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The McCain Indoor City Challenge

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Indoor City Challenge, Lee Valley HiPAC




13 January 2009



Article by Paul Aldridge as seen in Athletics Weekly Magazine


As Competitions Manager at UK Athletics there is never a quiet time of year. January is as busy as ever with the 2009 Indoor City Challenge series set to kick off at the end of the month.


For those of you familiar with the Challenge format this is the Indoor part of the series – and completes the popular domestic series all now supported impressively by UKA’s principal partner McCain.


What I love about the indoor part of our events is that unlike the McCain UK Cross Challenge and the McCain Challenge events, the McCain Indoor City Challenge (ICC) succeeds in bringing a team ethos to the series. This was always the original intention when it launched as the “Indoor City Cup” just a few years ago – to make sure there was a high standard of domestic competition available as well as tapping into the team element of our sport.


The team format has been key to ensuring this series attracts the best athletes from across the UK and gives them that extra reason to turn out at an indoor fixture mainly because it maintains the standards we have come to expect by ensuring that all separate disciplines are well attended. The format has been a resounding success in its short life so far – many of our top athletes competing at that sub elite level set their indoor PBs and SBs in one of the three ICC fixtures that take place early in the New Year.


Of course, it is not always easy to split our athletics community into teams; some areas are stronger than others with some event groupings more prevalent in various parts of the UK. But that is one of the earliest challenges we overcame in deciding how to split the areas up.


We created 12 “City teams” although the geographical split is more regional in some areas. For example London is a strong enough area to have two competitive 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 with each area able to call upon a range of quality competitors.


With fixtures happening at Lee Valley, the EIS at Sheffield and at UWIC in Cardiff there is a fair spread of locations and with £20,000 of prizes available – including £16,000 cash - there are more opportunities to win with team, individual, performance-related and series prizes. Chances are the least you will walk away with is a season or personal best from the great level of competition on offer.


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. 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.


For more information on how you too can be part of this year’s series see www.ukathletics.net/competitions/indoor-city-challenge.