We will continue to support our event specific opportunities with the ever popular JumpsFest and ThrowsFest being hosted again at the Alexander Stadium on 25-26 July. This weekend alone has proved one of the most popular parts of the summer calendar on a domestic level, and the way the sport has embraced the fixture for me shows that the simplest format can often be the most rewarding and well supported, even at the busiest time of the season.

Then on to the final – this year to be hosted at Cardiff on the 15 August. Top performers across all events will be invited to take part in the final and winners will be crowned McCain Challenge champions for 2009. It is an excellent target for those whose seasons last the summer stretch, and as usual the event will support the full range of track and field events within the timetable.

With even more opportunities for prizes via the McCain Race Walking Challenge and Combined Events Challenge, every area of the sport is encompassed in the series.  I look forward to welcoming athletes to the events above and monitoring their successes throughout the season.

And by monitoring successes, it’s not just a cliché – here are the essential stats: Last year’s McCain UK Challenge series combined 43 events with 1800 ranked competitors. There were a staggering 536 recorded PBs and 186 performances ranked in the National Power of 10 rankings for 2009.

So make sure you are ready to take part when we launch the series early next month. A full list of fixtures will be available on www.uka.org.uk later this week, and  I look forward to seeing you at this year’s events.