Colin Hutchison, chief executive (photo by Bobby Gavin)
Colin Hutchison has highlighted again the huge contribution by volunteers to the pathway for athletics in Scotland.
The new edition of PB magazine is being issued to scottishathletics members over the next week or so and naturally there is a big emphasis on medal success in Japan this summer.
But, in his column in the magazine, our chief executive made it clear how everyone plays a part in elite athletes reaching global podiums.
Colin looked back on the past few months – with the return of National Championships in Track and Field a key moment – and savoured green shoots of recovery post Covid-19.
‘So much has happened over the past five months it is difficult to know where to start,’ Colin writes in a PB edition which covers a whole range of recent events including the 4J Studios Senior Champs, the Muller British Champs, Euro U23, Euro U20 and the Olympics and Paralympics.
‘Cautious optimism was probably the message back in April and now thankfully the focus is on continuing the momentum that has built up in athletics in Scotland through the summer.’
‘In amongst the uncertainty that has continued externally, particularly in late spring/early summer, one thing that has been clear throughout is that nothing has ever emphasised more the contribution of volunteers to the sport than the recovery from the impacts of the pandemic.
‘The commitment that has been required to plan and implement a return to training on-track and off-track is remarkable.
‘Add in managing new booking systems, recruiting and training new volunteers, remaining compliant with Covid-19 procedures, and resuming competition, and the scale of the work is obvious.
‘In fact, I’m sure every club in the country has never been more thankful to the thousands of volunteers that keep our sport alive.
Officially brilliant . . . our purple and red army made events happen at Grangemouth and Aberdeen (photo by Bobby Gavin)
‘One of the highlights of the summer has undoubtedly been the return of National Championships.
‘The support from the community for these events has been tremendous with entry numbers returning to pre-pandemic levels and our National Relays in September receiving its biggest ever entry.
‘As always, our purple (and red) army of officials have turned out to support the return to competition locally and nationally, and we are extremely grateful to them for their efforts.
‘It’s been fantastic to attend events once again and personally I have missed these opportunities to meet with club leaders, coaches, officials, athletes and parents.
‘Outside of competition, it has been refreshing over the past couple of months to begin to be able to focus once again on existing and future projects to support clubs, coaches, officials and athletes.
‘Our new development project ‘On the Right Track’ has started and will provide further education to leaders across Scotland.
‘The project recognises the role we all play in giving people across Scotland an opportunity to participate in athletics and running and explores how we can positively influence the lives of participants.
‘In October, we will see the return of our National Club Conference alongside our 4J Annual Awards which is always one of the highlights of the year.
‘In coaching and officiating we have moved towards a blend of online and face-to-face learning.
‘One of the real positives to take from the past 18 months has been the acceleration of online learning for athletics coaches and officials which has helped make courses more accessible.
‘The value of face-to-face learning and networking cannot be lost but the flexibility that can be offered through online learning is helpful.
‘As we move into Autumn, the National Academy will return with a cohort of new athletes joining the programme and event group projects will restart as we continue to evolve support for athletes and coaches across the pathway.
‘Whilst caution is required and good practice needs to be reinforced, we look forward to continuing the return of the sport into the winter season.’