23rd December 2009

McCain City Challenge


24 December 2009

UKA Competitions Manager Paul Aldridge previews the latest addition to the Indoor domestic competition scene – the McCain City Challenge. Article as featured in Athletics Weekly magazine.

This time last year we were gearing up for the opening fixtures of the Indoor City Challenge – a year on and the McCain City Challenge is set to take over the domestic indoor series with a flourish.

The McCain City Challenge series will take the best parts of the Indoor City Challenge series and enhance it further so that athletes and spectators can enjoy quality athletics competition.

Over the last few years the ICC was a key competition for enabling athletes from across the UK to take part in quality indoor competition. It meant Aviva GB and NI athletes could take in a high standard of competition alongside the stronger club athletes and with the structure rewarding performance through PBs, standards and points picked up for their teams, it was an ideal format for the participants.

Looking for improvements however it was clear that more could be made to make the most of the travelling support that accompanied the City teams and that a format that gave the teams a tighter, more exciting finish would be brilliant for spectators.

Therefore the McCain City Challenge features a number a differences from the ICC that we feel will give the athletes as much opportunity as ever to receive rewards for their performances, but also recreates the excitement and team loyalty we saw at the inaugural Super8 competition last June.

The McCain City Challenge will see eight teams from Glasgow to London and Newcastle to Cardiff competing across two league fixtures to fight for the title of McCain City Challenge Champions 2010.

By sorting the teams into just eight stronger sides from enhanced catchment areas it means the standard will be higher with teams able to field stronger overall sides. The league style format as opposed to two semi- finals finishing with a final ensures that all teams are guaranteed two fixtures, unlike previously where four teams would only get a taste of the semi final fixture before being knocked out of the competition.

Likewise the scoring will ensure that the biggest gains can be made at the closing events in each of the two matches so that all teams remain in the mix for as long as possible, allowing spectators the excitement to cheer their sides through to the end.

The balance of athlete and spectator friendly competition is hard to get right, but I’m confident this new format will see the McCain City Challenge host some impressive athletics performances early in 2010. After all it is a winning formula, with a rich mixture of established international stars and aspiring Juniors lining up together in the same team as they compete for individual and team points that will hopefully guide them into contention for the title.

And with over £30,000 available across the series in prizes, inspirational arenas and a first class competition opportunity, this is an event designed with the athlete in mind, and a fantastic spectacle for athletics fans.

For more information see the McCain City Challenge section